Potpourri Of Popery, St. Bernadette Edition


At left is the only known photo of St. Bernadette at the grotto at Lourdes. It was taken about three years after the famous visions took place. Her feast day was Monday, same as the Pope's birthday.

Papal Teaching
This morning's audience (on the anniversary of B16's election), focused on Clement of Alexandria. I'll be happy to see the text when it appears, because it seems he focused (surprise!) on the relation between faith and reason --but particularly on the need for reason to be accompanied by virtue --to be purified as it were from disordered passions in order to be liberated to know. Therefore:
good deeds must accompany one on one’s life journey, just as a shadow follows the body: they are never separate, true [knowledge] cannot coexist with evil deeds.
Here's last week's audience, too, which I neglected to post at the time. There are two Regina Caeli texts for Easter Week: Easter Monday and the usual Sunday one. I liked this from the latter --on "peace not as the world gives," as Christ said:
Peace is the gift that Jesus left to his friends (cf. John 2:27) as a benediction that was destined for all people and all nations. It is not a peace according to the mentality of the "world," as a balance of power, but it is a new reality, fruit of the love of God, of his mercy. It is the peace that Jesus Christ earned at the price of his blood and that he communicates to those who trust in him. "Jesus, I trust in you": In these words the faith of the Christian is summed up, a faith in the omnipotence of the merciful love of God.
We can pass over the Pope's pleas for peace as boilerplate, or we can note something mysterious at work. Could it be that the challenge posed by radical Islam is accelerating the pace of the Pope's other great project, Christian unity? Last week I noted without comment the fact that representatives of Moscow & Rome witnessed each other's Easter liturgies in Russia. That might seem small, but if you follow the relations between Rome & Moscow at all, you know it's huge; the representatives said gracious things about one another, too --also huge, since Moscow's remarks about Rome tend to be acerbic. So then there's this little account of Benedict's birthday lunch, in which Benedict says that Christian peace is key to avoiding a clash of civilizations, and talks about some recent meetings he's had, including with a prominent orthodox theologian. It's possible to over-read, but it seems to me that the heads of the various Christian communions are starting to take Christ's prayer in John 17 seriously: that Christian unity is to be the sign to the world that Christ is who he says he is (more here), and that a serious challenge to civilization will require more than a disjointed sectarian response. See what you think.

  • The pope sent a letter to participants of a youth forum at the end of March. When you compare it to what he said to the Swiss bishops last year about the challenge of reaching young people, you'll see he practices what he preaches.
  • Keep checking in with Zadok the Roman as he works through Jesus of Nazareth.
  • And for the most thorough Benedict round-up, with primary and secondary sources, go to Against the Grain for these three posts.

As for what the Pope is up to, he attended a concert for his birthday. He sent us all a condolence message after the VT horror. And he's visiting the tomb of his mentor, St. Augustine, this weekend.


And finally: at the Vatican site you can wish PapaRatzi a happy birthday .