Thursday, May 9, 2013

Easter Reflection on the Year of Two Popes

Since I posted last, Benedict retired and Francis was elected.  As in previous posts about Benedict, I believe he was step forward from John Paul II.  He was much more willing to dialogue (e.g., with H. Kung) and allow for a bigger Catholic Church than JPII.  Nonetheless, his greatest contribution to the modern Church may be his resignation.  There is a popular theory that he resigned because the Vatican Curia was out of his control.  Who knows... In any case, having two popes at the same time (in a sense) causes some of the mystique the papacy to fade.  For many conservatives, the Pope is the direct conduit of the Holy Spirit.  Does the Holy Spirit get confused when there are two popes?  Benedict obviously did not believe this to the extent that many arch-conservatives do, for he published books under this baptismal name--an action not done by JPII.

A little bit on Francis.  I'm sure I'll disagree with some of his future pronouncements, but so far he has been a great breath of fresh air.  I would like to think that the Catholic Wintertime in Milwaukee is experiencing an early spring thaw, but I'm not naive.  Nonetheless, his emphasis as the Bishop of Rome (as opposed to the Pope) has been nice.  It expresses a greater sense of collegiality with his brother and sister bishops.  His washing of not only women's feet, but a Muslim woman's feet during Holy Thursday was great.  He broke with a Roman custom that stressed Holy Thursday as Jesus founding the priesthood.  By not washing the feet of twelve priests, he reminded the Church that Holy Thursday is about service and being the least one.  His simple living is another great attribute.  I await his next scandal.

I'll check in from time to time.  Feel free to leave comments.

A Faithful Catholic

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