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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Reporting from the Vatican

Here Richard John Neuhaus of First Things reports from the Vatican.

Here is a portion from the text:

I saw him again on October 22, 1978, in his first homily as pope, admonishing and encouraging the whole of humanity to be not afraid. I saw him in Central Park, with hand on cheek in a Jack Benny gesture, mischievously complimenting the crowd's appreciation of his singing a Polish Christmas song. "And you don't even know Polish," he said. I mentioned this when I ate with the pope months later and had to explain to him who Jack Benny was. In such conversations we discussed Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and the ideas that had shaped and misshaped the century, and whether the end of history was at hand. (He thought not).

Kneeling there, I smiled through my tears. Then the time came to leave. Cardinals, bishops, heads of state, and other dignitaries were waiting their turn. And all the thoughts I wanted to think and all the prayers I wanted to pray were distilled in a half-sobbed, half-whispered, "Thank you, Holy Father."

Walking out of the basilica into the sunlight, a shaken friend said, "That wasn't him, he is isn't there." No, I said, he is there. These are the remains, what is left behind of a life such as we are not likely to see again, waiting with all of us the resurrection of the dead, the final vindication of the hope he proclaimed.

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

Societas Sanctae Crucis

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