Monday, April 25, 2005


The Installation of Pope Benedict XVI

Since the words Coopertores Veritatis (Coworkers in the Truth) was the episcopal motto of Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, it is only fitting that reflections on his installation of yesterday April 24th inaugurate this new weblog.

The Pope's homily conveyed, in very simple language, the profound spiritual and theological richness so characteristic of the this "humble servant of the Lord's vineyard" from rural Bavaria.

The old media's shock and awe over the kindness exuded by this Holy Father shows they know nothing about this man. I have hope (not much though) that they will try to garner a proper understanding of this great man. If in the unlikely event that they do, they will see that he's a kind and gentle man not despite his unbending committment to upholding Catholic orthodoxy, but because of it.

To think that a single phrase would stand out in this great homily would seem ridiculous. But one hit me like a train! It is this one, " Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves."

I find it striking that he would make this statement on the occasion of his ascendency to the Petrine throne. You see, the person of Peter, arguably more so than any other biblical character, tells us two important things about the human person: his capacity for great heroism and extreme cowardice. On the latter, it is Peter, out of fear, who denied Christ three times, as grave a sin as any pope could ever committ. But this same Peter, after repenting, witnesses to Christ with a courage that embraced crucifixion coupled with the humility to recognize that he was not worthy to die in the same manner of his Lord.

Pope Benedict XVI understands painfully well these two opposite poles of human nature and does not deceive himself one bit about his own capacity to "flee for fear of the wolves." But he understands even more that God who places such a heavy yoke on his shoulders also sustains him with His Hand. God has called Joseph Ratzinger many times before to tasks beyond his capabilities and this humble servant has, with God's grace, answered this call in exemplary fashion. We have every reason to believe that as Pope Benedict XVI he will do so again.

In these thirteen words, the Holy Father was also telling us that he will not shy away from controversy. He will not hesitate in speaking those hard sayings of our Lord that our fallen world, along with of us in it, is in such desperate need of hearing.

God Bless Pope Benedict XVI!!!


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