Friday, March 15, 2013

Habemus Papam - A Horse of a Different Color

On 3/13/13, at 8:13 on the back of white smoke filling the air, the call went out...Habemus Papam or "We Have a Pope!".
I announce to you a great joy:
We have a Pope!
The most eminent and most reverend Lord,
Lord Jorge Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church Bergoglio,
Who takes for himself the name of Francis.
Around the world billions of Catholic adherents were overjoyed as a new pontiff assumed the vacated papacy. In the middle of this celebration, one can't but help to notice the symbols. Symbols, symbols everywhere. But why are symbols important?

...because symbols mean something.
The first thing this morning Pope Francis went secretly to pray at the basilica church of St Mary Major in Rome. It is a custom for a new pope to go to this great church to pray, but for Pope Francis it was the first thing on his agenda. While he was there he made it a point to pray at the tomb of Pope St Pius V. Is this significant? Does it matter? If it is significant what does it signify?

...the Popes know their actions and words are significant. This is why they carefully choose their papal name. Benedict XVI chose his name for sound and significant reasons. Francis chose his name for sound and significant reasons. During his papacy, Benedict paid two very significant visits to the tomb of Pope St. Celestine V – the pope who decided that a pope could abdicate, and the only one who did abdicate for the good of the church. Benedict then follows his example and abdicates for the good of the church.
 One of my main criticisms of anyone part of any movement is that they are often immune to any form of correction.
'There are no problems.'
 'Ok, there are problems, but they're not that bad.'
'Ok, the problems are real bad, but everyone has problems.'

I have no issues with people being unaware of issues as not everyone is privy to all information at all times but I do have an issue with those who choose to demonize the messenger because they hate the message. Those who literally believe that destroying the messenger will kill the message - 
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

“The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.  Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

“But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. ~ Matthew 21:33-39
It is quite literally the reason why the Church recognizes good Friday. The cognitive dissonance can be absolutely stunning to behold in action. Enter the Trojan horse.

The Greeks had laid siege to the city of Troy for 10 years, trying in vain to take the city from the steadfast Trojan army. Something had to be done to secure the city, so they did the only sensible thing they could. They gave up and sailed away. But not before leaving behind a parting present - A large wooden horse as a kind of 'Thanks for playing!' parting gift for the victorious army. The Trojans wasted little time claiming this trophy by wheeling it through the city gates and celebrated a hard-fought epic war.

But not all was as it appeared.

For stealthily contained inside the horse was the patient Greek army, who at nightfall, exited the horse and slaughtered the Trojans, thus securing the city of Troy and ending the war.

For all appearances, the Trojans were absolutely correct. Why yes, this horse would make a very lovely addition to the city and it would raise the moral of the troops who had earned a respite. Besides, who would dare to do such a heinous thing to the Mighty Trojans, sneak into the fortress and...::gulp::...For a more recent perspective, ask conservatives about Chief Justice John Roberts...

Back to the subject at hand -
The very first thing Francis does is go to St Mary Major to pray at the tomb of Pius V.

So who was Pope St Pius V? He was a reforming pope who reigned from 1566- 1572. He cleaned up the curia, excommunicated heretical bishops, cleaned up the immorality in the church and swept the church clean– paving the way for the great surge in the church we call the Counter Reformation. He also excommunicated the tyrant Elizabeth I of England and formed the Holy League–a confederation of Catholic armies which eventually defeated the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto. Pius V also instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victories (nor the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary).

St Francis lived during a time of corruption, wealth and power in the church. He heard Christ say to him, “re-build my church.” Will Pope Francis also hear the call from Christ to “re-build my church” and not only be a new Francis but a new Pius V?

Rebuild the church? This begs the question - Into what exactly?

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