Friday, July 13, 2007

Pope Benedict being his old self again

According to some people in recent days, Pope Benedict XVI is being controversial by just being himself. Thing is, nothing he said in his "controversial" statements aren't really controversial once you understand the context of what he said.

First, his statement to allow the pre-Vatican II Latin style Mass to be reinstated. The only ones REALLY upset by this are those of a more left-wing bent - the very group often promoting diversity and multiculturalism and open-mindedness and such. Well, isn't there room in their big ol' tent for those who prefer the Latin, aka the Tridentine, Mass?

Vatican II (V2 from here on) actually didn't demand that the Latin Mass be done away with and replaced with the current style (sometimes called 'Novus Ordo', or 'New Order') that is celebrated today. The reason we have the Novus Ordo Mass (NO from here on) is because some of the more enlightened and open-minded types took it upon themselves to "revamp and update" the Mass. Well, they kinda got carried away. Some of the more extreme examples of their efforts were "clown and puppet" Masses. Ugh. I'm glad that I never saw that.

The only thing that I have against the Latin Mass is that it's not participatory. You just show up and watch as the clergy does everything. I will admit here, though, that my preference could be because the NO Mass is what I grew up with. BUT, at the same time, the Latin Mass has a beauty all its own, and I can very easily see why many Catholics who remember it would want it back. The one thing not brought up about these news stories about Benedict allowing the Latin Mass to be celebrated again is that he didn't do away with the NO Mass in the process; he's just making it easier for the Latin Mass to be celebrated if enough of a given parish's congregation wants it. It used to be that the local bishop had to give permission for a Latin Mass to be celebrated, but now it can be done at the parish level. Again, if you're open-minded and tolerant and such, you should have no objections to this.

The second "controversial" statement that Pope Benedict made is one that also needs not ruffle any feathers if anyone thinks it through enough (I know... that's a lot to ask!). Benedict said, in essence, that the Catholic Church is the one true church. On the surface, yes, I can see why it would ruffle feathers, but - BUT - doesn't every faith system say as much? In other words, if you're Baptist, isn't it because you believe the Baptist way to be 'the one true way'? If you're Jewish, isn't it because you believe it to be 'the one true way'? Heck, even if you're atheist, isn't that because you believe it to be 'the one true way'?

Why do believers join the faith system that they're in? Isn't it because they believe that faith system to be the one with the answers? So why not the pope? Actually, because of the pope's prominent role as head of the Catholic Church, why should anyone be surprised that he feels that the Catholic Church is the one true church? Write the following on your forehead:

Pope Benedict wouldn't be doing his job if he felt that some other faith system was better than his!!

By the way, if you do write the above on your forehead, please take a picture of yourself and send it to me, and I'll post it here. I'd like to see if anyone does it.

So in summary, now you should see why these "controversies" are actually not controversies at all. They are only news because many people in the media have an axe to grind with the Catholic Church, so they look for any excuse to invent controversies that aren't there. Fortunately, you good folks have me to sort it all out for you. :-)

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