Potpourri of Popery, Corpus Christi Edition

Hey, the pope with potpourri! Actually it's confetti being released in Genoa on the feast of the Holy Trinity, about which more in a moment, but I shamelessly pinched the picture from Sancte Pater, who has more wonderful pix from the day. The pope looks so happy!


It's Corpus Christi in Rome, and the Pope will celebrate Mass at St. John Lateran and lead a eucharistic procession to St. Mary Major. (Actually, I'm listening to it live on EWTN as I gather material.)

Yesterday's audience introduced me to one St. Romanus the Melodist. (Never heard of him, cool name, though. Zadok has more here and here). The Pope places him among
the group of theologians that have transformed theology into poetry.... Faith is love, and so it creates poetry and music. Faith is joy, and so it creates beauty.
The bulk of the talk is on Romanus' creative catechetical style and a summary of his main themes, but the point of the address is the relation between faith and culture. The Holy Father concludes:
This great poet and composer reminds us of the entire treasure of Christian culture, born of faith, born of the heart that has found Christ, the Son of God. From this contact of the heart with the truth that is love, culture is born, the entire great Christian culture.
If faith is alive, Christian culture will never be "outdated," but rather will remain alive and current. And if faith is alive, we can respond to the imperative that is always repeated in the psalms: "Sing a new song unto the Lord." Creativity, innovation, new song, new culture, and presence of the entire cultural inheritance are not mutually exclusive, but one reality: the presence of the beauty of God and of the joy of being his sons and daughters.

Few of the Pope's homilies and addresses from his weekend pilgrimage are available in English yet. For those who read Italian, go here, and here's a lengthy summary of his homily in Savona, his first stop in Liguori. [Update: scroll around here and you'll find them all, along with pictures.] Seems to have been wide-ranging: he covered God as Beauty, rediscovering Sunday, the Eucharist and Reconciliation, Mary as the one who invites her children to return to God and a challenge to young people:
place the time of your youth at the service of God and your brothers. Following Christ always implies the courage of going against the current. However, it is worth all the effort: this is the path to true personal fulfillment and, therefore, of true happiness...This is why I encourage you to seriously identify yourselves with the ideal of holiness... Dear young people, dare to commit your lives in courageous decisions, not on your own of course, but with the Lord!
To families and to the whole Church:
I think of young families and wish to invite them not to be afraid to try, from the very first years of marriage, a simple style of domestic prayer, with the presence of children later, who learn very easily to address the Lord and Our Lady spontaneously. I call on the parishes and associations to give time and space for prayer, because activities are pastorally sterile if they are not preceded, accompanied and sustained constantly by prayer.
Always with the prayer, this fellow! Then a few cute words for his fellow priests.
Dear brothers in Christ, always believe in the effectiveness of your daily priestly service! It is precious in the eyes of God and of the faithful, and its value cannot be quantified in figures and statistics: we will have our reward only in Paradise. Many of you are of advanced age, like me. This makes me think of that stupendous passage from the prophet Isaiah which says: "Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, they that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles' wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint" (Is 40,30-31).
Then it was on to Genoa, where it poured rain and there are colorful photos of the crowds with their umbrellas. From among his several stops there, we have the Angelus, and, again, if you scroll around, you can find his marvelous address to young people and his homily.

The pope has dubbed Saturday, May 24th, World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, and has composed this prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan for the occasion.

  • The biggest "news" as such is that on April 8 (word trickles out) the Holy Father clarified the Vatican's 2005 instruction on homosexuals in seminaries. In sum the Church's policy is: don't admit them. In the clarification, the Pope confirmed this applies to all seminaries. (We're not told who thought they were exempt.)
  • Holy Father's Address to Thai bishops on their ad limina visit. You probably think I'm nuts to read these, but you learn so much about the Church from them. He dwells on Catholic schools in this Buddhist country, urging a spirit of what JP the Great called "accompaniment." Theirs should not primarily be a role of administration but of mission.
  • Yesterday the Pope blessed a painting of Fr. Giacamo da Ghazir Haddad, scheduled to be beatified in Beirut in June. (St. Romanus was educated in Beirut, by the way). I wonder if that will happen in light of the collapse of the Signoria government this week?
Special Corpus Christi show and tell feature: Many countries, such as our own, transfer the feast to Sunday. Nonetheless, how is the feast kept all over the world? The most ancient customs are pageants in which various demons and monsters are shown to be terrified of the Eucharist or children dress as angels; and of course solemn Eucharistic Processions. See photos of some. Eastern Germany. Spain. Dancing devils in Venezuela. Boats in Bavaria.

And finally: Gandalf?