Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thank you, Papa Bene

I'm struggling to find words as Pope Benedict leaves us. So, here's an excerpt from Thomas L. McDonald:
Non-Catholics can’t possibly understand the connection truly faithful Catholics have to their pope. He’s not magic, he’s not a god, and oddly enough he doesn’t even need to be holy or even particularly inspirational … What he is, is this: a promise. He is a promise, made by the Incarnate Lord, of a visible leadership that will last for all time, beginning with the flawed, hot-headed, cowardly fisherman who sat at His right hand, and stretching down through the millennia to us today. “Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam.” 

Final Angelus

Papa Bene, we will miss you terribly. Your ascent to the Throne of Peter eight years ago soothed our sorrowing souls after the crushing loss of Blessed John Paul the Great. You restored our joy! We thank you for your fatherly care, your gentle spirit, your keen intellect, your love of truth, your faithful service, your imitation of Christ. As you take your leave to pray for us and for the whole world, we will pray for you, too. We love you so.

"Well done, good and faithful servant."

Thank you, gentle Papa. Be at peace.



  1. Summed up perfectly. We love you, Papa B!

  2. Thank you for this post, Leila. I was on the road listening to the final words at yesterday's General Audience and I just started sobbing at his beautiful and living words to us. Oh how I will him and his obvious love for us all.

  3. Beautiful words, Leila! I can't believe how emotional I am through all this. I've been listening to EWTN and fighting back tears all morning.

  4. I have been very teary, too. Those who misunderstand the Church have no idea what a blessing we know we have in the Holy Father. May his prayers open many of their hearts and minds to the true beauty of the Church. I"m sad, but looking forward to seeing who is chosen to succeed him.

  5. He is precious. I only wish to be that docile when I'm grown. At this rate, I'm screwed.

  6. I agree, we will miss him, and will continue to pray for him. And so true how non-Catholics do not grasp the love we have for the Pope. I remember having a conversation with a co-worker after JPII died and she just couldn't wrap her mind around it, or thought I was making "too much" of his death (like "shouldn't you be focusing more on God? The Pope was just a man.")...I think Thomas McDonald summed it up very well.

  7. Beautifully said by both you and McDonald.

  8. A beautiful post....I hope he is at peace now and can enjoy the rest of his life. My father is his age and I could not imagine my dad taking on the responsibility that Benedict had. I wouldn't want to end my papacy sick or having other carry me around. I believe in Benedict's decision...God Bless him and like you said "Job well done, good and faithful servant."

  9. Thank you Leila. Fr McDonald hits the point. The pope is the visibility of the faithfulness of Jesus to his church. Fr McDonald says it much much better.

  10. Thank you for this beautiful post, Leila. While so many of us struggle with our words to adequately communicate the effect of this transition, it is a comfort to read the affirming words of Fr McDonald.

  11. For a moment I tried to imagine a world without a Pope. I scared myself! And yet... the way things are going, one day, soon enough, that could very well be the case... (even though the Church herself will survive until the end of the age).

    Forty years ago our prophetic Emeritus Pontiff Benedict himself warned us about the challenging future ahead of us:

    “Let me go one step further. From today’s crisis, a Church will emerge tomorrow that will have lost a great deal. She will be small and, to a large extent, will have to start from the beginning. She will no longer be able to fill many of the buildings created in her period of great splendor. Because of the smaller number of her followers, she will lose many of her privileges in society. Contrary to what has happened until now, she will present herself much more as a community of volunteers ...

    As a small community, she will demand much more from the initiative of each of her members and she will certainly also acknowledge new forms of ministry and will raise up to the priesthood proven Christians who have other jobs. In many smaller communities, respectively in social groups with some affinity, the normal care of souls will take place in this way ....

    There will be an interiorized Church, which neither takes advantage of its political mandate nor flirts with the left or the right. This will be achieved with effort because the process of crystallization and clarification will demand great exertion. It will make her poor and a Church of the little people ... All this will require time. The process will be slow and painful ...

    From this interiorized and simplified Church, a great force will pour out. The men of an [artificially] planned world will feel unspeakably isolated. When God will seem to have totally disappeared for them, they will experience a complete and horrible poverty. And then they will discover the small community of those who believe, as something entirely new ...

    Her [the Church’s] real crisis has hardly started. We still have to go through some great storms ... Certainly she will never again be the dominant force in society to the degree that she was until recently.”

    - Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 1971, Faith and the Future, pp 116, 117

    For now, let us pray:

    Lord Jesus, in Thy everlasting love, grant to Thy Church another good Shepherd in the mould of Thy beloved John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Amidst all the dangers which threaten us, may he be our rock - brave, militant, and unswervingly faithful to Thee, Who art the same yesterday, today and always. In Thy mercy deign not to deliver us, wretched sinners though we are, into the hands of the ungodly. For Thy unceasing care and compassion for us we thank Thee and praise and glorify Thy Most Holy Name. Amen.

  12. Minor point..Tom McDonald's piece is beautiful, but he is not "Father" McDonald except to his kids. Fine man, and a very good writer, but he is not a priest.


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