Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Can't Shake that Fangirl Feeling

The pope came to America. Three years ago, upon the death of John Paul II, I wasn't overly sure what to make of Pope Benedict XVI. I had heard so little about him. I was quite apprehensive about his election as Pope. I feared he'd want to turn back the clock and take us back to a pre-Vatican II world, a world I know nothing about. So of course I worried and wondered what would happen. I still do, but I feel much more secure with my church right now because of Pope Benedict XVI. While we only had a quick glimpse of the man, I feel optimistic and hopeful. And quite frankly, I liked him. My cynical and cold heart truly warmed to him.

Like the well-seasoned and trained fangirl I am, I followed the coverage wherever I could get it, mostly on EWTN and online. Apparently FOX news covered much of his visit, but I have it deleted from my channel line up so I didn't go there. I just couldn't, ;-).

However, I read blogs and checked out various websites. I really enjoyed the New York Times Coverage of the visit. I really felt like this post by Father Martin said a lot that I wish I could say about my feelings on the pope. As I said, I was apprehensive and quite unsure if I'd like this pope, but it was interesting to see that a priest also felt a bit wary of his election. Of course, we're coming from two very different perspectives and places in our lives as I'm just a lay person and am definitely not at all as well versed on the church as a Jesuit priest. However, we probably have similar ideologies and concerns, and so naturally, our concerns are/were justified. Still, I want to learn more about this man who is Pope. I think that's what I'm trying to do.

But even more beyond that, I truly liked this man. He seemed so humble, so genuine. I've seen a lot of criticisms of the visit yet again, he didn't come as a political leader, but as the successor of Peter, the head of the world's largest Christian Church. He took the first steps to healing many old and lingering wounds.

Of course things weren't resolved, but it was a start. I hope that he continues to work with the abuse victims, I'd like to hope one day the wrongs will be corrected and that those responsible will be taken to task for what they did--especially the bishops who covered it up. I hope one day when people think of the Church, they don't automatically think "sex abuse". It's hideous, it's shameful and was so mishandled. I'm very pleased that he addressed the issue, that he met with those victims and recognized just how awful it was and is.

I would hope that relations with the Jewish people continue to grow and strengthen. I hope he can work an understanding between Catholic Christians and Muslims. I hope that he can touch the whole world in some way as well, but mostly I hope he continues to lead and inspire his Catholic people.

I don't think the pope's visit to this country was supposed to be a political visit. I am curious to know what he and the president talked about privately. He came to address Catholic America and that's what he did. Still, we are a multicultural people, of different faiths and no faiths what so ever and quite frankly many people didn't care about his visit. Still, it was an important visit and while many people criticized and complained, it made me proud to be Catholic.

I am just scratching the surface and my thoughts are probably jumbled and simplistic, but I am just trying to work them out.

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