Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Pharaoh's Guide to Being Pope

So I've been a little hard on my archbishop for his visceral skittishness about B16. Then I found a little gem from 30 Giorni, the good wishes and hopes of some of the electors for the new pontificate. Of course, as Rigali's cult in Rome is akin to that of Jerry Lewis in France, he was asked to contribute.

D'accordo, he made nice-nice. It's a very Conciliar message and shows the Most High's true colors as a pure-bred Pauline progressive:

Pope Ratzinger has great experience, because John Paul II appointed him as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and in all these years he has worked for the faith of the Church, with the solicitude of safeguarding and presenting it more efficiently. As Pope he can now continue to safeguard the faith, and it is easy for him to promise fidelity to the Council, because in these years he has lived through the actualization of the Council. This is the task to which he has been dedicated up until now. And as far as ecumenism is concerned the reality of the visible unity in the faith and love of all Christians, will be the object of his concern; and under the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Pope must bring to a conclusion what was so dear to the heart of John Paul II and Paul VI: we remember the testament of Pope Montini in which he asked that the work of ecumenism go ahead.

The new Pope is aware of being the Bishop of Rome, he knows that his task is to be «episcopus catholicae Ecclesiae», bishop of the Catholic Church, which signifies bishop of all the bishops: here, therefore, is the collegiality, that he has already mentioned. Well aware that is, that, as the successor of Peter he indeed possesses the fullness of sacred power, and however, in a mysterious way, this full power is also shared by the bishops. Because the Lord entrusted His Church to Peter along with the bishops, the power is exercised “cum Petro et sub Petro”.

His concern, following tradition from the origins, also before the Council, will be to preside in charity. The Pope has this idea, to preside in charity, and the affective collegiality with the bishops is very important. We will see the continuity, we will see what the papacy is, because the recent popes have shown us what it means to preside in charity, to receive the bishops and receive the People of God, for which millions and millions of Catholics feel at home here in Rome. But it is up to the bishop of Rome to embrace all in faith and in charity. And he will.

And then this story from inside the Sistina, a part of the rite I didn't know about....
How lovely, when the Pope was elected! After he had, according to the rite, chosen his name, and we prayed for him, the first thing, there in the Sistine Chapel, in fulfillment of the plan of God, the cardinal proto-deacon places himself in front of the Pope and proclaims the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 16. In that instant there is a return to the origins, so that the Pope immediately knows clearly what awaits him. Peter’s confession of faith to Jesus is read: «You are the Christ, the Son of the living God»; and the reply of Jesus: «You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church». How beautiful, everything is clear right from the first moment: Peter must proclaim Christ and it is Christ Who calls him and who gives him the grace of being able to carry out the mission of His Vicar.

Yes, we are full of hope, and we are full of confidence. Certainly, Jesus told his apostles that they would suffer tribulations in the world; but he said: «Confidite», have confidence, because «I have overcome the world […] and the gates of hell will not prevail». Because Peter is built on a rock, and all of the church, as the Acts of the Apostles says, is faithful in praying for Peter, and … we don’t have anything else. We must confront everything, however, the problems and the dangers, with the strength of the Holy Spirit, a strength the Lord inspires in the heart of the Pope but also in all the faithful. Their prayers count greatly, as those of the community around the Pope, the bishops.
Go on, Pharaoh, testify....



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