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Tag: Vatican

Leaning in

Friday, 15 March, 2013 0 Comments

For media producers and consumers around the world, the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week were marked by long stretches of inactivity (no smoke) followed by brief moments of minimalist action (smoke). What sounds deadly boring was, in fact, ideal material for the Twitter/Facebook masses. The lengthy waiting for the cardinals in Rome to reach a decision allowed amateur and professional Vaticanologists to speculate on things they know little or nothing about, and the hour between the white smoke and the drawing of the curtains could not have been bettered for dramatic impact. This was more thrilling than most action films. Indeed, one of the many surprises of the past week has been the astonishing ability of those ancient rites to reveal themselves as ideal material for sharing, as this Instagram page from NBC News shows.

NBC Instagram


Has the nimbus been tarnished?

Thursday, 28 February, 2013 1 Comment

There is a nimbus about the Papacy, bound up with the history of the office that makes it unlike anything else on Earth. That being the case, one could view the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to resign as very damaging to the ancient aura he inherited. By doing something as normal as what’s being termed “retiring” he is making the mysterious very mortal. And therein lies a danger. The other-worldliness of the Papacy, its claim to divine selection, has enabled the Catholic Church to act as a bulwark against secularization in all its forms, be it the evil of communism or the sterility of consumerism. And when some new cultish belief system like warmism emerges, the historical example of the Vatican helps puts it in perspective and in its place. If the Papacy is to be “humanized”, will the forces and the fanaticisms that it has traditionally neutralized feel emboldened to stake their claim for legitimacy, now that they feel a mere man stands in their way?


Sede vacante

Thursday, 28 February, 2013 0 Comments

“From a distance, the skullcaps of a knot of cardinals looked like fuchsias,” writes Christopher Howse in the Telegraph. Getting into his stride, he adds: “The people spilt out of the Vatican state, with concentrations like iron filings round screens in the Via della Conciliazione that runs towards the kaolin-grey Tiber. The silence that fell during readings from Scripture was like walking from a noisy pub into an empty street.” One of the finest pieces written about yesterday’s events in Rome is titled “In The world bids farewell to Pope Benedict XVI.”

Christopher Howse brings his readers back to 2005 and the Mass at the opening of the conclave that elected the then-Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope: “Buildings do not last, or books. After a certain time, more or less long, all this disappears,” said the celebrant. And that’s what will happen tonight when Pope Benedict XVI retires from public life. The chair of Peter will be empty. Sede vacante. That, the Latin scholar Howse points out is the Latin ablative absolute for “the chair being empty.” Now is not a moment for grief, however:

“But I think we should not underestimate the hard-bitten ability of Catholics to distinguish between the holiness of the Church and the sinfulness of its members. Jesus Christ, they were taught from childhood, is the head of the Church, not the Pope. There may be crises in the Church, but the Church is not in crisis. It is growing.”

Sede Vacante


Germany is glad to see the back of Benedict

Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 0 Comments

Pope Benedict resigns

A sigh of relief swept across much of Germany when the news of Pope Benedict’s resignation became public yesterday. His papacy was marked by a drumbeat of criticism that displayed contempt for his office and willful ignorance of the pontifical role. It was clear from the outset that Benedict was going to dedicate himself to correcting the theological aberrations that had developed since the Second Vatican Council, while reminding the 1.2 billion faithful that the heritage of the Catholic Church extends far further into the past than 1962, the year the Second Vatican Council was convened. Both of these goals enraged the elites that manufacture popular consent in Germany because they wanted a green, feminist, socialist, post-religious Pope who would conform to their warped interpretation of the world. They didn’t get what they wished for in April 2005, and they most certainly will not like what’s coming in March 2013.


The boy who became the pope

Thursday, 19 April, 2012

On this day in 2005, Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger became Benedictus PP. XVI. Fans of the scholarly Bavarian cardinal were thrilled. He was, after all, the draughtsman of the Vatican’s crackdown on liberation theology in Latin America and the perfect intellectual partner during Pope John Paul II‘s courageous challenge to the Soviet empire. And today, seven […]

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The Church of Rome

Sunday, 18 March, 2012

“Small it was, in the large Roman record, and her haunting sense of the continuity of the human lot easily carried her from the less to the greater. She had become deeply, tenderly acquainted with Rome; it interfused and moderated her passion. But she had grown to think of it chiefly as the place where […]

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