Sunday, June 06, 2010
The Pope and the Cross
Last evening I watched the last part of a film on Paul VI on EWTN - I saw a part of it last weekend as well. It was quite good - at least I liked it. I also liked Paul VI very much. One evening several years ago, I was visiting a priest in his apartment on the campus of a local university. Another priest professor stopped by and we talked for quite a long time. Somehow Paul VI came up and I told how thrilled I was to be so close to him at his Masses whenever I was in Rome. Somewhat enthusiastically I blurted out, "I loved him - I think he was a great pope." The other guest corrected me and stated in an imperious tone, "I wouldn't say he was great..." and went on to list all the reasons he wasn't a very good pope.
I left rather bewildered. Before that evening, the only people I had ever heard criticize the pope so harshly had been secularists, radical progressives and ultra traditionalists. The things that priest said that evening remain in my memory as if I was hearing them for the first time. The cursing, the use of God's name, the invective against the pope. Perhaps it was the brandy speaking. It remains one more reason why I have kept my distance from church people.
Anyway - I don't know the name of the film on Paul VI, but if you do get a chance to see it, it would be good to watch. If one looks for an authentic hermeneutic of continuity it can be located in the person of the Pope - contrary to what the grand historians, liturgists, and theological geniuses may tell you.
Anyway - for your edification...
... [T]he message of the Cross has been entrusted to us, so that we can offer hope to the world. When we proclaim Christ crucified we are proclaiming not ourselves, but him. We are not offering our own wisdom to the world, nor are we claiming any merit of our own, but we are acting as channels for his wisdom, his love, his saving merits. We know that we are merely earthenware vessels, and yet, astonishingly, we have been chosen to be heralds of the saving truth that the world needs to hear. Let us never cease to marvel at the extraordinary grace that has been given to us, let us never cease to acknowledge our unworthiness, but at the same time let us always strive to become less unworthy of our noble calling, lest through our faults and failings we weaken the credibility of our witness. - Benedict XVI In Cyprus, On the Cross