Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I think I will go with "a person is more complex than the appearance might suggest"

This kind of story has begun recently to really be the bane of my existence. Of course, the Holy Father fits into neither tidy description because he is an actual flesh and blood person and not a tidy description. Further, the man has been in office, what, all of 9 months. Pope John Paul II was in office for more than 20 years and we are just now starting to get an accurate read on what his pontificate means. Or what about your friend and mine, Pius XII. We are still hashing out elements of his papacy some 60 years later. In other words, everyone just needs to CALM DOWN!

The recent conversation started with the NeoCatechumenal Way is a good example of both his operational style and his concern for the proper celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. Benedict, based on his writings before ascending to the Chair of St. Peter (which still is my favorite chair), respects all proper expressions of the Church's liturgy but also doesn't stand for inaccurate or shoddy reasoning on your way there. So, Benedict will engage them in dialogue until either they reach an understanding or Benedict is forced to censure them. This was the way he handled the cases of Jacques Dupris (on his book concerning religious pluralism) and Hans Kung (on everything the man ever wrote), both cases which had very different outcomes (Dupris is in good standing and Kung is the head officer of looneyland).

If you want to get a feel for this Pope, spend this Lent reading what the man actually said. Start with the encyclical. Then when you finish with that I'll have some recommendations.

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