Archive for the “Catholicism” Category

The Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput has written an open letter to the Catholics of the Archdiocese entitled “ON THE SEPARATION OF SENSE AND STATE: A CLARIFICATION FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH IN NORTHERN COLORADO responding to Nancy Pelosi’s interview on Meet the Press.

In the letter he writes:

Catholic public leaders inconvenienced by the abortion debate tend to take a hard line in talking about the “separation of Church and state.” But their idea of separation often seems to work one way. In fact, some officials also seem comfortable in the role of theologian. And that warrants some interest, not as a “political” issue, but as a matter of accuracy and justice.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills. Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them.

He goes on to present a real Catholic historical assessment of the Church’s history on this issue and concludes:

Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it. Catholics who make excuses for it – whether they’re famous or not – fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith.

The duty of the Church and other religious communities is moral witness. The duty of the state and its officials is to serve the common good, which is always rooted in moral truth. A proper understanding of the “separation of Church and state” does not imply a separation of faith from political life. But of course, it’s always important to know what our faith actually teaches.

I think Chaput makes an excellent point about the “one-way” separation. Pelosi will always use the separation of church and state when defending abortion rights, but as a politician, has no hesitation about throwing her politics into her religion. As a Catholic, I am always upset when politicians make policy that is harmful to unborn children, but I am incensed about Pelosi’s blatant misrepresentation of the faith she claims to practice. When taking a position like she has, she cannot represent her policies as a personal decision, but shines a light on the affront she is making on the Church and its moral teaching.

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This article from the Catholic News Agency details the snub of the Catholic Archbishop of the Democratic Convention’s host city.

Denver, Aug 20, 2008 / 03:05 am (CNA).- Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput was not invited to pray or speak at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, in what former Boston mayor Ray Flynn called a “serious oversight” and an “insult” to the values of pro-life Catholics.The archbishop himself reportedly did not take the lack of an invitation personally.

The several Catholics on the Democratic Convention’s program include former Colorado state Sen. Polly Baca, “Dead Man Walking” author Sister Helen Prejean, social justice lobbyist Sister Catherine Pinkerton and Pepperdine University professor Douglas W. Kmiec, the Washington Times says.

Raymond Flynn, former Democratic mayor of Boston and former ambassador to the Vatican during the Clinton administration, said not inviting the archbishop to pray or speak was “a serious oversight.”

“Chaput is one of the most respected leaders of the Catholic Church in America,” he said, according to the Washington Times. “His record is a strong commitment to social and economic justice and the principles of the Catholic faith. He’s also a strong patriot.

“Pro-life Democrats who are proud Catholics like myself feel this is an insult to our values… The party should be aware there are strong pro-life people who are politically successful,” Flynn continued.

Archbishop Chaput explained his own reaction to the absence of an invitation.

“I’m happy to see they are having prayer at their sessions, and they have a right to choose whom they want to do that,” he said.

Remarking about the Catholics chosen, he said, “Hopefully, they will know being Catholic is more foundational to their identity than anything else.”

On Monday, August 25, the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, the archbishop will join Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., in a prayer vigil against abortion near a Planned Parenthood Clinic. The vigil will take place in Martin Luther King Park in Denver.

Natalie Wyeth, a press secretary for the DNC contacted by the Washington Times, said the archbishop informed them he was too busy to attend.

Archbishop Chaput’s book “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life” was recently published in what the archbishop said was an attempt “to convince people they should not be embarrassed at being Catholic and not buy the supposedly American notion that people should shelve their faith when they enter the public square.”

“I am tired of people telling religious folks to be quiet in the public square because of constitutional questions of separation of church and state,” he said. “I hope this encourages people to become confident and active.”

Archbishop Chaput said the United States’ 47 million Catholic voters, many of whom have historically belonged to the Democratic Party, in former years could have “demanded that abortion not be part of the platform, but they did not.”

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The Catholic League has responded to the preposterous claim by Nancy Pelosi that the Catholic church has (or more specifically the “doctors of the Church” – whoever they are)  have not been able to define when life begins.  Unfortunately, many Catholic politicians are on the wrong side of this issue, but one has to wonder whether it is her understanding of her faith is so poorly formed or if it’s just wanton disregard for teachings that she doesn’t like.  Does she really believe that the Catholic Church’s teaching – the interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – would sanction abortion?

On yesterday’s NBC-TV show, “Meet the Press,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked to comment on when life begins. Here is what she said: “I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition.”

When Tom Brokaw told her that the Catholic Church “feels very strongly” that life begins at conception, Pelosi said, “I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the Church, this is an issue of controversy.”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

“Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: ‘Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.’ It also says, ‘Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.’ Looks like Pelosi didn’t study the subject long enough. But not to worry: We are sending her a copy of Catholicism for Dummies today (the Catechism is like maybe a bit advanced).

“Whether Joe Biden is as ignorant of what his religion teaches remains to be seen. What is not in doubt is the enthusiasm which NARAL showed when he was selected to join the ticket. The radical pro-abortion group was delighted, as were the radical pro-abortion delegates to the Democratic convention: as reported in today’s New York Times, 64 percent of Americans reject abortion-on-demand, yet only 23 percent of the delegates do. It is only fitting, then, that NARAL’s president will speak today at the Convention and Planned Parenthood’s president will speak tomorrow.

“So there we have it: the man running for president on the Democratic ticket supports selective infanticide, his running mate is a pro-abortion Catholic, the delegates are wildly out of step with Americans on abortion and the Speaker of the House hasn’t a clue what her religion teaches on the subject.”

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This article is about a very interesting appointment by Pope Benedict of Archbishop Raymond Burke to the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal.  Burke, the orthodox bishop of St Louis is one of America’s leading Canon lawyers and has been an outspoken leader in the Church on the controversy of distribution of Eucharist to political supporters of abortion rights.

Additional stories can be found at Catholic News Service and the St Louis Beacon.

Archbishop Raymond BurkeVATICAN CITY — St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke was named Friday (June 27) to head the Catholic Church’s highest court, a move that places an outspoken conservative in an important if not highly visible post.

Burke, 59, will be the first American to serve as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. The job usually comes with a cardinal’s red hat, which would add another American to the conclaves that elect popes.

Burke has led the charge among a handful of U.S. bishops to discipline Catholic politicians who stray from church teaching. In 2004, he told Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry he could not receive Communion in St. Louis because of his support of abortion rights.

The new post will allow Burke to leave his conservative imprint on the wider church, leading a court that has final say on administrative disputes but also marriage annulments and church closings.

“The appointment should make pro-choice Catholic politicians very nervous,” warned the Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

Burke’s five-year tenure in St. Louis has been brief but fiery. After publicly rebuking Kerry and other prominent Democrats, last year he said ministers who distribute Communion are “held, under pain of mortal sin, to deny the sacraments to the unworthy.”

Earlier this year, he excommunicated three women who were ordained as priests against church rules, and also said he would deny Communion to the basketball coach at St. Louis University for his support of abortion rights and stem cell research.

He also forbade Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., from speaking at her daughter’s graduation ceremony at a Catholic high school because of her record on abortion, and resigned from a Catholic children’s charity after the group featured singer Sheryl Crow, who supports abortion rights, at a fundraiser.

Burke becomes the second American to take on a prominent Vatican post. Cardinal William Levada, the former archbishop of San Francisco, now heads the church’s doctrinal office, a post he inherited from Pope Benedict XVI.

Burke replaces Italian Cardinal Agostino Vallini, who was named Friday as the pope’s vicar general for the Diocese of Rome — effectively, the city’s acting bishop.

The Signatura hears appeals of decisions by lower church courts and administrative bodies, and settles jurisdictional disputes. According to Reese’s book “Inside the Vatican,” “Only about half a dozen cases a year are heard by the panel of cardinals and bishops, and these cases take about three years to be processed.”

Burke has been a member of the tribunal since July 2006.

If Burke is named a cardinal as expected, he will join 20 other U.S. cardinals, 14 of whom are currently under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote for the next pope.

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So asks this article from Time Magazine (of all sources).

He may not have been thinking about it at the time, but Pope Benedict, in the course of his recent U.S. visit may have dealt a knockout blow to the liberal American Catholicism that has challenged Rome since the early 1960s. He did so by speaking frankly and forcefully of his “deep shame” during his meeting with victims of the Church’s sex-abuse scandal. By demonstrating that he “gets” this most visceral of issues, the pontiff may have successfully mollified a good many alienated believers — and in the process, neutralized the last great rallying point for what was once a feisty and optimistic style of progressivism.

The liberal rebellion in American Catholicism has dogged Benedict and his predecessors since the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65. “Vatican II,” which overhauled much of Catholic teaching and ritual, had a revolutionary impact on the Church as a whole. It enabled people to hear the Mass in their own languages; embraced the principle of religious freedom; rejected anti-Semitism; and permitted Catholic scholars to grapple with modernity.

But Vatican II meant even more to a generation of devout but restless young people in the U.S. Rather than a course correction, Terrence Tilley, now head of the Fordham University’s theology department, wrote recently, his generation perceived “an interruption of history, a divine typhoon that left only the keel and structure of the church unchanged.” They discerned in the Council a call to greater church democracy, and an assertion of individual conscience that could stand up to the authority of even the Pope. So, they battled the Vatican’s birth-control ban, its rejection of female priests and insistence on celibacy, and its authoritarianism.

Personally, I don’t agree with some of the analysis provided but there does seem to have been a sea change in the struggles between orthodoxy and progressivism in the Catholic Church and Benedict does seem to be the catalyst. It is interesting that most of the people interviewed in the article seem to be progressives themselves.

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From the Catholic News Agency:

Yonkers, NY, Apr 26, 2008 / 03:45 am (CNA).- St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, New York, has received dozens of applications following Pope Benedict’s visit, the New York Daily News reports.

“It’s been like a tsunami, a good tsunami of interest,” said Father Luke Sweeney, the Archdiocese of New York’s vocations director. “I’ve been meeting people all week and have a lot of e-mails I haven’t had the chance yet to respond to. It has been incredible.”

For the first time in 108 years, the seminary had been preparing for a year with no students. Only 23 seminarians are expected to be ordained for New York City over the next four years. A study carried out by Catholic World Report claims the archdiocese’s ratio of priests to congregation members is among the worst in the country.

Currently there are only 648 diocesan priests for the Archdiocese of New York, which has 2.5 million Catholics.

“We are facing a severe shortage,” Father Sweeney said. The vocations director recently launched a recruitment campaign that uses the slogans “The World Needs Heroes” and “You Have To Be a Real Man If You Want to Become a Priest.”

“We were hoping the Pope would convince many who were considering the priesthood to make the next step. It looks like he did,” he said.

The Pope spoke to a rally of 25,000 young people on the seminary’s grounds last Saturday, April 19.

Father Sweeney described how the Pope’s words affected one new applicant.

“One said he came, saw the crowd, heard what the Pope said and then called us,” the priest said. “He said his questions and concerns were answered when he heard him speak.”

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Last Sunday, I attended a neighboring parish for a Sunday evening Mass. I have attended this Mass perhaps a 10 times over the past year. This week, we were treated to a youth choir who performed a beautiful Latin hymn during Communion. After mass, we were invited to stay while they performed for 10-15 minutes of additional hymns, mostly in Latin and a capella. We really enjoyed it.

Today, I found an interesting article by Lucille A. Flynn (a former member of the American Guild of Organists and the current organist at the St. Benedict Center in Harvard) in the New Oxford Review that talks about the history of church music and asks the question whether the resurgence of orthodoxy under Pope Benedict if Catholic churches are going to see a comeback of this style of music.

The Renaissance period reached its apex during the middle of the 17th century. For all its accomplishments, a period of unrest ensued, culminating in the French Revolution in 1789. The sad legacy of this cruel upheaval resulted in the “Age of Enlightenment” — man’s new orientation toward science and reason cut adrift from Faith.

Pope St. Pius X foresaw the results of this so-called Age of Enlightenment, and warned of the errors and effects on society of this new way of thinking in his encyclical Pascendi Dominus Gregis (“On the Doctrines of the Modernists,” 1907). We know all too well the results of this man-centered philosophy. For Catholics, it has been the degradation of the Traditional Mass, a new interpretation of the written word, and the loss of our universal Church language. Two generations of Catholics have been subjected on a weekly basis to love-your-neighbor and in-praise-of-nature tunes accompanied by guitars, xylophones, drums, piano, trumpets, body-swaying, and hand-clapping.

Will Catholics again seek the serenity, solace, and unity of body and soul found in the celebration of the Tridentine Mass and the peaceful tonality of Gregorian chant?

The end of our 40-year liturgical wilderness wandering appears to be in sight. In July 2007 Pope Benedict XVI issued a motu proprio, titled Summorum Pontificum, restoring the “Mass of All Ages,” and along with it the unique, priceless patrimony of the Roman Catholic Church — the melodic, uplifting, soul-stirringly beautiful Gregorian chant.

I can tell you that if the music we heard last week is an example, it definitely enhances the Mass.

Hat-tip to Michael Brown of Spirit Daily on this article.

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This article by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, from the Philadelphia Inquirer is a few week’s old, but give a view on Catholic higher education that I find important.

By Rick Santorum
Is Pope Benedict XVI coming to America to drop the hammer on the president for the Iraq war? You might think so if your gospel comes courtesy of the mainstream media.

It’s more likely that the pope will speak about the war at the United Nations as he has in the past – as a church leader addressing the challenges of finding a pathway for dialogue between two faiths in conflict.

The pope’s only official church meeting is with all 213 presidents of Catholic undergraduate colleges and universities. Given the traditional and orthodox educational philosophy of this former university professor, as well as the sad recent history of Catholic higher education in America, one might well expect fireworks.

Since Vatican II, most Catholic colleges have sought to reduce their relationship with Catholicism and the church to a one-word marketing pitch – Catholic. On most Catholic campuses across the country, you might be surprised to learn that most professors are not Catholic and that the Catholics are often nonpracticing. These Catholic colleges routinely host speakers and artistic productions that oppose core Catholic teaching when they’re not blatantly anti-Catholic, and I’m not just talking about Barack Obama’s appearance at Mercyhurst or Hillary Clinton’s at King’s College. Even the gold standard of Catholic colleges, the University of Notre Dame, will soon drop below 50 percent Catholics on its faculty and have on-campus performances of The Vagina Monologues.

Most core curricula, if that exists, provide little exposure to the Catholic intellectual tradition. Even in the theology departments, which are supposed to be certified as authentically Catholic by the local diocese, students have to search long and hard to find a professor who will provide faithful Catholic teaching.

As for campus life, most Catholic colleges have abandoned their mission and duty to help shape the moral and spiritual formation of its students. In loco parentis has been reduced to facilitating loco behavior. It is nearly impossible to distinguish a list of authorized student organizations at Georgetown from those at Penn.

Yes, there are some orthodox Catholic universities. The Cardinal Newman Society recently surveyed all Catholic colleges for its recent book Choosing a Catholic College and recommended only colleges that provided a quality education and “gave priority to their Catholic identity in most, if not all, aspects of campus life.”

How many made the list? Only 20, including just one in Pennsylvania, DeSales University in Allentown.

The pope recognizes the importance of Catholic education in forming the next generation spiritually, morally and intellectually. He no doubt understands that Catholic universities in America have been at the intellectual center of dissent from the teaching of the magisterium. It is one thing for college professors from a secular university to offer moral arguments supporting abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, cloning, and same-sex marriage. It is another when these arguments are coming from theology professors at Notre Dame, St. Joseph’s, Marquette and, until a few years ago, Catholic University.

The sad fact is that, during the last 40 years, Catholic higher education has not only failed to counter the forces of cultural decay across America, but has added to the rot as well.

Pope Benedict’s speech is unlikely to break new ground next Thursday. His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, in his 1990 encyclical Ex Corde Ecclesiae, gave the bishops the mandate and the tools to bring colleges back into the intellectual fold with Rome. Since then, of course, other crises have made calls on their attention and, alas, cut into their credibility. Pope Benedict will remind them of the work that remains.

He’s also unlikely to break any china. As he did in his seminal speech on faith and reason at the University of Regensburg, he’ll elevate, not scold.

I am no stranger to sounding the warning sirens of cultural decay in America. Catholic higher education as well as primary and secondary education over the last 40 years could have been a healthy antidote to this trend. They were not. And at times, they contributed to it.

The Catholic Church has struggled and triumphed for more than 2,000 years. In good seasons and bad, however, it has made a rich and distinctive contribution to the intellectual foundations of Western civilization. That reality, the deep wisdom of scholars from Saints Jerome and Augustine to Aquinas and Catherine of Siena, who’ve brought intellectual, spiritual and moral guidance to generations upon generations, is being lost. America and the West are poorer from it.

Academic freedom and diversity have taken center stage on American campuses today. I believe Pope Benedict will encourage the 90 percent of the four-year colleges in this country to give students the ultimate in academic freedom, the pursuit of truth by providing something truly diverse in American higher education – an authentic Catholic education.

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Here is an interesting article from today’s USA Today with several perspectives on the Pontiff’s visit to the US.  It shares the impressions of several people who attended the Yankee Stadium Mass.

NEW YORK — Benedict XVI celebrated Mass before a loud, jubilant crowd at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, capping a U.S. visit marked by the pope’s focus on clergy sexual abuse and by his emergence as someone more than an enforcer of doctrine — a pastor.

“For years, I’ve been telling people about Benedict’s depth, warmth, humor and humility. Now I can say, ‘See!’ ” exulted Scott Hahn, professor of theology at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.

The pope’s final public appearance of his six-day U.S. trip brought exuberance from 57,100 in the stadium and thousands more outside.

“Oh, my God, I feel so blessed to be here!” said Capri Christianson, 10, who with her mother, Maribel, won a ticket lottery at St. Lucy’s parish in the Bronx. “So far this is the best day of my life.”

Applause, unusual during a Roman Catholic sermon, twice interrupted the pope’s homily: when he called for respect for “the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother’s womb” and when he appealed for more religious vocations in a church running low on priests and nuns.

Otherwise, except for the rumble of passing trains on elevated tracks outside, the stadium was quiet during the sermon.

Benedict’s visit raised two big questions: How would he address the clergy sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the U.S. church, and how would this famous champion of orthodox church teaching relate to American Catholics, equally famous for going their own way?

Benedict lamented the scandal on each of the first three days of his visit and met with a group of sex-abuse victims from the Boston area. He accepted a hand-bound book bearing the names of almost 1,500 people who say they were abused by priests.

“It was a clear signal to the bishops, not all of whom have a strong record of meeting with victims, this is how you deal,” said Amy Welborn of Fort Wayne, Ind., a Catholic writer.

As for his personal style, Benedict’s affable, grandfatherly persona won over Catholics — and non-Catholics — of all kinds. Instead of the strict scholar Benedict was often portrayed as before becoming pope, Americans saw an avuncular priest who bestowed his blessing at every stop, arms wide open and brown eyes sparkling.

“I think it’s a tribute to our church that an 81-year-old pope has the vibrancy and message to connect and communicate with so many people,” said Tom Strahle of Ridgewood, N.J.

This is the Benedict that packed the famed baseball stadium.

“Size-wise, it’s like a Yankee crowd, but it’s a whole different atmosphere,” said Louie Dituri, owner of the Yankee Eatery across from the stadium. “Yankee fans are excited about the game. These people are excited about more important things.”

They included not only those with tickets, most of whom arrived on special buses, but also the unticketed, who pushed against metal police barricades outside the stadium, hoping to see the pope.

Benedict arrived in the Bronx after a morning stop to pray at the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

People came to the Mass for many reasons — to worship God, to cheer the pope, to see the spectacle. Sisters Lydia and Hilda Estrada came to be healed. Lydia Estrada’s spine is fused; Hilda suffers from arthritis. Both said they were in pain. But Lydia Estrada was confident she would not hurt much longer: “I know that being in his presence will be healing.”

Benedict also was changed by his visit, suggested George Donnelly, 56, a retired Catholic school administrator from Brooklyn. “I think he, too, is on a journey,” Donnelly said. “I think he’s evolved as a leader and come to understand that he has the opportunity to do some healing. I’m especially proud of how he’s reached out to so many other communities … the disabled, the 9/11 victims, the Jewish community.”

Benedict’s addresses and homilies shared several characteristics — praise for American faith, energy, charity and interreligious cooperation, and blunt attacks on secularism and people who want to evade eternal truths to base their spirituality on “feelings.”

Rather than lecturing, however, Benedict was the pope of the “perhaps,” as when he told U.S. bishops that “perhaps” they’d be more effective if they improved their preaching and teaching.

“Nearly flawless!” R. Scott Appleby, Notre Dame University professor of Catholic history, said of the visit. “Given the context — what was expected of him, what John Paul II did before him, Benedict outperformed all expectations.”

The impact of the visit “will be seismic,” Hahn said. “You’ll see it five or 10 years from now when there’s a rise in the number of seminarians and young priests and young adult men and women looking for something bigger than themselves to believe in.”

“Any spiritual aspect of Benedict’s visit will wear off fairly quickly,” said William D’Antonio, a fellow in sociology at Catholic University of America in Washington. “The important question is whether anything will change structurally” on issues such as clergy sex abuse, support for Catholic inner-city schools and immigration. “It’s like the president announcing his agenda for his first year in office. Wait to see if there are real changes.”

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represented 350 of the 1,500 documented cases of clergy sex abuse in the Boston Archdiocese at the height of the crisis, said the pope’s meeting with victims and his “powerful and sympathetic words” were valuable, but “the pope gave absolutely no indication that there would be any actions taken against the people … who were negligent and under whose supervision priests molested scores of children.”

It was a papal visit to remember, for the visitor as well as the visited. The pope seemed in no hurry to leave Yankee Stadium. As the recessional hymn, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, reverberated, he stopped to shake hands, taking it all in before starting the journey to Rome.

Vice President Cheney hosted a farewell ceremony for the pope at John F. Kennedy Airport. “May God bless America!” Benedict said before departing New York.

I strikes me that many people were surprised by the compassion and love of Benedict, whom many had tagged with the moniker of “hardliner.” I think it is great that he can embody the orthodoxy of the Catholic faith with great fortitude, personality and warmth.

Personally, I was quite pleased with the visit. I hope an pray that it’s impact and significance will be lasting.

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An excellent article in American Spectator Magazine on the Pope’s visit to the US.

“They say, ‘His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.'”

So wrote the Apostle Paul describing the scuttlebutt about himself in one of his periodic gusts of annoyance with the Church at Corinth. The Corinthians had definite ideas about what an apostle should look and sound like and Paul did not measure up in their eyes. Part of the problem was that there seemed to be a disconnect in the minds of the Corinthians between how Paul sounded in print and the way he came off in person.

Communication wasn’t especially helped by the fact that the Corinthians were pretty confident they were All That and that Paul would really be improved if he would just listen to their up-to-date theories. Throughout the correspondence that constitutes 1 and 2 Corinthians, you can see Paul patiently (and sometimes not-so-patiently) attempting to shepherd a group of people who are blissfully confident that they had it together.

The Corinthians brag about their tolerance of sexual immorality, revel in class inequalities, pull their chins thoughtfully while the latest philosopher tells them there is no resurrection from the dead, resent Paul’s authority, are all excited about some new moral theory that “Grace” = “Go Nuts and Do Whatever you Want!”, as well as various other alarums and discursions that force the apostle to put out a bunch of fires.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. The Corinthians sound remarkably American. And as you survey the Mainstream Media (MSM) coverage about Pope Benedict, who is visiting America this week, what comes through again and again is that much of the MSM is already weary of hearing what it has never yet heard.

The comparison of the US to the Corinthians in this article are very interesting.

Nonetheless, this Pope who believes so strongly in the transformative power of the Holy Spirit appears to think that even a Paris Hilton people can be granted the sight to see beyond the tips of their own cosmetically-enhanced noses.

He comes to us in one of the darker hours of our history when we are at war, the economy is in a shambles, the election is a choice between Larry (D), Curly (D), and Moe (R), Solomonic judgments are about to be made in the field of bioethics by the best court prophets money can buy, the Church is wracked by scandal, and we are preparing ourselves to cope with it all by watching That Pregnant Guy on Oprah and dosing up on a cocktail of Viagra and Ambien.

Will Benedict succeed in his mission to America? I suppose it depends on what you mean by “succeed” and “mission.” Will he succeed in making the world not be the world? No. Even Jesus couldn’t do that. But then, that’s not the mission for either Jesus or Benedict.

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