Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Holy Father

I love that we have such a title as "Holy Father".
And, as a pseudo, crypto, would-be, neo, modernist, Anglo...and indeed post-modern
I have always known that there is a place we call home.
Twice I have been to Rome.
The first time, Papa Paul VI was a far distant blip from St Peter's Square. I remember clapping my hands on a cold January ('76) morning...not really knowing what he was saying or what this was all about. He was just the Holy Father
In latter days
 I recognise I was infatuated with the HolyRoman Church,
but increasingly am not so
Nevertheless, 21 years later I was sad to arrive in Rome at 6 a.m on a Sunday....get stuffed around with accommodation and miss the midday blessing!!!!
But it didn't seem to matter all that much.
Maybe I had grown up in 21years.
We still had the Trevi Fountain, the  Santa Scala, and the wonderful Basilica San Giovanni in Laterano where I went to Mass everyday for a week....and soooo much more.
It was the sunset of my married life
(don't be sad...I am
but you don't have to be)
we had a really lovely time,
the last time.. La Fontana di Trevi
and so much more
but it was not to be

I reflect on whether the world is interested in the RC Church in quite the same way.
Three RC Jesuit commentators made some interesting points  yesterday as we ask what this Pope's legacy will be.
The American popular writer James Martin says he will be remembered for what he wrote. I suspect this is true.  In thinking about who is successor might be, it's noted that it probably needs to be a person with significant pastoral experience. Ratzinger was renowned as a teacher and theologian, but was also a creature of the Vatican machine.  He was a cultured European, many commentators suggest ( as they have done for the last 30 years) that the time has come to move the papacy away from its European domination.
More than half the RC Church lies outside of Europe (true also for the Anglican Communion)
Frank Brennan, prominent human rights lawyer suggested also that would be remembered for his writing and teaching.
And made the telling comment that Benedict had the task of reforming the administration of the Church, and does not seem to have been able to effect that.
His former colleague, Paul Collins, a former Jesuit, and perhaps rather more media savvy (i.e.. the sound bite) made the comment that Benedict would be remembered for resigning.
He was not being cynical, but rather noting that the act of resignation would give permission for future Popes to not feel that they had to go on beyond the point where they could actually effect a meaningfull pontificate. This made sense to me.
Certainly  the whole world was saddened to see the physical demise of John Paul II, Benedict's predecessor, who lived out the idea of lifelong papal ministry long after it seemed personally good for him.

There is much more to see and hear, to read and to think about.

No comments: