Tuesday, February 18, 2020

In Philly, "Begin To Hope"

SVILUPPO: Given the lack of a homily text – and, well more, the inability of large parts of the presbytery to even hear the preach as it was delivered – here's the fullvid of the Inaugural Word on its own.

On a side-note, until go-time, nobody had any clue of where the Archbishop would give it from...

...as for the answer, to repeat an earlier line here, the "Encuentro" is strong with him.

*  *  *
(Philadelphia Noon, 18 February 2019) 

From Whispers' home-church to yours, all blessings and peace...

...and now, continuing two centuries of what this place does best, It's Showtime.

A watershed moment on any number of fronts for American Catholicism's "Last Great China Shop," live from the Cathedral-Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul, today's Installation Mass of Nelson Perez as his hometown's Tenth Archbishop – feed begins at 1.30pm Eastern (1930 Rome):

...and again, a scrollable copy of the 45-page Mass-book:


In River City, The "Rising Son"

Some months ago, as the process which led to today wended on, one of the contenders told Whispers that "I would have to be psychotic to say 'Yes' to your place."

Given the enduring challenges at hand, odds are this bishop wasn't just speaking for himself. But for those of us who already know and love this city and its Church – and, indeed, are the most clear-eyed of all about the situation here – there would never be any such qualms: not out of a sense of ambition, but of devotion.

And amazingly, that sense would end up carrying the moment.

To be sure, the first return of a Philadelphia priest to the Chair of St John Neumann in over a century was anything but a certain prospect. But seeing how this scribe's own have reacted to it these last three weeks, it's suddenly become hard to conjure how any other choice could've been made. If anything, the effect just the news alone has had echoes the sense expressed by Romano Guardini in the wake of a world war: "An event of incalculable importance has begun – the church is awakening in souls."

Just a few months after taking Nelson Perez out of Philly as a bishop, Benedict XVI used the same phrase in his last address as Pope. As he explained the thought in another text, Guardini "meant to say that no longer was the church experienced and perceived as merely an external system entering our lives, as a kind of authority, but rather it began to be perceived as being present within people's hearts – as something not merely external, but internally moving us."

If that doesn't lay out the "conversion" upon which the 10th Archbishop's mandate rests, nothing ever could. Still, that its motion is already in evidence after 15 trying, brutal years of crises and scandals – compounded by the most sweeping institutional contraction ever seen in an American diocese – is nothing short of extraordinary.

Only today, however, does the work begin.

Thirty years since his priestly ordination in the Cathedral-Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Nelson's Installation in the same place begins at 2pm Eastern (procession from 1.40) – the livefeed will be on Whispers' main page then.

As you might imagine, after the intensity of the yearlong process followed by a historically quick handover, this Philadelphian's brain is a bit fried, but the experience has been worth the trip.

For now, one last thought before the finish line.

From time immemorial, it's been Whispers' custom to note the unique import of February 22nd for American Catholics – on the latter side, it's the feast of the Chair of Peter, the premier feast marking the role of the Pope, while in the States, it's the civic equivalent thereof as Presidents' Day, timed to coincide with George Washington's birthday. (As ever, the civil holiday was observed on Monday.)

Long as that link's been made here, only in our time have the two histories fully converged: on his 2015 visit to Philadelphia, the reigning pontiff became the first Bishop of Rome to visit Independence Hall, where Francis saw the chair from which Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention of 1787 (left).

Given the carving on the back of the seat, at the drafting's close, the future first President was led to remark that it represented "a rising, and not a setting, sun."

And now, thanks to Francis' decision for this place, as of today, we'll see it again, this time over St John's Chair – the new coat of arms has the very same symbol on it.

While the official description attributes its placement to the Perez clan's roots in Cuba, there's a hidden meaning as well: a stealth nod to Nelson's first pastorate, St William's on Rising Sun Avenue in the Northeast.

Clearly, all this didn't fall into place overnight. But it's no coincidence, either – as our Seventh Archbishop always taught his sons, there is only Providence...

...and after three decades living this beat in this place, to see another of these sons now come home as his successor is about as fulfilling as it gets.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation

of the Holy Father

to the People of God
and to All Persons of Good Will

The beloved Amazon region stands before the world in all its splendour, its drama and its mystery. God granted us the grace of focusing on that region during the Synod held in Rome from 6-27 October last, which concluded by issuing its Final Document, The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.

2. During the Synod, I listened to the presentations and read with interest the reports of the discussion groups. In this Exhortation, I wish to offer my own response to this process of dialogue and discernment. I will not go into all of the issues treated at length in the final document. Nor do I claim to replace that text or to duplicate it. I wish merely to propose a brief framework for reflection that can apply concretely to the life of the Amazon region a synthesis of some of the larger concerns that I have expressed in earlier documents, and that can help guide us to a harmonious, creative and fruitful reception of the entire synodal process.

3. At the same time, I would like to officially present the Final Document, which sets forth the conclusions of the Synod, which profited from the participation of many people who know better than myself or the Roman Curia the problems and issues of the Amazon region, since they live there, they experience its suffering and they love it passionately....