The Shepherd 1 Has Landed

April 15, 2008 at 10:14 pm 3 comments

First Words

I watched on CNN as Pope Benedict XVI’s plane touched down at Andrews Air Force Base. The person I was with, a lifelong Catholic, though not particularly rigid in her beliefs and judgments, was near tears and aflutter with incoming and outgoing phone calls (“The pope is landing. Are you watching? How could you not know? It’s just unbelievable…). As she described it, “He’s the person on earth who is closest to God.” Though I don’t feel that way, I was moved by her moment.

So far, a few hours into it, it has been an interesting trip. Even before touching down, Pope Benedict made a point of letting us know that he is disgusted by pedophile priests, that he is “deeply ashamed” of what has clearly been a paralyzing and abominable (not to mention super-costly) chapter in Catholicism’s recent history.

“It is a great suffering for the church in the United States and for the church in general and for me personally that this could happen,” Benedict said. “It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission … to these children.”

He said priests and bishops will have to do a better job screening applicants for the priesthood.

“We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry,” Benedict said. “It is more important to have good priests than many priests. We will do everything possible to heal this wound.” (Read rest here.)

Because it went on for so long, and because the Church has been so agonizingly slow and hesitant to really deal with it, Pope Benedict is catching flack for good reason from victims of this heinous crime and their advocates. While this may be the start of a potential change to the Catholic Code of Canon law about who can and cannot be a priest, it strikes many as too little, too late.

Closer to Home

Pope Benedict XVI will be up in New York this weekend and what’s to know other than traffic will be a mess in certain parts of Manhattan (something to consider if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of his him or traveling to a seder) and that he’ll be saying Mass this Sunday at Yankee Stadium and it will take a miracle—or lots of money—to get your hands on a ticket at this late date.

I’ll be steering clear of all of it, seder-going chick that I am, but I’m adding The Deacon’s Bench blog to my roster of online sources for this visit. Greg Kandra is deacon of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, the church on the Ascan/Queens Blvd. corner and a great writer (his other gig is writing for CBS news). I’m hoping he’ll offer a different kind of insight during these days of celebration for some, uncertainty for others.

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Entry filed under: Forest Hills, timely topic.

Beyond Congestion Pricing Peeps for Passover

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anne  |  April 16, 2008 at 8:18 am

    In these times when so much is fast and ubiquitous, the wheels in Vatican City turn uber-slowly and a papal visit is a rare occurrence. Therein lies the paradox in the Pope’s relationship with, at least some Catholics. If secular law is playing catch-up with medical technology, then the Code of Canon law isn’t even in the game. I refer to the rules that do not yet prohibit a pedophile, etc. from becoming or remaining a priest. On the other hand, I remember vividly lining up as a very young girl in 1965 on First Ave. to catch a rare glimpse of a white skullcap in a speeding motorcade and how important and thrilling it was, and how vivid the memory remains. No doubt, many others will have a similar experience in the next few days. He may not be infallible, as I see it, but he is inaccessible and that is part of the draw. He is also the leader of the religious institution I was brought up in, so I maintain a personal, as well as public respect for his position, if not many of his views.

    You would think though that the Pope could move a little faster and more frequently; after all, he is flying on the wings on angels. God’s speed to you, Pope Benedict.

    Reply
  • 2. Nancy  |  April 16, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Call me a cynic, but knowing the church as I do through the media, his version of not allowing pedophiles into the priesthood will liely weed out anyone who might remotely seem homosexual. And that just ain’t the point. Andhow is he going to not allow pedophiles in? Put on the written exam: Are you a pedophile. Well, duh, I must answer honestly, right? Too little, too late, in my opinion.

    Reply
  • 3. karbeth  |  April 16, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    I think it all comes down to a person’s experiences. If you or someone you love was victimized, you almost certainly have a negative view of the Church and the pope. Untouched (bad pun unintended), it’s easy to revel in the pomp.

    Reply

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