Wow, what a week. The highlight of the year so far has been the Papal visit to the United States. Say again: wow. His Holiness was in rare form. I would go so far as to say that in many respects, we got to see Pope Benedict XVI very near the top of his game. There's so much to talk about with regards to the visit, there's barely enough time left in the semester.
First, to get it out of the way, the liturgical aspects of the visit. The low point of this, it seems, was the music at Mass at Nationals Stadium. There, enough said. It was recently driven home to me that the experience of those present was so amazing and joyous that they could've played on a broken guitar with the singing of a strangled cat, and it wouldn't have made a lick of difference. I'm inclined now to leave it at that.
Second, Pope Benedict probably surprised a lot of people by not only speaking forcefully re the abuse scandals, but quite forcefully and often. Much praise to His Holiness for doing so. This was really a big blow to the credibility of the Church in the United States. More importantly, more seriously, it was an aspect which shattered the lives and faiths of so many innocent victims. I believe His Holiness made it clear that he wants to bring the Church out of this, and that he's serious about confronting it. At the same time, it was also strategically very wise. One of the major arguments made today so many times which drives a wedge between people and the Church is that the Church is essentially a bunch of hypocrites; look, we are told, they lecture about contraception and no extra-marital sex, but see what they do! Not so with His Holiness. He has made it clear that he intends to root this filth out. Perhaps somewhat uncharacteristically, our Holy Father also expressed the personal impact of the scandal, one which tallies with what I had heard from other priests. The shock, the shame, the humiliation visited on all priests by the act of some is truly heartbreaking.
Anyway, that's all I can manage for now. Maybe more later! Vade in pace.