From Rome Reports: Pope Francis, washing the feet of 12 young prison inmates yesterday, including two young women and two Muslims.
What the Holy Father did here is beautiful and deeply meaningful to me.
From Rome Reports: Pope Francis, washing the feet of 12 young prison inmates yesterday, including two young women and two Muslims.
What the Holy Father did here is beautiful and deeply meaningful to me.
I would guess that the feet washing controversy is settled now.
It appears that Jesus meant the priesthood is to serve all human beings. Or, at least, that’s the message I take away from the simple act that Pope Francis performed at the Casal del Marmo today.
After delivering what sounds like a very clear homily in which he explained the meaning of what he was about to do, he washed the feet of 12 young inmates, two of them female and two Muslims. “I do this with my heart,” he told them before washing their feet.
This reminds me of a line from the movie The Quiet Man in which the bride asked one of her friends, “What manner of man have I married?”
“I’m thinking a far better man than you know, Mary Kate,” the friend answered.
I believe that Pope Francis is a far better man than many of us know.
As for the inclusion of women in today’s foot washing, all I can say is Thank you Papa.
I. Am. So. Glad.
From NBC News, (emphases mine):
For I was in prison, and you visited me.
Pope Francis will wash the feet of incarcerated young people tonight. Some of them have no faith. Others are Muslim. Many of them did not even know who the Pope was when they first heard he was coming.
Many Catholics, particularly those in prison ministry, are overjoyed by this act. But there are others who find it off-putting, even a bit scandalous. They expect the Pope to wash the feet of other priests, or at least other men, who are Catholic, Christian and probably important. I’ve read comments emphasizing that the young people whose feet the Holy Father will wash are nondescript boys and girls, many of whom are of no faith or Muslim. They are people who won’t even appreciate the honor they are receiving.
But the Pope is only doing what Jesus did. He is seeking out those who are lost. It appears that this deep equality of all humanity that Our Lord lived and taught is as scandalous to some of us today as it was 2,000 years ago. But a failure to live this will kill the Church. We are not meant to be a closed-off, self-congratulatory faith that despises rather than serves those Jesus died to save.
People didn’t “appreciate” the honor of having God made flesh walking among them 2,000 years ago. The drama of Holy Week is a re-enactement of just how profoundly they didn’t appreciate it. Not even His own disciples really appreciated the honor they were receiving. No one, except His mother, understood what was happening.
Holy Thursday drives us back to the night when He was taken, to the moment when He gave us the Eucharist and instituted the priesthood. But He did not give us a priesthood created for palaces and fine things. It was and is and will always be a servant priesthood. It is priesthood of the kind that goes to prisons and washes the feet of young people who do not understand the meaning of what is happening any more than Peter did on that night in the Upper Room. When it ceases to be that, it ceases to be a priesthood of Christ and becomes a priesthood for itself.
The foot washing is a sign signifying that these young people — and all of us along with them — are children of the living God. It is a living memorial of the servant priesthood Jesus instituted in the upper room 2,000 years ago. If Christ The Lord could go down on his knees before a group of itinerant fishermen and tax collectors and wash their feet, why shouldn’t the Pope do the same for a group of incarcerated young people?
If the Son of God can submit to betrayal, false arrest, verbal abuse, beating, mockery, and a hideously painful, lingering death, then what makes us think that we’re so special?
When Jesus was asked questions similar to the ones that have been raised by those who oppose the Holy Father’s plans to go to the prison tonight, He answered them with a simple statement. The Son of Man came to save and seek the lost. I think He’s saying the same thing to us today and that Pope Francis is His voice.
At last, I get to meet someone who says he is my father!
One of the young people said that when they heard of the Pope’s plans. That statement, speaking as it does of a young person who has most likely led an unloved life, breaks my heart. It also fills me with gratitude that he or she can feel that way about our Holy Father. I am in awe of a Church whose leader can wield the power of a Pope yet move to touch and heal ones such as these. Only a Church whose true head is Christ Jesus could do that.
Two thousand years and counting, and the Gospel message of love, forgiveness and hope marches on to the ends of the earth.
“At last, I shall get to meet someone who says he is my father!”
The Holy Father is teaching us evangelization by doing it. That was the opinion of a virtual friend of mine after reading this press release. I couldn’t agree more.
From the Vatican website:
2013-03-27 L’Osservatore Romano
Forty-nine young people, the inmates of the Roman borstal, Casal del Marmo, are preparing to receive an extraordinary gift. Pope Francis will go there in the afternoon of Holy Thursday, 28 March, to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. A joyful atmosphere of expectation pervades the institute. Such an important visit had certainly not been on the cards. Above all, there had been no expectation of so suddenly touching the heart of the Pope whom they do not yet know. “The young people’s enthusiasm”, Liana Giambartolomei, the principal, told us, “must be linked to the very fact that they feel they will be playing the lead on a historic day. Moreover, this is exactly what Pope Francis wanted. He expressly asked us to make sure that there were no other young people here. He wants to be certain that they know he is coming solely for them, because he loves them, he carries them in his heart and considers them important, very important”. A Caritas worker in the penal institute says that one of them, having heard the news, exclaimed: “At last I shall get to meet someone who says he is my father!”.
Fr Greco, the chaplain, does not conceal the fact that he was somewhat perplexed, at least to start with, “because”, he told our paper, “only eight of our residents are Italian: six boys and two girls. The others are all foreigners. And most of them are Muslim. Then there are some who have no religious belief at all. Therefore many of them don’t even know who the Pope is. For this reason too, it was far from easy to explain to them the importance of the Pope’s visit”. “A young Neapolitan”, the chaplain confided, “who has been here for a while came to my help. He gathered them all together, to try to make them understand above all what the Pope’s act, which is an act of love for them, actually meant. I was upset for a moment by the first looks, that were either blank or only faintly curious about my enthusiasm. Then our friend broke the silence with that most classic of Neapolitan expressions: “Maronna mia, o Papa accà!” [good heavens! The Pope here!] and he ran his hand through his hair, his face betraying emotions mingled with happiness. At that very instant all the others, seeing his amazement, realized that it must really be something very special and began to question me. Little by little, I saw their enthusiasm growing.
In suffering, I accept.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio
We’ll get the chance to learn more about our new Holy Father next week, when Vatican Television Center releases a documentary about him, Francis: The Election of a Pope from the Ends of the Earth.
Probably because of the slanderous gossip that has been promoted in some circles, they’ve given us a spoiler. Cardinal Begoglio’s words on his election were: I am a great sinner confident in the patience and mercy of God. In suffering, I accept.
CNA/EWTN News has details:
Vatican City, Mar 27, 2013 / 10:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican Television Center will release the documentary “Francesco” next week, providing an intimate look at the historic events that led to the election of Pope Francis, including his first words after his election.
“I am a great sinner confident in the patience and mercy of God. In suffering, I accept,” said Monsignor Dario Edoardo Vigano, director of Vatican Television, as he recounted the moment when the Pope was asked if he accepted the results of the voting.
The film, titled “Francis: The Election of a Pope from the Ends of the Earth,” will be distributed throughout Italy as a supplement to the April 2 edition of the national newspaper Il Corriere della Sera.
It follows the historic events that have occurred at the Vatican, beginning with Benedict XVI renouncing the papacy on Feb. 11 and concluding with the March 23 meeting between Pope Francis and his predecessor at Castel Gandolfo.
The documentary reconstructs the pivotal moments of the period using interviews with four cardinals – Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica; Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals. (Read more here.)
1. I am a Catholic because Christ in the Eucharist called me for years and a good priest opened the doors and let me in.
2. I am a Christian – which happened before I became a Catholic — because Christ in the Holy Spirit called me. He called me throughout my anti-religion years.
3. St Peter told Jesus: Where else would we go? You alone have the words that lead to eternal life. That was true then. It’s true now.
That, in 85 words, is why I am a Catholic.
What the Court says in questions does not necessarily reflect how they will rule.
However, two days’ of questioning concerning Proposition 8, which was heard yesterday and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which was heard today, seems to form a consistent pattern. The justices have remarked twice now on the fact that marriage has always been a state issue.
I don’t know if that’s an indicator of how they will rule, but I sincerely hope so. I think it would be disastrous for the Court to wade into this explosive issue that the states are actually handling through the electoral process with a judicial fiat. There is no reason that I can see for the justices to silence the voice of the people with thunder from the Court.
No one knows, but questions for the justices themselves seem to echo this sentiment. Justice Kennedy questioned whether the Court should be hearing these cases at all. On the other hand, Justice Gader-Ginsberg commented that DOMA reduced gay marriages to “skim milk” marriages.
I honestly don’t know what a “skim milk” marriage would be, but I assume that the question was meant to support gay marriage. I could be wrong, but that’s my guess.
From the Wall Street Journal:
By EVAN PEREZ, BRENT KENDALL and JESS BRAVIN
WASHINGTON—Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday questioned whether the federal government has the right to define marriage, a role traditionally reserved for states, in the second day of Supreme Court arguments on gay marriage.
The comments by Justice Kennedy, seen as holding a key vote on the court, came after several justices sharply challenged the Obama administration’s handling of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Some questioned whether the court should be hearing the case at all.
Former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger tells WSJ’s Jerry Seib that arguments in the Supreme Court suggest justices may be seeking a narrow ruling that clears the paths for state action on gay marriage, rather than a sweeping ruling to settle the issue.
The arguments concluded shortly past noon Wednesday, a day after the justices heard a case on California’s gay-marriage ban.
Former Solicitor General Paul Clement, defending the 1996 federal law, said it merely defines marriage for the purposes of the federal government and doesn’t bind states, regardless of whether they want to approve gay marriage.
Justice Kennedy, however, jumped to express concerns with that argument, questioning whether the federal government was intruding on the states’ territory. He said the Defense of Marriage Act ran the risk of conflicting with states’ role in defining marriage.
Liberal justices joined Justice Kennedy in questioning the law. Justice Elena Kagan said it raised red flags, while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the federal law diminished same-sex marriages to “skim milk” marriages. (Read more here.)
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. Jesus Christ
Remember the beautiful moment in his inauguration when Pope Francis stopped the procession, got out and blessed the disabled man? Remember the expression on that man’s face as he looked up at the Holy Father?
That moment was the whole event, perhaps the papacy and the Church itself, caught in one man’s face as he looked at his pope. At least it was for me.
Evidently, certain Church-bashers saw something else.
I saw a headline this morning announcing “Pope Perpetuates Religious Prejudice by Blessing Disabled Man.”
And no, it wasn’t on The Onion.
It was on Huff Post politics, written by the “Distinguished Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago” Lennard Davis. I won’t link to it, so don’t ask me. But I will say that I read the article and it wasn’t satire. The distinguished professor meant what the headline said.
The article was chock full of the usual self-righteous ramblings about what the pope should do if he “really” wants to help disabled people. It also contained this nifty little question: “Is there something inherently special about being disabled that requires a blessing?”
I could counter with all sorts of things, but I may have already given this claptrap more weight than it deserves.
My grandmother had a saying: If you could buy him for what he’s worth and sell him for what he thinks he’s worth, you could (insert huge payment to somebody.)
I suggest that we apply that saying to this article.
He lives with his employees, and it appears he likes it.
The Holy Father told those attending this morning’s mass that he plans to continue living in the Casa Stanta Marta rather than move into the papal apartment. This residence normally houses Vatican employees.
This pope lived shunned the Archbishop’s residence in Buenos Aires to live in a small apartment when he was a cardinal. He begins the days of his Pontificate with a morning mass that he has invited street sweepers, Vatican gardeners, the residency staff and the Vatican’s newspaper staff to attend.
He wears black shoes, doesn’t like limousines, and makes his own telephone calls.
Not only do I love our Pope, but he’s beginning to get through to me, at least a little bit. I spend more on toys, tech toys in particular, than the poorest of the poor on this earth make in a year. If Apple sells it, I own it. My husband says I’m competing with Imelda Marcos as to who has the most shoes.
Maybe I need to re-think my priorities. After all, if the Pope can do it, then shouldn’t we?
Details of the story from CNA/EWTN:
Vatican City, Mar 26, 2013 / 10:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis said this morning he will stay at Saint Martha’s residence instead of moving to the Apostolic Palace, according to the Vatican press office.
“After the Mass ended this morning, the Pope told those present that he intends to remain in the Casa Santa Marta and stay with the employees,” said the Holy See’s press office director, Father Federico Lombardi.
Pope Francis has been staying at the residence instead of the papal apartment because of renovations that were taking place there. According to the Associated Press, those updates have been completed and the apartment is ready for the Pope to move in.
He has invited street-sweepers, Vatican gardeners, the residency’s staff and the Vatican newspaper’s staff to take part in the daily Mass.
The seals of the papal apartment have been removed, but the Argentinian Pope will remain in St. Martha’s residence for the time being.
Fr. Lombardi did not say if the Pope will move out in the future.
When he was in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis lived in a small apartment, instead of the grand archbishop’s residence.
For years, he cooked his own meals and traveled on public transport around the city. (Read more here.)
I’ve read that the ancients used to slaughter a goat and study its entrails to try to predict the future. Others made tea and studied how the tea leaves settled to the bottom of the cup for the same purpose.
We all want to know what’s going to happen. We’re smart enough to anticipate, but not prescient enough to know. This human conundrum has kept fortune tellers and sooth sayers of one sort or the other in business for all of human history.
I’m telling you this as a caution. What observers of the Supreme Court think they see in the twitch of a judicial eyebrow or rise of a voice at the end of a question may, in reality, be nothing more than a tic or a frog in the throat. Ditto for the questions the Justices ask. They ask questions for their own reasons, or sometimes I’m sure, for the other justices’ needs. Questions, facial expressions and tones of voice do not Supreme Court rulings make.
Having cautioned you — and myself — with all this, I have to admit that what the press is saying about the Supreme Court hearings on Prop 8 today seems to reflect what I’ve been saying all along: Do they really want to jump in there and take the authority to make this decision on themselves? Would they be pushing the country over a cliff? Wouldn’t it be wiser, more honest, and frankly, more in keeping with the Constitutional authority vested in the Court, to let the people continue to work this out through the electoral process?
After all, it is working.
Tomorrow, the Court will hear arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act. While DOMA is important, Proposition 8 is the big one. The reason I say that is because Prop 8 is the question that opens the door for the Court to take the powers which have heretofore been vested in the states onto itself.
These decisions, and the possible fall-out from them, hang like the Sword of Damocles over this nation. Will the Court be wise and let the people speak, or will it be foolish and thrust this country over the culture war cliff altogether?
From the Chicago Tribune:
It was the first of two days of argument. On Wednesday, the court will consider the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples. Rulings in both cases are expected by the end of June.
The narrower DOMA case does not give the court the same opportunity to issue a broad ruling because the case relates only to a federal law that limits the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples for the purposes of federal benefits.
Only the California Proposition 8 case gave the court the option of finding a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. Polls show growing support among Americans for gay marriage.
But during the argument, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is considered a swing vote, raised concerns about the court entering “uncharted waters” on an issue that divides the states.
Kennedy even raised the prospect of the court dismissing the case, a relatively unusual move that would leave intact a federal appeals court ruling that had earlier struck down the California law, known as Proposition 8.
In a similar vein, Justice Samuel Alito also urged caution, noting that gay marriage, as a concept, is “newer than cellphones and the Internet.”
None of the justices indicated support for the Obama administration’s favored solution, which would strike down Proposition 8 and require the eight states that already recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships to allow gays and lesbians to marry. (Read more.)
I can’t find it.
Googled and looked at
The only place I can find coverage of the March for Marriage today is on the March for Marriage Facebook page. I took these photos from there to prove that, news blackout or not, it really is happening.
When you knock down a wall to let in your pet lion, how do you keep the other predators out?
Answer: You can’t.
That’s a simplified version of the logic behind the reasoning in an article from the Baptist Press. The article says that there is no legal basis for reediting marriage to include two men or two women that does not open the door for virtually any other innovation.
I agree with this, btw. The legal twisting and turning necessary to overturn almost every marriage law in this country require destroying the institution as the legal entity that we have known it for at least 2 millennia. What we put in its place after that will be wide open.
The move to legalize polygamy has been quietly racketing up for quite some time and it’s coming from the same folks who are pushing gay marriage beginning, of course, with lawsuits from the ACLU and television shows normalizing polygamy such as Big Love and Sister Wives.
The Baptist Press article says in part:
by Michael FoustWASHINGTON (BP) — Redefining marriage to include same-sex couples would jettison the rationale and logic behind prohibitions on polygamous marriages, according to several friend-of-the court briefs urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the traditional definition of marriage …… “Ultimately, there is no principled basis for recognizing a legality of same-sex marriage without simultaneously providing a basis for the legality of consensual polygamy or certain adult incestuous relationships,” reads one of the briefs, filed by the Christian legal group Liberty Counsel. “In fact, every argument for same-sex marriage is an argument for them as well.”
… A friend-of-the-court brief signed by 18 state attorneys general also briefly warns about the potential legalization of polygamy if gay marriage is legalized. The brief — which supports Prop 8 — says the traditional definition of marriage is tied to the fact that only a man and woman can reproduce, thus continuing society’s very existence. The state has an interest, the brief says, to see that children are raised, ideally, by the mother and father who beget them. A mother and father in each home is “optimal for children and society at large.”“Once the natural limits that inhere in the relationship between a man and a woman can no longer sustain the definition of marriage, the conclusion that follows is that any grouping of adults would have an equal claim to marriage,” the attorneys general brief states, arguing that marriage no longer would be about the needs of children but about the desires of adults.Liberty Counsel’s brief quotes 19th century Supreme Court cases that upheld the federal government’s ban on polygamy in Utah. Among them were Reynolds v. United States (1878) and Murphy v. Ramsey (1885). In the 1885 case, the justices affirmed the traditional definition of marriage, writing that laws are “wholesome and necessary” when they are established on the basis of the idea of the family as “consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony.” The court called traditional marriage “the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization.”
Liberty Counsel asserted that “when the traditional definition of marriage as that between one man and one woman is reversed to include other marriages, the state is left with little, if any, justification for other laws restricting marriage.” (Read the rest here.)
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
The March for Marriage in Washington DC is tomorrow. Go if you can, pray if you can’t.
For information about the march go here.
The United States Conference of Catholic bishops has issued a call for prayer and fasting for marriage. They also encourage Catholics to attend the March for Marriage tomorrow.
This video discusses what’s at stake.
Pope Francis will use prayers written by two Lebanese young people when he leads the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.
To highlight the suffering of Christians in the Middle East. The Stations will be held in the Coliseum, where early Christian martyrs suffered and died.
He will also wash the feet of youthful offenders who are incarcerated in a detention center on Holy Thursday.
I wonder how many prisoners the world over will see this and realize that Jesus is their only hope? How many Christians in the MIddle East will hear of these prayers and see that God has not abandoned them?
“Preach the Gospel,” St Francis said. ”If necessary, use words.” His namesake, our Pope Francis, seems to understand what he meant and is willing to put it into action.
I love these things our Holy Father is doing. I think they impart the true message and meaning of this Holy Week, which is that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of all people, everywhere. Disenfranchised people all over this lost and bleeding world are hungry to hear the message of salvation. I think Pope Francis knows that.
I do not care about the things a small number of our Catholic community seem to think are so important. Let me say that again: I do not care. All I want, all I ask, of any pope, priest or deacon is that they preach Christ and Him crucified.
I think we have that in Pope Francis, and that we are blessed that the merciful Lord has given us this wonderful man at this critical time in the life of the Church.
A CNA/EWTN article outlining Pope Francis’ schedule this week says in part:
Vatican City, Mar 25, 2013 / 10:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis will celebrate a full schedule this Holy Week, including washing the feet of youth detainees and leading the Stations of the Cross at the Coliseum.
His six main events are: Chrism Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica on Holy Thursday morning, followed by Mass at a youth detention center that evening, a Communion service and Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday evening and Easter Mass on Sunday morning.
Pope Francis will start the week by celebrating Chrism Mass on March 28 with cardinals and other clergy from Rome at Saint Peter’s Basilica. During the Mass, the Pope will consecrate the oils that will be used throughout the year for Baptism, Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick.
In keeping with his practice in Buenos Aires, he will celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at Casal del Marmo youth detention center, instead of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran.
When he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Bergoglio celebrated the Mass in a prison, a hospital or a hospice for the poor and marginalized people. This time around he will be with youth offenders and will wash their feet.
On Good Friday, March 29, he will preside over a Communion service and the Veneration of the Cross in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5:00 p.m. local time.
The pontiff will then go to the Coliseum to lead the Stations of the Cross at 9:15 p.m. The prayers for the 14 stations were written by two Lebanese youths with the help of Cardinal Bechara Rai.
The Vatican chose the young Arabs to highlight the suffering of Christians in the Middle East and the growing urgency of their situation.
After the procession around the Coliseum, Pope Francis will give a speech to people gathered there and impart his apostolic blessing.
On Holy Saturday, the Pope will celebrate the first of two Easter Masses when he holds the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica.
He will bless a fire in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica and enter in a procession with the Paschal candle singing the Easter Proclamation.
The Pope will then concelebrate Mass at 8:30 p.m. local time with the cardinals and impart the sacrament of Baptism, which is traditionally done in churches worldwide at this time of year.
On Sunday at 10:15 a.m. Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at St. Peter’s Square, which will finish with his “Urbi et Orbi” greeting and blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. (Read the rest here.)
Pope Francis is the Pope. If he decides to go for all the pomp his office allows ….
That’s fine with me.
Because he’s the Pope.
If on the other hand, he decides to wear sandals and walk rather than ride – or some black-shoed something in between the two extremes — that, too, would be ok with me.
Because he’s the pope.
It appears that most Catholics are like me: Over the moon about our new papa. But, you can’t please everyone. Human beings are too contrary for that to ever happen in this world. In their displeasure with our Holy Father, some of these displeased ones have fixated on one thing: The color of his shoes.
The red of the red shoes refers to the blood of the martyrs they tell us.
I’ve been thinking about this for days, largely because I don’t understand why we need to see red shoes to think about the blood of the martyrs. The blood of people dying for Christ is not an ancient artifact from a long ago history that has passed. The blood of the martyrs is soaking into the ground in a hundred places around the world as I type this.
This is the blood of the marytrs:
I have interviewed survivors of Christian persecution in Uganda and Nigeria. They are different from us. Their faith has been through the fire and this fire burned away the impurities of trivial concerns.
One of the many things about these people that impressed me is their gentleness; that, and their absolute faith in heaven. I never heard anything from them about the people who persecuted them being damned to hell. The harshest thing I heard was from an Anglican bishop who called them “ignorant.” Their focus is on Jesus. It is not on the ones who attacked them. They see past the persecution to heaven and the gift of eternal life.
More than once when I asked them how they got through it, they said two words: The cross.
They are different from you and me, these people who have been purified by the fires of persecution for the name of Jesus. I never asked any of them about red shoes. But if I had, I imagine that the response would have been incomprehension.
What Jesus Told Us
This is Holy Week.
It is also the week in which the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on Proposition 8 and DOMA. The potential is there for a major change in the way American law defines marriage. This could have far-reaching effects which none of us can predict for foresee.
What better week to issue a call to prayer than Holy Week? Tuesday is the day we have the Chrism Mass. Priests renew their vows at this mass and the holy oils which will be used throughout the upcoming year are blessed. It’s a beautiful mass and I urge anyone who can to attend.
History is coming at us so fast it’s hard to keep up. But we need to remember that this week, above all weeks, is a time for extra prayer and penance. I don’t want to make too much of it, but it seems poignant that so many points of history are converging on this one week. Proponents of traditional marriage are also staging a march in Washington, DC on Tuesday.
The cross, which defines this week and the life of the world, is not just a point of history. It is history. The cross is the fulcrum of all history. There was the world before the cross and the world after it, which is to say that there was the world without hope and the world without despair. Despair is impossible to anyone who understands the power of the cross.
We suffer in this life. We experience loss, setbacks, pain, loneliness, failure and grief. But we are never without hope because our hope is in the One who died for us on Calvary.
We need to pray this week, and not just for ourselves and our families, but for all the world that this light of Christ will shine in the darkness of the human heart everywhere.
This article, by our brothers and sisters at The Baptist Press, has details of the upcoming arguments before the Supreme Court:
NASHVILLE (BP) — On Tuesday and Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases regarding the issue of same-sex marriage. Few issues rise to this level of importance.
These two cases will do much to answer the question for how marriage is going to be viewed in the United States for the foreseeable future. On Tuesday, the court will hear arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop. 8). In this case, the court is being asked to decide the fate of Proposition 8 in California. At stake is whether or not the people of California can define marriage in their constitution as only the union of one man and one woman. In a worst-case scenario in deciding Hollingsworth, the court could rule unconstitutional the definition of marriage as only the union of one man and one woman, repudiating two and a quarter centuries of American jurisprudence in which marriage has been defined and regulated by each state, not the federal courts. Every state that has passed such laws would be affected. It would also be going against several millennia of the Judeo-Christian definition of marriage.
On Wednesday, the court will hear arguments in United States v. Windsor. That case deals with the constitutionality of section three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Windsor case creates the possibility that the court could overturn DOMA in its entirety. DOMA is important at many levels. For one, it protects states that do not support same-sex marriage from being required to recognize same-sex marriages that have been performed in states where the practice is legal. For another, it provides a standard definition of marriage for all federal programs, assuring that only heterosexual marriage is recognized across all federal government programs. It also provides protections for federal workers from being forced to violate their consciences regarding marriage. If DOMA is overturned, military chaplains will be especially vulnerable to pressures to accommodate an expanded definition of marriage in their ministries. (Read the rest here.)
Pope Francis visited the Pope Emeritus for lunch and prayer.
In this historic year of two living popes, it was heartwarming to see the embrace. Everything went the way you would expect. Pope Emeritus Benedict sat on the non-pope side of the seat in the car and then, when they went to prayer he tried to insist that Pope Francis go forward the altar and pray alone. Pope Francis refused to do this and so the two popes knelt in prayer side by side in a pew.
This is the first time in 600 years that we have had two living popes. It’s heartwarming to see them behave the way men of God should.
The Associated Press has details:
Associated Press/Osservatore Romano, HO – In this photo provided by the Vatican paper L’Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in Castel Gandolfo Saturday, March 23, 2013. Pope Francis has traveled to Castel Gandolfo to have lunch with his predecessor Benedict XVI in a historic and potentially problematic melding of the papacies that has never before confronted the Catholic Church. The Vatican said the two popes embraced on the helipad. In the chapel where they prayed together, Benedict offered Francis the traditional kneeler used by the pope. Francis refused to take it alone, saying “We’re brothers,” and the two prayed together on the same one. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, HO) less
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (AP) — The two men in white embraced and showed one another the deference owed a pope in ways that surely turnedprotocol upside down: A reigning pope telling a retired one, “We are brothers,” and insisting that they pray side-by-side during a date to discuss the future of the Catholic Church.
traveled Saturday from to this hilltown south of Rome to have lunch with his predecessor, , an historic and potentially problematic melding of the papacies that has never before confronted the church.
In a season of extraordinary moments, starting with Benedict’s resignation and climaxing with the election of the first Latin American pope, Saturday’s encounter provided perhaps the most enduring images of this papal transition as popes present and past embraced, prayed and broke bread together.
“It was a moment of great communion in the church,” said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi. “The spiritual union of these two people is truly a great gift and a promise of serenity for the church.” (Read the rest here.)
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