Sunday, April 20, 2008

REFLECTION OF POPE'S VISIT


This is so beautiful I don't want to ruin it with words. Give this a listen and be inspired. Pope Benedict is clearly moved by the performance as am I. God sometimes reveals his presence to us.

I loved the fact that the Pope was able to reach so many people. When he was elected so many of us thought that he was a transitional pope. In other words, he would be around for a little while until someone more consequential would be elected. What Ratzinger did this week was energize the church. He energized the people including me and he was a force for peace and love during his visit. I would love to think that what the Holy Father said verified the religiosity of America. But that probably isn't the case.

America is a religious country. Over 90% of Americans call themselves Christians. The visit of the Pope tapped into that religiosity. All you had to do was watch his visit on TV and you were overwhelmed by the love you saw in the faithful. I love the church, but I was turned off by the sex scandals. I tried to get by it, but I couldn't. I fell away from my church. Then Benedict came to America. My mother told me that he was a German and he would understand the oppression of faith. Both my great-grandparents came to America to escape religious oppression. My great-grandmother came from Koblenz in 1885 and my great-grandfather came from Saxony in 1887. Both were Catholics in a country of a shrinking Catholic population. Martin Luther after all, was a German and a Catholic and he launched the Protestant Reformation.

The history of America is religious. Some of the first Europeans to emigrate to America came for religious freedom. Maryland was a colony started by Lord Baltimore for Catholics fleeing the religious persecution of 17th Century England. While the Puritans were not Catholics, they did flee Europe for religious freedom. They were Separatists who felt that reforming the Church of England was not possible requiring them to flee the persecution. America in its earliest history was that of a religious refuge against persecution. That is a proud history. Sadly, that proud history is fading.

Despite all this religious history, America is fast becoming an irreligious country. The secular progressives are gaining the upper hand against those of us who call ourselves religious. The beauty of America lies in the fact that while we are a religious people, we are not an intolerant people. Starting with the Act of Toleration of 1649 and moving forward, we have accepted many ways of worshipping.

Today, we are now confronted with the repression and denigration of religion, especially Christian. I cannot defend the excesses of Western European peoples. I can, however, defend the great effects on the societies of the world brought about by them. Democracy, religious freedom, societal mobility, and liberal education, that includes the concept of a social contract and natural rights, are but a few of the European ideals that have shaped our society.

These are a few of the thoughts I have as I watch Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, speak and charm thousands of Catholics, me included. He has made me proud of my heritage, and more importantly my religion.

I miss him already and await his return.

11 comments:

nunoftheabove said...

Even as a non-Catholic, I was in awe of this man. He seems to be so blissful. I admired John Paul II for his many talents, but I also admire Benedict for his adherence to traditional values despite the "changes in time."

I felt a sense of relief, though, when he was on his way safely. The temptation to a terrorist to due harm to the most visible of Christian leaders must have been enormous.

nun

Law and Order Teacher said...

Nun,
Thanks for the visit. I was thrilled by Benedict's visit and his performance. He did well and I think most importantly he apologized for the priest sex abuse scandal, something no one had done up till now. I think he went a long way toward healing some terrible wounds.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Great post. (and thanks for the visit)

I think that he's proven beyond a doubt that he is going to be a very very capable leader of your church. The crowning moment for me was his meeting with the sex abuse victims privately while he was here.

Tapline said...

L&O teach, I was impressed by the first speech he made in the U.S.. He is a very capable Pope. Although I am not a Catholic. His message was to all believers. We are historically, a Judeo-Christian Nation. We are unique in that we accept anyone's religion, that is freedom of Religion, not freedom from religion. No matter what the Supreme Court of this land rules. We are not a nation without God, Even as some go along with rulings of this supreme body. That is separation of church from the state as contained in some, I believe Jeffersonian Letters, Not however in our Constitution, which our Supreme Court is suppose to interpret. If they had we sone so, wouldn't be in the mess we are in now..Especially with the Democratic party and left leaning peoples. We are a nation under God. Although, people look at our society today and say we are all Christians. That certainly is not the case either today or in the past. We are more accepting of other faiths now that we have been in the past. I can remember when we would not consider marrying outside ones faith.....God forbid that a protestant should marry a Catholic. They didn't even have a bible. They read a little pamphlet...(a Mistle)..Only the priest could interpret the bible not lay people.... They did have one, but it wasn't like ours...Ours was the King James version.....That Catholic one had many books added. that we didn't have. At one time, I think we had them, but they were taken out, for some reason. Any religion outside the norm, I"m talking Baptist, or Methodist, or presbyterian was looked on with skepticism. Many were called cults....Each thought their's was the only way to heaven. We didn't even think of the A-rabs. They were the ones that cut of head, hands, ears and tongues. (they haven't changed much).That asside. Point I was making is today we are more accepting of differences, to the extreme. Anything goes...If it feels good do it. Sorry,,,,,I ramble....stay well...

Don, American said...

I haven't been to church for 50 years, but I love the Pope, and I thank you for your kind words about him. Er ist ein Mensch.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Vegas,
Thanks for the visit. I agree the assumption of guilt and then asking for forgiveness is a great step in the right direction.

Tap,
Thanks for the visit. Your statements about religion are well-taken. As an altar boy I was glad that we didn't have memorize a lot of bible passages. But learning Latin was a real struggle. It is time the church accepts resposibility for its wrongs and moves on. The enemy is the group that wants Christians to muzzled. Your point that the First Amendment guarantees freedom of not from religion.

Don,
Thanks for the visit. He is an admirable man and I am proud he is my pope. Es ist ein mensch, sehr gut!

Donald Douglas said...

Nice posting.

I wrote about the Pope's comments rejecting moral relativism.

Keep it up!

Law and Order Teacher said...

Your posting about moral relativism is what inspired my post. Benedict put moral relativism in perspective for all of us. Moral relativism is bankrupt by its very nature. Each point of view should stand on its own. Trying to legitimize one point of view by placing it next to another is wrong.

Fake said...

Religious freedom as a motivation for early American immigration is stretching it a bit. People came to America so THEY could be the ones who were in charge of the lack of religious freedom, but none of them wanted freedom.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Fake,
Well that's certainly a cynical view. The separatist Puritans relocated once to escape religious persecution (Leiden)and once to maintain their culture and religious views (America). I think you are stretching it a bit by saying no one wanted freedom. To state that the only motivation was to be the dominate religious is a misreading of their motivation. I refer you to primary sources from the separatists. Thank you for your visit.

Donalbain said...

If they were in favour of religious freedom, why would they prosecute people who didnt attend church on a Sunday?