Sunday, 22 August 2010

My five minutes with Pope Benedict

I would want to say thank you for:

the beauty of his teaching in the encyclicals Deus Caritas Est and Caritas in Veritate (I still have to read Spe Salvi, sorry), a teaching that at once speaks both to the intelligence and to the heart

I would want to say thank you for great moments of faith:

After the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble labourer in the vineyard of the Lord.

the comparison in Cologne of the Eucharistic love of Jesus to a nuclear chain reaction spreading explosively through the world: To use an image well known to us today, this is like inducing nuclear fission in the very heart of being - the victory of love over hatred, the victory of love over death. Only this intimate explosion of good conquering evil can then trigger off the series of transformations that little by little will change the world.

 the meeting with the ecclesial movements and new communities in St Peter's Square at Pentecost 2006

those moments at the Angelus in St Peter's Square when the students of the universities of Rome gathered, at the invitation of the Episcopal Vicar of Rome, to express their solidarity with Pope Benedict after he had been prevented from speaking at La Sapienza (I was very close to flying to Rome for the day just to be there on that Sunday - in the event I followed it over the internet)

I would want to thank him for some ordinary signs of humanity:

for his book Jesus of Nazareth - after all, theologians write books, even if their day job happens to be that of being Pope

the day he apologised to the fathers of the Synod of Bishops meeting in the Autumn after his election, because he needed to leave one hour early at the end of the day for a visit to the dentist

I would want to let Pope Benedict know how I appreciate some of his most controversial statements and speeches, because they actually address key issues for the Church and for the world:

the address at Regensburg, which aimed to discuss the relationship between faith and reason, but accidentally also raised the question of violence with regard to religious belief and, in response to the media criticism, led to a dialogue between Muslim and Catholic scholars that later resulted in a common statement

the account of religious freedom and an appropriate secularity of the state, themes which touch closely on the relationship between religious belief and the sovereignty of the state

I would want to let Pope Benedict know that:

for all the criticism from within the Church, I am one of many who try my best to live and express the teaching of the Church on human sexuality, and find it most supportive to have an articulate and clear presentation of that teaching from the Pope

I look forward to the introduction of the new, more faithful, English translations of the Missal, and a hoped-for greater sense of the sacredness of the Liturgy as a result 

I would want him to continue to teach the truths of the Catholic faith, even if they make him unpopular, and that he should be assured of my solidarity as he does so

1 comment:

Left-Footer said...

I think he will be remembered as one of the great Popes