Monday, February 11, 2013

Benedict the Great to step down

  • Pope Benedict is resigning. Say it isn’t so! Don’t go! The church of course is much more than the reigning Pope but this one’s done so much good. (Fixing English Novus. On paper freeing the traditional Mass. Otherwise promoting high churchmanship.) If it’s true, happy retirement and praying the next Pope does all he did and and more. (Let’s shoot for the moon: Cardinal Fellay.) Another priest from before the council would be good because he would be part of that as a living tradition, but many of these pushed the changes. Plus there’s age, the reason given for this. A man in his 50s or 60s might be even more conservative than Benedict, but you want that living continuity. Still, the changeover to the generation with little memory of before is bound to happen. By the way, Popes have resigned before: for example St Peter Celestine (Celestine V), holy monk, incompetent Pope; the last one, Gregory XII, was in 1415. Maybe Benedict will go back to Bavaria to have fun with his books, piano and cats.
  • Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou. The song of Bernadette. My parish’s feast of title, why in one of yesterday’s posts you can see the Lady altar with all the lighted candles. Private revelation has a funny place in the church. All approval means is it’s not heretical and can’t be proved a fake. It has a Mass and office, and you can name churches after it, but you don’t have to believe in it/it’s not part of the faith! That said, ‘Immaculate Mary, thy praises we sing...’ Also, what looks like scrambled Spanish is what St B spoke, not French. Provençal’s like Catalan in Spain but I understand it’s about extinct in southern France.
  • From What’s Wrong With the World: custom and law. One of the constant refrains of conservatives is “tradition.” (In the hands of Catholics, that even turns into “Tradition” sometimes). But either way, it is regularly a bone of contention between conservatives and liberals, or what might be more precise for this discussion, between conservatives and progressives.
  • Locally the church’s institutional rollback continues, partly due to outside forces (in our country, from the Christian heresy of Protestantism to that of the Western secular left), partly the self-inflicted wound of the council. The archdiocese has merged two parishes with us, and I understand it’s selling some of the seminary’s grounds including some magnificent baroque buildings. The epitaph of the so-called ‘renewal’ and a sign of Pope Benedict’s and the next one’s lean, mean fighting-machine church vs. things like the Obama administration. It’s a tradeoff; a little, fighting, zealous church (like the SSPX) or big, comfortable cultural Catholicism (family, the big tent, not a cult), which partly created American culture in places like Chicago and the Northeast; each has its pros and cons.
  • Modestinus on the papacy.
  • From Ethan Jewett: actually, young people do like traditional liturgy. An appreciation from our cousins, liberal high church. Credally orthodox but not on the church’s terms; everything’s up for a vote. (Claiming more power than the Pope.) That said, like the not liberal Orthodox convert boomlet you can see it as a trend parallelling Benedict and the church.
  • From Takimag: unearthing Richard III. Sic transit: the king ended up under what’s now a carpark in Leicester. Turns out Shakespeare was writing fiction/propaganda. Of course give Richard III a Catholic service.


  1. I wonder if Benedict's decision has anything to do with having been a firsthand witness to JPII's declining abilities during his later years in office. I suspect a lot of the corruption that went unchecked in JPII's pontificate may have been partly enabled by the Holy Father's long-feeble health and growing disconnection from what was happening around him. Maybe Benedict doesn't want the same thing to happen under his watch.

  2. I think it is a huge mistake for him to resign. Pope Benedict should die in office in the Lord's good time. The Church can get along quite well with a geriatric Pope whose active life has been curtailed by old age.

    I also think JP-II's later feeble health was not responsible for the corruption. With regard to the "sexual" scandals involving principally alleged homosexuality of clerics and bishops, I recall reading that in JPII's days as a bishop in Communist Poland, the Communists would routinely smear Catholic clerics including bishops by accusing them of being homosexual. Thus, rumors of homosexuality among the clergy and especially candidates for the episcopacy would be discounted by Pope JP-II who had been confronted by the Communists' attempt to smear the reputations of Catholic clerics in Poland.

  3. Anthony3:40 pm

    I know we'd lose Pope Benedict one day, but I didn't expect it like this. I worry about the future of the Traditional Mass. I wonder if the next Pope can roll back or limit Summorum Pontificum in any way or is it set firmly in the law of the Church now.

    1. It's always been set in the Church's law. Joseph Ratzinger believed and believes that no Pope has the authority to abrogate the ancient Roman rite, and he's right. That act of tyranny by Paul VI could never last, and any future papal attempts would meet the same fate. I wouldn't worry; the next pope won't even try.

  4. Funny thing, the Provencal reminded me less of Spanish than of Romanian with that -ciu ending!


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