The Pope, Oberon, Titania, etc.

…A limerick that may or not have been written by Cardinal McIntyre in St. Peter’s, during one of the sessions of the Second Vatican Council:

We are two thousand Patres in Session
Who feel a great weight of oppression
What with Cardinals talking
And lesser lights squawking,
Thank goodness, the bar’s so refreshing.

…The idea that ill deeds can wreak havoc with ‘the environment’ has been around awhile:

Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have suck’d up from the sea
Contagious fogs; which falling in the land
Have every pelting river made so proud
That they have overborne their continents:
The ox hath therefore stretch’d his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn
Hath rotted ere his youth attain’d a beard;
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrion* flock; [killed by disease]
The nine men’s morris* is fill’d up with mud, [a board game]
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green
For lack of tread are undistinguishable:
The human mortals want their winter here;
No night is now with hymn or carol blest:
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound:
And thorough this distemperature we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Far in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
And on old Hiems’* thin and icy crown [winter]
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set: the spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which:
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissension;
We are their parents and original.

(A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act II, Scene 1)

Last week our Holy Father spoke to the German parliament.

He gave the “green movement” credit for re-discovering the natural law:

Positivist reason which recognizes nothing beyond mere functionality resembles a concrete bunker with no windows, being no longer willing to obtain light and air from God’s wide world…The windows must be flung open again; we must see the wide world, the sky and the earth once more and learn to make proper use of all this…The ecological movement realized that something is wrong in our relationship with nature, that matter is not just raw material for us to shape at will, but that the earth has a dignity of it own and that we must follow its directives.

The Pope went on to add:

The importance of ecology is no longer disputed…Yet I would like to underline a point that seems to me to be neglected, today as in the past: there is also an ecology of man. Man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will…Man does not create himself.

At this point in the Pope’s speech, the Parliament burst into applause.

…Pass the Rebel Yell, please.

This evening, I intend to suspend my ferocious contempt of ACC football and root like mad for the HOKIES!!!

The Pope and Martin Luther

“How do I receive the grace of God?”

Last week our Holy Father Pope Benedict visited the monastery where Martin Luther studied for the priesthood and was ordained.

The Pope spoke with admiration about the depth of Luther’s desire for God:

‘How do I receive the grace of God?’ The fact that this question was the driving force behind Luther’s whole life never ceases to make a deep impression on me.

The Holy Father went on to outline how different we are now. The contemporary attitude effectively declares: ‘God doesn’t care about my foibles. If He actually does judge me, He magnanimously overlooks all my small failings.’

But, the Pope asked, are our failings really so small? “Is not the world laid waste by the corruption of great and small alike? No, evil is no small matter.”

The Pope went on to say:

We need God; we were created to have a relationship with Him. The more the world withdraws from God, the clearer it becomes that man, in the hubris of his power, in his emptiness of heart and his longing for satisfaction and happiness, increasingly loses his life.

Luther asked himself, “Where do I stand before God?” We must ask ourselves the same question. And when we do, Scripture provides us with the perfect prayer to make:

Justice is with the Lord, our God, and we are filled with shame…
We have been only too ready to disregard the Lord’s voice…
and each of us went after the desires of his own wicked heart.

Luther found himself paralyzed by his own inadequacy before the glory of God. But we need not so find ourselves. We believe in the forgiveness of sins ministered by the Church. God has plans for us involving happiness and not woe. A perfectly fresh start is never more than a good Confession away.

St. Paddy’s Day in Yaoundé

Yaoundé, Cameroon
Yaoundé, Cameroon

pope-planeHoly Father is not going to Ireland. He is going to Africa.

He will visit Cameroon and Angola. It will be a week-long trip.

He will be in Cameroon for St. Joseph’s day on Thursday, too.

It is hard to believe that it is almost a year since he came here to Washington.

The day he paraded through town in the popemobile was one of the most delightful days of my life. The sun was shining, the streets were full of people, and everyone wanted to exchange a pleasant word with Father. Washington was one big, happy, Catholic family that day.

March 17
March 17
March 19
March 19