|Timothy Dolan gets ready to be installed in yet another level of power and glory.|
John Allen posted about the homily Benedict XVI gave to his 22 new Cardinals. Seriously, I burst out laughing. Read the following and laugh---or weep.
Pope to new cardinals: ‘Forget power and glory’John Allen - National Catholic Reporter - 2/18/2012
Pope Benedict XVI legendarily thinks in centuries, so it’s almost always a category mistake to read his public oratory as a commentary on current events. Yet it was hard to listen to him this morning without at least flashing on the recent Vatican leaks scandal, which has created widespread impressions of power struggles and senior churchmen stabbing one another in the back.
In comments today to 22 new cardinals taking part in Benedict’s fourth consistory, with most of the Vatican’s senior leadership looking on, the pope issued a strong plea for a spirit of service.
“Serving God and others, self-giving: this is the logic which authentic faith imparts and develops in our daily lives,” the pope said, “and which is not the type of power and glory which belongs to this world.”
Benedict noted that from the very beginning, not everyone in leadership positions among Christ’s followers has been up to that challenge. (And that holds even more true today.)
Reflecting on the New Testament story of James and John, two disciples who requested positions of honor when Christ returns, Benedict said “it is not easy to enter into the logic of the Gospel and to let go of power and glory.” (Allen then ends his article with more babble about Timmy Dolan being the first amongst his equals.)
The pope quoted two fathers of the church along the same lines.
“Saint John Chrysostom affirms that all of the apostles were imperfect, whether it was the two who wished to lift themselves above the other ten, or whether it was the ten who were jealous of them,” the pope said.
He then quoted St. Cyril of Alexandria: “The disciples had fallen into human weakness and were discussing among themselves which one would be the leader and superior to the others… This happened and is recounted for our advantage… What happened to the holy Apostles can be understood by us as an incentive to humility.” (Perhaps the reality is they were all jealous of Mary Magdalene.)
Benedict said the temptation to pursue self-interest and power is eternal.
“Dominion and service, egoism and altruism, possession and gift, self-interest and gratuitousness: these profoundly contrasting approaches confront each other in every age and place,” he said.
The Biblical reminders, the pope said, “represent an invitation and a reminder, a commission and an encouragement especially for you, dear and venerable brothers who are about to be enrolled in the College of Cardinals.”
Benedict created 22 new cardinals this morning, including Timothy Dolan and Edwin O’Brien of the United States. This afternoon, the new cardinals will hold receptions in various rooms of the Apostolic Palace, one of the few times it's open to the general public, and the Paul VI audience hall...... (Like there's no power and glory on display with these little shindigs.)
John Allen is probably right, and this homily from Benedict is gentle Vatican code for "stop the back stabbing and jockeying for position because I'm not dead yet and you all are becoming an embarrassment." Cardinal Timmy Dolan is lucky then, that he has John Allen to pimp for him because then John Allen becomes the embarrassment.
Anyway, it's not quite so funny if Benedict didn't really intend to call his princes to some sort of real understanding of the relationship a Christian person is to have with wealth, power, and glory. If Benedict's real message was all about how to proceed with more decorum in Vatican politics then I guess it's not surprising that these new Cardinals could go from this homily right to the Apostolic palace for caviar and fine wine.
I'm getting the distinct message that Jesus's teachings weren't for the likes of Cardinal princes, Jesus's teachings were for the 'little people'. The lives of Cardinal princes are just way too complicated for the simple teachings Jesus taught his followers. The Cardinal princes get installed to tell the little people how to live Jesus' simple teachings, not to actually live those teachings. Those notions of humility, poverty, last shall be first, all are created equal, no slave or master, are for the simple people to give them some hope in their simple lives. In the meantime, Cardinal princes are the first of the Catholic clergy, they live like it, they don't believe for one minute in the equality of the laity, and there for simple American Catholics can look forward to more of Timothy Dolan's leadership in the USCCB's faux religious freedom crusade. After all Cardinal Princes need to do something to bolster their personal delusions about their own Christ like lives and cement their place idn Rome.