A Blessed Second Sunday of Advent to all, and welcome to Sunday Snippets – A Catholic Carnival, a weekly convocation of bloggers in union with the Church and the Successor of Peter (a.k.a. the Pope) who share their work from the past week at the main gathering (i.e., the Big Top) hereat This That and the Other Thing, home of our hostess RAnn.
Speaking of Popes, we have had a very unusual situation the last few years, unprecedented in modern times - we have two men living who have borne the title and filled the office of Pope: Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict. No Pope had resigned for centuries before Benedict XVI, mostly to avoid destabilizing the Church. A retired Pope could undermine the authority of the reigning Pope, or become the focal point, even if he didn’t wish it, of a schismatic movement. While he papacy doesn’t wield the sort of secular influence it did in the Middle Ages, and Popes are no longer in the habit of imprisoning rivals, the danger still remains of a former Pope complicating the work of his successor, and confusing the faithful.
I was acutely aware of this tricky situation this past week: I had two items featuring the recently retired Pontiff that were ready to post, but I was a little apprehensive about seeming to be disloyal to Pope Francis, or to be offering up an underhanded criticism by paying too much attention to his predecessor. I chose in the end to publish both items, but I assure you that they ae not intended to cast any sort of negative light on our current Vicar. The fact is, from his time as Pope, before that as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and even before that as a leading theologian, Joseph Ratzinger has left a substantial and important body of work, which we’ll be talking about for some time to come.
Pope Emeritus Benedict himself understands quite well the delicate situation he brought about when he stepped down from the Papacy. He has stayed out of the way, making very few public appearances and even fewer statements. That’s why apologist Jimmy Akin [article here] is so intrigued by the Pope Emeritus (sort of) publicly countering Cardinal Kasper’s most recent attempt to change the Church’s ancient practice of withholding Communion from divorced and remarried Catholics. Cardinal Kasper has floated this same proposal several times over the last few decades, but every time he runs up against the same obstacle: Joseph Ratzinger. This time, Akin surmises, Kasper thought he could take advantage of his long-time adversary’s public reticence, this time boldly citing an essay from 1972 in which a much younger Father Ratzinger seemed to be endorsing Kasper’s current view. Ratzinger rejected that view decades ago, however, and now a republication of his earlier works has afforded an opportunity to subtly, but clearly, counter Kasper’s fancy footwork. Read Jimmy Akin’s article to get the full story.
But perhaps you were wondering when I’d get to the snippets? Of course. Here is what was happening at Principium et Finis over the First Week of Advent:
Monday – A follow-up to last week’s post; this composer, in my view, truly deserves to be heard more often: “ Antonio Salieri – Requiem in C Minor: ‘Agnus Dei’” [here]
Tuesday – Sure we love fetuses, but other than that we Pro-Lifers are a hard-hearted lot, are we not? “Abortion Myth #11” [here]
Thursday – The first Ratzinger post of the week, featuring a document issued by the CDF when he was its head honcho: “On Being A Christian In Public Life” [here]
Friday – Jolly Old St. Nick was not a one-dimensional Saint: “St. Nicholas: Lover, or Fighter?” [here]
Saturday – Here Joseph Ratzinger appears as Pope Benedict XVI, along with Russell Moore of Southern Baptist Conference: “What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Ecumenism?”[here]