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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Welcome, Pope Benedict XVI!

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI, and the Church rejoices in the providence of Christ, now and when it all began with St. Peter (Cephas, not Lithoi), the first rock upon which the Church was built. It has been 2,000 years since then and we have had good and bad popes, but they have been pretty darn good over the last century. As the great Pope John Paul II said in Crossing the Threshold of Hope, "Be not afraid" to refer to the Pope, to call him the Holy Father. The papacy and his fatherhood were not devised by man but by Christ. We have no fear to call our fathers "Dad" (or, as my children call me, "Dada"). St. Paul had no fear to refer to himself as the spiritual father of St. Timothy and others. Fatherhood is of God just as family and marriage are of God. Christ will continue to reign and this happens through and despite the papacy. Habemus papam! We have a pope! And if some now quake or shake their heads (or fists), let them know this: you can always pray. Whatever your take on our new Pope is, a humble, sincere prayer to God our Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, can't go wrong. Me, I'll be praying, too. Right now I am thanking God for a speedy election, an orthodox theologian as my new pope, and (really) a defensive stance by the liberals and secularists among us. As Oswald Sobrino says, "they need to be disturbed." The Church and every single Christian has got to be in the world but not of the world. They are to be salt of the earth, so they're supposed to be radical, to challenge the world with Christ and the Gospel. Pope Benedict XVI is a challenging figure for the non-Christian world right now, and that's a good thing because the world isn't doing so well. Further reading about the election of the new successor of St. Peter: Thanks be to God!

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