The Pastor's Pen
Excerpts from Pope Benedict XVI’s homily at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 19 April 2008
I would like to draw your attention to a few aspects of this beautiful structure which I think can serve as a starting point for a reflection on our particular vocations within the unity of the Mystical Body.
Lord Macaulay was a 19th century anti-Catholic scholar who was nonetheless impressed by the history of the Church and the papacy. To his reflection on the papacy (below) could be added many more (and more important) positive things. Had he been prescient, he would have remarked that the papacy has now survived Nazism and Communism. Macaulay thought the papacy a work of “human policy”. We know, in fact, it is God’s work.
“You are Peter,” Our Lord said when he first entrusted the keys of the Church to this Galilean fisherman named Simon. “Peter” (petrus in Latin, cephas in Greek) signifies the rock or foundation upon which the Church was to be “built”, the apostolic role which conserves and announces the good news that “Christ is Risen,” which binds and loosens men from sin. At the Last Supper, Jesus did not waver in his intention to invest Peter with this special role.
Our eighth graders were confirmed this past week. As part of their preparation, they were asked to choose the name of a saint whose life captured something of their experience of the Faith. This following was written by Tracy Stano, who is in our religious education program. (Her nanny is Katie Burns who passed away in 2007.)
She is gone. My nanny is gone. She is up in heaven peacefully with my uncle. I never wanted her to leave and go up in heaven and leave me here with all of the pain. But she doesn’t feel pain anymore. She was a wonderful person. She was so energetic and loving. I remember when she would stock up on items all of the time. She had so much stuff to last a lifetime. I remember when she would come over and bring something over with her like the newspaper. She was always so giving just like St. Catherine of Siena.
The scribes and Pharisees were prominent Jews who fashioned themselves as pious observers of the Law and the words of the prophets. From their study of the Law and the prophets, they anticipated a Messiah, a king in the mold of David, who would stand before the presence of God as Moses did, and prophesize with the force of Elijah. They poured over the scriptures, analyzing every word so that they would be sure to recognize him when he came.
This week’s news about Governor Spitzer (and I’m presuming as I write this, his resignation) is sad news for the people of New York. While all the facts are not known, his case is apparently about more than carnal indiscretions. Questions about the movement of large sums of money and where they came from indicate criminal activity. Even though we may take comfort that Mr. Spitzer’s proposed legislation forcing Catholic health care workers and institutions to provide abortions against their consciences now will almost certainly fail, it is still a sad day for New Yorkers.
At the time you read this, you will have most likely heard that the Archdiocese of New York has decided to close our parish school among others, as the Archbishop and his staff at the Department of Education rethink the shape of Catholic schooling in the Archdiocese. We have been working for years to prevent this, hoping to strengthen our school and continue its long tradition of educating our parish children with both Faith and sound academics. Sadly, there has not been the kind of interest in the school we had hoped would turn things around.
In 1993, William Bennett, the former Secretary of Education under President Reagan, put together an anthology of short stories and fables in The Book of Virtues. He supposed that many of the timeless classics like Aesop’s “TheTortoise and the Hare” and other stories traditionally used to teach wisdom and virtue to children had been neglected. He saw in the reintroduction of these stories a way to reset our nation’s moral compass and ensure our children (or maybe we) are morally literate.
It seems as if it should be as natural as breathing. Talking with God seems to be child’s play, as simple as the conversation between a child and his or her father. Doesn’t God know what’s in our hearts, what we need, even before we turn to Him?
It was one of the best Superbowls I’ve seen. The Giants victory over the 18-0 New England Patriots will be remembered as one great game. I remember vaguely their victory over the Bills in Superbowl XXV and less so their victory over the Broncos in Superbowl XXI. For whatever reason, I had forgotten they played and lost to the Baltimore Ravens. I have been a Giants fan ever since Alex Webster (not the bassist from the band Cannibal Corpse, but the former Giants’ running back and coach) gave me his autograph when I was a kid in the early 60s.