Against which the gates of hell shall not prevail.
You can’t make everybody happy.
It’s a rule.
I’m not sure where this rule is codified. Maybe in the back pages of the textbook for the school of hard knocks.
But it’s true. You can not make everybody happy. So, in my humble opinion, you should not try. It appears that Pope Francis is of a similar opinion, at least about the not trying part.
He has, from the moment when the announcement “Habemus Papem!” sounded and he walked out onto that balcony, been indisputably and absolutely himself.
That is an incredible accomplishment for someone who sits on a throne that is placed above the grave of Peter. Every move the Pope makes, from the things he wears, to the gestures he makes, are supposedly choreographed by centuries of other Popes who did it this way first. However, Pope Francis seems to have understood from the beginning just how much power the Papacy holds, including and especially the power to communicate by word and action.
He knew that he didn’t have to do these things. He could choose. And chose he has.
By the choices he’s made, he has focused on a Papacy of the Word, accompanied by a visual simplicity that symbolizes his message of concern for the least of these. This is a heartfelt pain for those who are what education professionals call “visual learners.” In Catholicism, we tend to call them “traditionalists.” But I think they are, for the most part, simply visual learners gone to Church.
These people groove on the same lace that I think looks like my great-grandmother’s doilies. They feel lifted up to heaven by the incense that sets off my asthma and raises worries of fire hazards. They love the sound of Latin and find awe and grandeur in pre-Vatican II liturgy, all of which I see as unnecessary barriers between the people and Jesus.
Some folk like pcs; some folk like macs. We are individuals who, due to His superior democracy, can come to God through whatever path opens in front of us. The same God who honors one person’s incense and Gregorian chant, will rock along with another person’s rap. What He wants is our love and obedience. How we get there is all good to Him.
There is neither Greek nor Jew, neither slave nor free, male nor female. For you all are one in Christ Jesus.
There is also neither lace nor non-lace, neither red shoe nor black shoe, neither miter nor non-miter. For we are all Catholic, united under the one Vicar of Christ, who is our Holy Father, Pope Francis.
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.)
Henry VIII had Will Sommers, the court jester, who got away with saying things to Henry that would have made anyone else who said them “shorter by a head.”
In present-day America, we have jesters from every point on the political compass vying for our laughs. Unfortunately, a good number of these people are soooo political and their humor is soooo mean that it’s only funny in a nasty, gotcha sort of way. The power of good humor is its pretense-stripping honesty. But a lot of today’s politically-motivated humor is as dishonest as most campaign ads.
Humor can show us truths that are right in front of us but that we don’t see, probably because they are right in front of us. If it’s well done, it can do this in a way that illuminates and edifies. If it’s powered by malice, it can simply hurt.
Every so often a bit of humor comes along that illuminates a current reality and gives us a laugh along with it. That’s satire, and satire is what The Onion dishes up in its latest offering on the Holy Father, titled “Pope To Identify With Catholic Youth By Giving Up On Catholicism.”
The attitudes this bit of spoofery points out regularly show up in Public Catholic’s comboxes. That may be why I found it so funny. First Things put this Onion piece on their site, and I’m going to link to it here:
And, oh yes Bill S, this one’s for you.
Click here throughout the Year of Faith, as the Catholic Channel at Patheos.com invites Catholics of every age and stripe to share what they are gleaning and carrying away from this gift of timely focus.