Potpourri of Popery, The Pope Avenged Edition


That's how the crowd of 200,000 looked to the Pope at Sunday's Angelus. Last week, you'll recall, we covered the Faculty of Sapienza University in Rome protesting the Pope's appearance there on the grounds, "what has the Pope to do with a university?" (Besides teaching in one most of his life? Besides being the greatest champion of reason and free intellectual inquiry alive today? Not to mention another pope founded that University. But I digress.) As it turns out, this was an embarrassment not only for the University, but for the Italian government too -- it wasn't good PR for them that the Pope had to cancel for security reasons. There were other political implications as well, and the Vatican handled them deftly, as Fr. Z. explains here and here and here.

You'll also recall that Cardinal Ruini invited all Rome to come and support the Pope at Sunday's Angelus, and that's just what they did, including a sizable representation of students from Sapienza University. Zadok was there, took pictures, and reports:
It was a joyful moment of prayer with the Holy Father. The contrast with the scenes at La Sapienza couldn't be greater. The police presence was very light despite the numbers present, whilst the protesters in the university had to be controlled by legions of riot-police. There was also a wonderful mix of people there of all ages, although it was surprising to note how many young people showed up. It was also interesting to see the banners of some of Italy's trade unions present - not protesting, but showing that the Pope's voice is welcome in the public arena.
Our professor-Pope can be a tad formal and reserved, but there was no disguising the fact that he was chuffed at the turn-out and the attentive reception that his words received.
Asia News reports the students present chanted "Freedom!Freedom!" Here's the entire text, which was about the week of Christian Unity. He closed with a personal remark about the Sapienza controversy:
I wish to greet the young students, the professors and all of you who have come in great numbers to St. Peter's Square to participate in the prayer of the Angelus and to express your solidarity; I also greet the many who unite themselves to us spiritually. I thank you from my heart, dear friends; I thank the cardinal vicar who has made himself the promoter of this meeting.

As you know, I happily accepted the courteous invitation that was made to me to give a lecture this past Thursday at the inauguration of the academic year at La Sapienza -- University of Rome. I know this athenaeum well, I esteem and have affection for the students who study there: On several occasions every year many of them come to meet me in the Vatican, together with their colleagues from other universities. Unfortunately, as is known, the climate that was created rendered my presence at the ceremony inopportune. I postponed my visit but I wanted in any case to send the text that I had prepared for the occasion.

I love the search for truth, the comparison, the frank and respectful dialogue between reciprocal positions of the university environment, which for many years was my world. All of that is also the mission of the Church, committed to faithfully following Jesus, master of life, truth and love. As professor emeritus, so to speak, who has met many students in his life, I encourage all of you university students to be respectful of the opinions of others and to seek, with a free and responsible spirit, the truth and the good. To all and to each I renew my expression of gratitude, assuring my affection and my prayer.
Christopher, as usual, has the most thorough round-up of the whole matter. He cites a seminarian blogger who was also present Sunday:
Perhaps the most outstanding thing about the whole address was what happened after the traditional, Buona Domenica a tutti, which usually concludes the day. To the resounding applause that continued to sweep the entire square, Benedict stayed in his window and kept waving (something he never usually does). In fact, he even went off-the-script and urged everyone to go forth into the world to deliver this same message of solidarity and peace in the face of opposition; you could tell, he was speaking from the heart, and what better response to a protest last week than a bolstering of fervency this week? In my mind, this is just another example of how God has brought something quite good out of a situation where divisiveness and ignorance formerly prevailed.
One more item: Galileo's University is going to invite the Pope to address them. Hehehe. In sum, this round to the Pope; it is possible to push back against PC.

There was an audience today, mostly about the week of prayer for Christian Unity.
The world wants to see the face of God, but only in unity can Christians display it.
Black Popery
The Jesuits elected their 29th Father General on Saturday. The Pope wrote them as they began their Chapter. They responded in part by electing "Fr. Nico" --P. Adolfo Nicolรกs-- to be the new Black Pope. He's a Spaniard who's been exercising his ministry in Japan for many years. Various reactions can be found at Whispers pix & color commentary; Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit ( various reactions); and Some Have Hats. I asked some of my Jesuit friends for some firsthand info. All I got in response from one was decorous silence coupled with the suggestion that "for fun" I compare this article on Christianity in Asia written by the newly elect (scroll down) to Dominus Jesus or Jesus of Nazareth. Oh, Dear.

Against the Grain does a big round-up, reminds me I forgot to mention the pope's portrait in the Christmas potpourri (go to his place for video of the unveiling).

And: the blessing of the lambs on St. Agnes' feast.

Photo credit
And finally: Liturgical Dancing With the Stars