Wednesday, February 27, 2013

benchmarks

First off, this blog is now officially official:  we've topped 1, 000 page views!  Father Z, Mark Shea, and Amy Wellborn had better watch out.  It's like that line in House of Pain's "Jump Around:"  "I'm comin' to getcha, I'm comin' to getcha..."

More importantly, it's "Sedevacante Eve" a day not customarily on the Church's calendar.  Yesterday, Rocco Palmo notes, almost 200, 000 jammed St Peter's Square for Benedict's last audience.  In October providence allowed me to count among the (comparably paltry)  50, 000 attending the canonization mass for St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Mariann Cope, and five other saints.  It was an amazing day--and an amazing moment.  All of which to say that yesterday's papal audience must've been mind-blowing.  And THAT will pale by comparison when the conclave announces its decision.  Yes, the Church has problems;  everybody can see them, and quite frankly we shouldn't be too surprised given its human membership.  (Doesn't anybody read St. Augustine anymore???)


Anyway, back in October, after the Mass itself Benedict took to the Popemobile for a ride through the crowd.  That's when the place really went crazy.  (An aside: when Americans--Catholic or not--opine about how the Church "needs to change" etc., I think at one level such comments are motivated by simple and sheer jealousy.  It's quite a thrill to stand amid such a huge crowd--as a believing Catholic--and cheer OUR pope.  Our guy--chosen by the Holy Spirit.  Not according to your wishes or agenda.  Our guy.)

Since I stood way back by the obelisk, I could only see Benedict's head pass through the crowd.  Instead I, along with so many others "back there," had a better view from the video screens:

What this photo--and no photo--can relay is the ear-splitting cheers rising from the crowd.  And now, a day before he leaves, it seems a fitting image of Benedict:  heading back to St. Peter's one last time.  We have been blessed these past almost eight years.

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