Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. G. Peter Irving III

2/23/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In the days and weeks ahead, the Catholic Church with both her splendor and her wounds exposed, will be put on display before the world as we bid farewell to one pope and welcome another. There will be moments of grandeur and pageantry which will captivate even the most cynical of observers. There will also be interludes filled with the same banal anti-Catholic drivel about a church still stuck in a medieval time warp.

Highlights

By Fr. G. Peter Irving III

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/23/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Fr. G. Peter Irving III, Holy Innocents Church Long Beach, Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger, Richard McBrien, Peggy Steinfels, Scott Appleby, Peter Hebblethwaite, papal conclave, John Paul II, love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, papacy,


LONG BEACH, CA (Catholic Online) - This time next week the Chair of St. Peter will be vacant. Our beloved Pope Benedict XVI "with full freedom" will have already renounced the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. Peter. By then we will all have become very reluctant "sedevacantists" and will remain so until the Cardinal electors choose the next pope.

The election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the successor to Blessed John Paul II was perhaps even more of a surprise than Benedict's stunning announcement that he would step down as pope on February 28. While faithful Catholics could think of no one more qualified than Cardinal Ratzinger to succeed John Paul II, the idea of a Pope Ratzinger seemed too good to be true.

On the other hand, dissident Catholic media "pundits" like Richard McBrien and Peggy Steinfels had convinced themselves and everyone else that a Ratzinger papacy was a complete impossibility. Then came the announcement of April 19, 2005, and the impossible became reality. The omnipresent Notre Dame professor Scott Appleby reacted to the news with a lament: "This is the worst nightmare come true."

No doubt, with a new conclave around the corner, the same tired media experts will be propped up before cameras to proudly pontificate in a way Benedict never did. And this is precisely the point. Joseph Ratzinger is so unlike the self-appointed know-it-alls whose empty words fill the columns of dying newpapers and provide copy for TV's ephemeral talking heads. Pope Ratzinger lives in a different dimension.

He is the Vicar of Christ on earth, not by his choosing but by God's. He became pope not because he desired it but rather because he desired only to do God's holy will. A more humble servant of God you will not find. Even his most vehement critics have made that concession.

In the days and weeks ahead, the Catholic Church with both her splendor and her wounds exposed, will be put on display before the world as we bid farewell to one pope and welcome another. There will be moments of grandeur and pageantry which will captivate even the most cynical of observers. There will also be interludes filled with the same banal anti-Catholic drivel about a church still stuck in a medieval time warp.

How should we prepare for these coming events? Our first response must be to seriously pray for the unity of the Church, invoking particularly the intercession of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. The next conclave will necessarily begin in the month dedicated to St. Joseph and must start no later than March 19, the Solemnity of St. Joseph. What a beautiful reminder of the Lord's solicitude for His Church on earth!

Second, don't get too caught up with all the intrigue and speculation as to who will be the next pope. There's nothing wrong with this to a point. But in the end it is an exercise in futility. No one knows (save for God Himself) who the next pope will be until the figure of the new pope makes its appearance on the loggia overlooking St. Peter's Square.

Learn the lesson of ex-Jesuit priest, Peter Hebblethwaite, who was once considered the world's pre-eminent expert on the papacy. As Pope John Paul II began to show signs of declining health, Hebblethwaite wrote a book entitled The Next Pope, exploring the question of who would succeed the ailing John Paul II. As fate would have it, Mr. Hebblethwaite's book was published posthumously. Pope John Paul soldiered on to outlive him by more than a decade.

Third, be humble. The long knives will be out to tear down the Church, to mock the Successor of St. Peter and the teachings of Christ. Yes, we should do whatever we can to set the record straight and to instruct the ignorant, but never with anger or hatred.

In today's Gospel Jesus tells us: "You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father."

"You shall love your neighbor" is straight from the Bible (Leviticus 19:18); "Hate your enemy" is not. Here Jesus is acknowledging the common rabbinical interpretation of the time which narrowly defined "neighbor" to mean "fellow Israelites." Our Lord issues this corrective to that false interpretation making it clear that there can be no "haters" among His disciples.

Strictly speaking, a true Christian should not view anyone as his enemy. This was the attitude of Our Savior nailed to the cross: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." This was attitude of the proto-martyr, St. Stephen, and of today's saint, St. Polycarp and so on down the line.

This has also been the attitude of Joseph Ratzinger throughout his life of service to the Church. It's hard to think of any contemporary figure who has been the object of more mockery and invectives than he. Through it all he has always remained a Christ-like figure, who like a lamb led to the slaughter never opened his mouth.

To everyone, friend and foe alike, Benedict has been the paragon of graciousness, whether it be his former colleague and inveterate heretic, Hans Kung, or the papal butler, Paolo Gabriele, who violated the trust of the pope by leaking confidential documents to the press. Benedict invited Kung to dinner at the Vatican and he chose to give a Christmas pardon to his butler who had just begun to serve his 18 month jail sentence for the crime.

Those who follow us will see even more clearly the greatness of the man and the brilliance of the Benedictine papacy of Joseph Ratzinger. How blessed we are to have lived in these times! In the nearly eight short years of his pontificate, he has produced volumes of eloquent and inspired writings and has conquered hearts throughout the world with his gentle demeanor. In spite of his age and opposition from without and from within the Church, Benedict XVI has guided the Barque of Peter over the waters of our turbulent times with a steady hand.

He entered the world stage in the shadow of a giant, Blessed John Paul the Great. All too soon he will unceremoniously retire from the spotlight to commence a life dedicated to solitude and prayer for the Church he so deeply loves and has so faithfully served.

May we show him how much we love him and appreciate him by entrusting him to the care of the Mother of God.

V.    Let us pray for our Sovereign Pontiff Pope Benedict XVI.

R.    The Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not to the will of his enemies.

Father G. Peter Irving III is a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and is Pastor of Holy Innocents Church, Long Beach, California.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Year of Faith

The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of Genesis. Throughout the Old ... continue reading


The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading


Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading


Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading


The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading


Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading


The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading


Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading


WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading


All Year of Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter