Potpourri of Popery, New Old Church Edition

It's the feast of St. Barnabas and a Church thought to date back to 70 AD or earlier's been found in Jordan (more on that below). Welcome to the Potpourri.

The Angelus on the Feast of St. Matthew last Sunday. The Holy Father comments on Christ's repeated use of the line from Hosea about the Lord desiring love and not sacrifice. So much packed into one little line:
The importance of this expression of the prophet is such that the Lord repeats it again in another context, in regard to the observance of the Sabbath (cf. Matthew 12:1-8). Even in this context he assumes the responsibility for the interpretation of this precept, revealing himself as the “Lord” of the legal institutions themselves.
That's an idea the Pope takes up at greater length in Jesus of Nazareth. The instruction for us, however is:
True religion consists in the love of God and neighbor. This is what gives liturgical worship and the observance of the precepts their value.

Here's last week's Audience on the thought of Gregory the Great. In summation:
Gregory remained a simple monk in his heart and that explains why he was decidedly opposed to great titles. He wished to be -- this is his expression -- "servus servorum Dei." This word, coined by him, was not a pious formula in his mouth, but the true manifestation of his way of living and acting. He was profoundly impressed by the humility of God, who in Christ made himself our slave; he washed and washes our dirty feet.

Therefore, he was convinced that, above all, a bishop must imitate this humility of God and, for love of God, be able to make himself the servant of all in a time full of tribulations and sufferings, to make himself the "servant of the servants." Precisely because he was this, he is great and shows us also the measure of true greatness.
This morning's Audience (no text yet, but here's a story) introduced us to the Irish monk Columbanus. The theme was re-Christianization, with the St. offered as a model of how Europe might recover itself.
  • Wonderful address to the bishops of Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei. He encouraged them to prioritize their own priests in the exercise of their pastoral ministry:
    By modelling your whole life and conduct upon Christ, let your priests see what it is to live as alter Christus in the midst of your people. In this way, not only will you inspire them to offer their whole lives "as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God" (Rom 12:1), but more young people will aspire to this sublime life of priestly service.
  • In a speech to university media faculty, the Pope put matters succinctly:
    the final worth of any communication lies in its truthfulness.
    I liked this advice about training students:
    Teach them as well, however, that their passion for truth, which can be well served by a certain methodological scepticism, particularly in matters affecting the public interest, must not be distorted to become a relativistic cynicism in which all claims to truth and beauty are routinely rejected or ignored.
  • In a speech to religious in Genoa last week he said:
    Let us never forget it: being called to proclaim together the joy of Christ and the beauty of the Church is what binds us. This joy and this beauty, which come from the Spirit, are a gift and a sign of God's presence in our souls. In order to be witnesses and heralds of the saving message we cannot rely solely on our human forces. It is God's own fidelity that encourages and shapes fidelity to him: for this reason let us be guided by the Spirit of truth and love.
  • Addresses to ambassadors: Sri Lanka. Nigeria.
  • The Pope will meet with President Bush on Friday, after which he's going to the heel of Italy's boot to visit Leuca and Brindisi.
  • The Vatican has added two new anti-terrorism units.


And finally: Deconstructing The Jesus Seminar, and other Catholic summer courses.