Potpourri of Popery, One Week Into Lent


Papal Teaching

Here's the Pope's Ash Wednesday homily, which hadn't been uttered yet when I posted the Ash Wednesday potpourri. The whole thing is well worth reading (it has the additional virtue of being short), but if I have to pick one idea to highlight, it's this citation from St. John Chrysostom about Lent:

"As at the end of winter", he writes, "the summer season returns and the navigator launches his boat into the sea, the soldier polishes his arms and trains the horse for battle, the farmer sharpens the scythe, the wayfarer strengthened, continues his journey, and the athlete sets aside his vestments and prepares for the race; so we too, at the start of this fast, like returning to a spiritual springtime, we polish the arms like the soldiers, we sharpen the scythe like the farmers, and as mariners we launch the boat of our spirit to confront the waves of senseless passions, like the wayfarer we continue the journey to heaven, and as the athlete we prepare ourselves for the fight by totally setting aside everything" (cf. Homily to the People of Antioch, n. 3).

Sunday's Angelus contemplated Christ crucified:

On contemplating Christ, let us feel at the same time that we are contemplated
him. He whom we ourselves have pierced with our faults does not cease to shed over the world an inexhaustible torrent of merciful love.

No audience yesterday because the Pope & the papal household are doing their annual spiritual exercises. The overall theme is the sense of sin. Read daily summaries of the mediations at Zenit's daily dispatches, but particularly interesting is this here. Retreat master Card. Biffi draws writings of a Russian philosopher, Solovyov, who says ideology is anti-Christ. Any ideology that reduces Christianity to a set of ideas as opposed to the encounter with a person:

Quoting the work "Three Dialogues on War, Progress and the End of History," Cardinal Biffi told his listeners that "the Antichrist presents himself as pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist." "He will convoke an ecumenical council and will seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions, granting something to each one. The masses will follow him, with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants," he said. The cardinal added that Solovyov says in that work: "Days will come in Christianity in which they will try to reduce the salvific event to a mere series of values."
In his "Tale of the Antichrist" Solovyov foresees that a small group of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants will resist and will say to the Antichrist: "You give us everything, except what interests us, Jesus Christ."

Now there's an apocalypse that sounds familiar.

You may also be interested in the Pope's address to Papal Representatives in Latin America. He sounds some familiar themes --particularly the need to strengthen the family from the pressures of growing licentiousness and its break-up due to migration; the need for evangelization in the face of the onslaught of the sects; and, interestingly, the need for clergy to be clergy and leave politics to laity:

In particular, I feel it is my duty to reassert that it is not the task of ecclesiastics to head social or political groups, but of mature lay people with a professional training.

Hmm. As you know, a theme dear to my heart.

  • The Pope gave an address on the "new eugenics" to the Pontifical Academy for Life before he went on retreat. Waiting for a text, but here's a summary.
  • And will there or won't there be an indult granting wide use of the so-called Tridentine rite? Nobody knows.


And finally, I stumbled across a poem written by an old professor o' mine, fitting for the season.