Volume 3 - Issue 4  

 

 

March 19, 2013

 
 
The Beginning of a Humble Migrant's Papacy
 
I have had the privilege to come on pilgrimage to Rome this week for the Conclave.

Wednesday night, as I came out of a memorable meeting with Thai Cardinal Michai, with whom I worked many years ago during the Cambodian Refugee Crisis, I found people coming in droves to Piazza San Pietro. They were coming in keen expectation to check out the color of the smoke that was due to be emitted from the Sistine Chapel stove pipe at any minute. All of the previous puffs had been black.

It was raining lightly, and the piazza seemed a sea of umbrellas.

I shared a general feeling that the time was propitious for the conclusion of the Conclave.

After about 15 minutes of watching the distant stove pipe, there was a wave of breaking voices announcing that their individual hopes had been realized: “E’ bianco!!” (“It’s white!”).

For the first time in 600 years we now had two popes–one emeritus,
and one about whom we were to immediately learn both his name and his spiritual profile, and then to “meet him” as he assumed his unique place on the world stage.

The nationalities represented amongst the Saint Peter’s pilgrims gave witness that the apostles had faithfully fulfilled the Master’s mandate to leave their home and bring the Good News to all nations.

Under the umbrellas one could hear the question being posed from one friend to another: “So, who do you think it is? Scola, Ouellet, Scherer?” ...

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Good Steward Newsletter – March 2013
Pope Benedict XVI: A Good Steward of the Good News
 

I first encountered Joseph Ratzinger in 1974 when I was a graduate student at Saint Meinrad School of Theology in Southern Indiana. I was preparing to write my master’s thesis in systematic theology and I was reading some really “heavy” theologians. When I first began reading Introduction to Christianity, I discovered that Ratzinger was an exception. Unlike the others I was reading, he was not only profound and insightful; his book was well written (even in translation from the original German) and inspirational, and his teaching was clear as crystal.

This first encounter with Joseph Ratzinger changed me. It taught me that serious reflection on God’s Word does not have to be obscure or remote  ...

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The Cry of the Poor
 
“The Lord hears the cry of the poor; blessed be the Lord” is a response to Psalm 34 as used in the Mass readings often enough that we all recognize the words. We say or sing those words and the Lord certainly hears the cry of the poor, but do we really hear that cry and
what do we as individuals or collectively do about it? For decades now the United Nations, the foreign aid arms of the industrialized country governments, and the multilateral development banks have all been pouring aid and loans into the least developed countries and the result is startling. While one can find a few successes, even more poverty has been the definitive answer in these least developed countries, especially in many countries of Africa. There are now many secular publications detailing this conundrum and pointing the fingers in many directions. The Church, knowing its responsibility, has historically operated safety net organizations to respond where and when needed primarily to natural and other disasters, but the poor we seem to always have with us. Pope Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate points to the way of the full development of each human individual that can break the poverty cycle, and he is clear that it is not aid based. Aid and charity are not the same; aid can and too many times does carry with it an agenda such as population control, or as we see today affronts to God’s natural law. Charity, being love of God and love of neighbor based, is something good and needed, but what is that step beyond charity that helps people lift themselves out of poverty ...

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