… I remember the passing of Bl. John Paul II. The media coverage put a glaring spotlight on the Catholic Church; a positive spot light for once. People of all religions were united in their grief for JPII’s death. The Church received a larger than normal number of new members into Her fold that year after the funeral. At my parish alone, we had people lined up at the doors to join RCIA. Curiosity drove them there because of the supportive out pouring and positive attention Catholics received.
Alas, we are robbed of that unifying effect with the resignation of Pope Benedict. Ridiculous people, like Piers Morgan, got all tin foil hat-y and peppered the media and internet with conspiracy theories and a lot of negativity. Instead of sadness many are feeling confusion, anger, and a sense of abandonment. Admittedly, myself included.
But ask yourself, what can we do with these feelings? Wallow in resentment or remain positive? And if we chose the former what good does that do? It won’t make Pope Benedict change his mind. When put in perspective the answer is obvious. For every stupid, ill-informed comment is an opportunity to evangelize and educate. Instead of focusing on the “why” of Pope Benedict’s decision – because I am not a mind reader or seer of souls – as a member of the laity, I must do the only thing that role requires; faith, prayer, and obedience. It’s my choice whether I do those acts begrudgingly or joyfully, just so long as I do them.
So for Lent I’m giving up doubt, suspicion, and perpetuating disobedience by questioning the motives of the Pope. I won’t speculate, I’ll trust and pray. Instead of endless frustration at the abounding ignorance I’ll take the opportunity to educate. If people are asking than at least they’re curious. I hope over the next month to positively feed that curiosity. And if moments of doubt and negativity seize me the least I can do is keep them to myself out of respect and admiration for the Pope and Catholic faith I deeply love. Doubt is poisonous and negativity contagious and the best remedy to preventing an outbreak is to be obedient and faithful.