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My pope's 'veil of darkness'

Now that the New York Times has laid down the baton after their orchestrated Holy Week festival of pope-pounding, my feelings toward Benedict XVI are more conflicted than ever; his lifetime track record on clergy abuse ranges from all-too-typical avoidance and denial to unprecedented engagement, repentance, and reform. Sadly charisma-impaired, he's no rock star like John Paul II, yet he has dealt with the crisis more directly than JPII ever did.

Sick of getting my pontiff in cartoon form from the likes of Maureen Dowd, I've started reading some of his own stuff, and "complex" doesn't begin to describe it. He thinks, and writes, like a dark Time Lord plagued with bad dreams and tormented by human tenderness. Enough with the crap about "God's Rottweiler" already. The next time I'm almost beguiled by the kittenish Ms. Dowd's pop-snark take on matters Catholic, I'll let Benedict speak for himself:

"God is dead and we killed him: are we really aware that this phrase is taken almost literally from Christian tradition and that often in our viae crucis we have made something similar resound without realizing the tremendous gravity of what we said? We killed him, by enclosing him in the stale shell of routine thinking, by exiling him in a form of pity with no content of reality, lost in the gyre of devotional phrases, or of archaeological treasuries; we killed him through the ambiguity of our lives which also laid a veil of darkness over him: in fact, what else would have been able to make God more problematical in this world than the problematical nature of the faith and of the love of his faithful?"

Text: 'The Anguish of an Absence: Three Meditations on Holy Saturday,' from 30 Days, March 2006

Image: Detail, Fra Angelico, Deposition from the Cross, Museo San Marco, Florence

Posted on Friday, April 16, 2010 at 02:09PM by Registered CommenterBrenda from Brooklyn | Comments3 Comments

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Reader Comments (3)

Thank you for this. These are troubling times for the Catholic Church, but I do believe that the foundation upon which our church was built is still strong. Unfortunately, some of the supports are weak. My hope is that the church will come through this crisis stronger than ever and with systems in place to ensure it never happens again.

PS Ms. Dowd really makes me struggle with my attempts to not be so judgemental...
April 17, 2010 at 09:21AM | Unregistered CommenterJ.D.
It's so sad the things that are happening in the Catholic church, but your statement is true. We did kill God...our sin killed Him, the religious people killed Him, but through the resurrection of Jesus Christ His son...through repentance we can seek true forgiveness & obtain it. God did NOT call us to be religious. To become religious is a sin. Sin seperates us from God. We are called to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, constantly seeking Him through prayer & worship. My prayer is that these men commiting these crimes will repent & give their lives to the Lord.
April 22, 2010 at 12:04AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexis
Wow Brenda! I have read tons of Benedict and the words that come up most frequently are "beauty, joy friendship and freedom". (I think someone actually researched it once!)

I know that I am biased, because I truly love B16 but fear not! Benedict can be trusted as one of the "good guys". What has been written about him in the MSM is pretty clueless.

Even J. Allen who is usually most reliable for "All Things Catholic" had a story 2 days ago saying that the vicar in Munich who took responsibility for placing a priest in service in 1980 was "backtracking", implying that he was pressed to cover for C.Ratzinger. The story has since been totally debunked (and even makes more clear the cardinal's lack of involvement in the case), however, NCR hasn't retracted...or at least clarified the story. So this is what has been happening...innuendo, speculation and ultimately character assassination.

Please DON'T think that I am weak on those who deserve to be held accountable...I am not! I just don't see how one does justice to the suffering victims of sexual abuse by falsely accusing one who has seemingly done more than anyone else in the church hierarchy to address the problem.

If you want to read B16 at his most beautiful read his inaugural homily: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2005/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20050424_inizio-pontificato_en.html

and Deus Caritas Est (at least the introduction).

If you want to see him at his most brilliant, read "Salt of the Earth" and "God and the World".

...and for inspiration, read his homily at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Pardon my rant...but Benedict really is a precious gift for the church...and I wish that more people knew it.

Let's talk Italy!!
April 22, 2010 at 01:56AM | Unregistered CommenterAnn Engelhart

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