Papal Benefits

The Pope’s visit is stimulating a lot of different reactions on many fronts, even if the drama of the sexual abuse issue tends to hog the media’s attention. Another appreciative response for me is focused on Benedict’s active support of the UN and its international work on human rights. American super patriots who resist the international organization as a threat to US sovereignty are receiving a symbolic message. In the same vein it is heartening to read the Pope’s praise of America’s secular system of government which he says ensures freedom of religious conscience and thereby furthers religious life. Who could have predicted that the pre-Vatican II church’s positions on church-state relations could evolve so drastically? It is instructive to see this Pope exercising his Petrine ministry in the church so well. Liberal Catholics tend to forget that we are blessed to have an authoritative voice from the center speaking for the whole community and telling the world that certain practices and policies are not Christian. No suicide bombing, torture or preventive wars can be accepted: no neglect of the poor, immigrants or the vulnerable can be justified. Of course the faithful, including gospel feminists like myself, may disagree in conscience on certain non infallible teachings and continue to push for more reform and evolution of doctrine. But in the meantime Catholics can be grateful for the gift of a teaching authority. Hear this everyone, as of today, here is where we stand. But alas, my positive responses to the Pope’s visit do not include a desire to join in the celebratory fiesta side of events. By temperament and vocation I’m just too self-conscious and work oriented to take time to go out there, let go, dance in the streets or shout out for joy in crowds. I see this resistance to celebration as a personal failing. Huge, long, happy demonstrations of loyalty and affection are a good thing, but just not my cup of tea. At least, not yet. Sidney Callahan
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

In this Dec. 10, 2015, file photo, pedestrians crossing from Mexico into the United States at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry wait in line in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)
U.S. bishops: “It appears that this will be very harmful to families, raising fear among immigrant families already struggling to fulfill the American Dream.”
America StaffSeptember 25, 2018
Father Burke Masters, Chicago Cubs' chaplain, takes part in a practice with players during spring training in March 2016 at Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz. Cubs Manager Joe Maddon invited Father Masters to practice with the team. (CNS photo/Ed Mailliard, courtesy Topps)
While Father Masters enjoys the perks of being a baseball chaplain—watching games when he has the time and even taking batting practice with the pros—he sees his job as a form of ministry.
Michael J. O’LoughlinSeptember 25, 2018
“Fahrenheit 11/9” is not subtle, and it is not sympathetic to the view that what we need now is civility and centrism.
Robert David SullivanSeptember 25, 2018
Pope Francis caresses a child as he arrives to celebrate a Mass in Freedom Square, in Tallinn, Estonia, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
The pope said he knows that young people “are upset by sexual and economic scandals that do not meet with clear condemnation.”
Gerard O’ConnellSeptember 25, 2018