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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Habemus Papam!!!!

    Let the Catholic world rejoice! We have a new pope! The first Latin American, the first "Francis", and the first Jesuit, for that matter. For devotees of St. Edmund Campion like me, having a Jesuit in the Chair of Peter is a source of pride and pleasure. The order has certainly come a long way, from far-flung missionary activities, to brutal persecutions, to official disbandment, to liberal infiltration, and now......the Papal Apartments!

     Despite all the excitement, I still haven't stopped missing Papa Benedetto and am still trying to adapt to the idea that he has "retired" for good. Nobody can really "take his place" in a factory-like way. This has been a very sudden transition, and a very unusual one at that. After all, we haven't had a pope resign in 600 years! This modern-day repeat of history will take some time to get used to.

     Nor can we completely forget the pre-Conclave days that unearthed painful revelations. For British Catholics (and many Catholics and Christians in general), the scandal involving Cardinal Keith O'Brien was a bitter pill to swallow. It effectively prevented the UK from being represented at the Conclave to elect a new pope, and it brought a gnawing sense of disillusionment. There was already a feeling of unsteadiness settling in when Pope Benedict, the first pope to make an official visit to the UK, retired. But the cardinal's tragic downfall just made things worse.

    Nonetheless, we now have great cause to have hope for the future and give thanks to the Lord. I can tell from listening to "EWTN" and "The Catholic Channel" that this historic happening in Church history is bringing a sense of freshness and vigor to the faithful. I believe the Latin American Community the world over will positively effected. (Here's to the upcoming World Youth Day in Rio de Jeneiro!) Pope Francis seems to be a very humble man, and his actions are those of a servant of the people. He is known for having a deep sense of compassion towards the poor. Also, he seems to be orthodox in his beliefs, and has a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin. I believe these are some very good intro notes on the character of the man who is now Christ's Vicar on Earth.

    To commemorate this great event and affirm our loyalty to and affection for our new Papa Francesco, the prolific Mack of Texas has written this touching tribute in honor of God's providential calling of great men.

Is This Seat Saved?

As Abraham was called to leave his home,
To serve one God in haunted emptiness
Where errant spirits misguided pilgrims’ steps
Into those thickets that entangled lost souls


As Brother Francis, barefoot in the wild,
With rock and prayer rebuilt long-fallen shrines
When they had crumbled into weed-choked ruins
Where wolves gnawed on the bones of civilization


An old man riding in a city bus,
Wearing spectacles and a cheap wristwatch,
Has come to see us through the wilderness,
And enkindle for us the Easter fire.

P.S. On another happy note, one of our readers from London, Wyndysascha, is converting to Catholicism this Easter! Please keep him, and all those coming into the Church this year, in your special prayers.

"Francesco! Francesco!"


  1. God bless Wyndysascha -- he is making his profession of Faith in an unsafe time. The poisons of pursuivants and propagandists still separate many in England from England's true and ancient Faith.

  2. God bless Pope Francis!

    And Emeritus Pope Benedict!

    I too will miss Pope Benedict, Pearl. I was (am) very fond of him. He was "my Pope", insofar as it was during his reign when I realised my faith and, much later, married. I admired many of his initiatives, especially Summorum Pontificum, and even got to see him twice - once in Glasgow, once in the Vatican.

    I am impressed with the credentials of Pope Francis, truly he is a man of the people and understands them. I wish him a successful pontificate and pray he has the strength and vigour to renew the Church.

    Viva il Papa!

  3. The poem from Mack of Texas is good, and as a convert of seven Easters ago, I am very happy to hear about this Wyndysascha fellow! On St. Francis of Assisi, I much recommend the poem "Francis d'Assisi" by Gary Metras, which I had the pleasure to discover some months back.

  4. I too am really excited about our new pope! Pope Benedict will be sorely missed (I'm reading his Jesus of Nazareth books right now--so enlightening!) but I am sure that Pope Francis will prove a wonderful successor to the chair of Peter.
    I will definitely pray for Wyndysascha! that is really great that he is coming into our Church, may he never regret the decision!

  5. Hi Pearl,

    Firstly, a factual correction. Pope Benedict XVI was not the first pope to pay an official visit to the UK. Pope John Paul II visited in 1982.

    Secondly, whilst I have never been a great fan of Pope Benedict, I do think he deserves credit rather than criticism for resigning. As I wrote on my own blog, 'I fully respect and admire his stated reasons for resigning. He has now set a precedent for his future successors by indicating that they are not required to stay in office until they die!'

    Thirdly, like you, I very much welcome the election of Pope Francis I. From what I have read & seen in the past few days, he seems to be a very godly & humble man & one who practices what he preaches. 'Actions speak louder than words' & his actions so far, have been very positive.

    However, it does appear that he is no great fan of the Ordinariate created by Pope Benedict for disaffected Anglicans - the ones who want to be more Roman Catholic than the Pope :-) See this press release

  6. Hi, everyone!

    @Mack: Indeed, I think Wyndysascha is quite brave to do what he is doing. The climate in England seems to be extremely secular and hostile to religion in general. But we can have hope in St. John Vianney's prophecy that "Our Lady's Dowry" will come back into the fold someday.

    @GWright: Like you, I feel like Pope Benedict was the first pope that I had a real personal attatchment to. Plus, I feel that he did some wonderful things for both of our countries - the two countries I love best! But as you say, Pope Francis really seems like a decent chap, and I'm happy to have him for our new Papa!

    @Crusader: Happy 7th anniversary of being Catholic! What confirmation name did you take? I will look up the St. Francis book you mention when I get the chance! Have you ever read the one written by G. K. Chesterton?

    To be continued.....

  7. Continued....

    @Carolyn:I too am reading "Jesus of Nazareth" by Pope Benedict.....and have been reading it, a little at a time, for about two years! Hey, well, I'll finish it eventually, even if my reading time outlasted his pontificate! ;-)

    @chaplain c.z.: I know I'm not above getting the two Papal visits confused...(I'm sure you remember the little "who-kissed-the-tarmac?" misunderstanding I had back with the SNP advocates...) But as far as I'm aware, Pope John Paul II's visit to the UK was not an official state visit. Hence, Pope Benedict got to do the honors on that one ;-)

    I agree that Pope Benedict's decision to retire should not be looked down upon, but rather respected and admired. However, we all need a little time to adapt to the rather sudden change, and I for one will miss him.

    Indeed, Pope Francis seems like quite a holy and personable man. His actions so far really have been inspiring and touching...although his security guards must be pulling their hair out watching him be so casual in his methods of mingling with people! ;-)

    A couple points regarding the present pope's comment about the Ordinariate:

    1. He made the comment when he was a bishop and the Ordinariate was first suggested. It cannot be seen as reflecting future papal policy, especially in the light of other statements assuring the stability of the Ordinariate bodies made by Vatican officials.

    2. The comment was a personal one, and apparently Anglican Bishop Venables, to whom the comment was made, never intended for it to be published. It appeared on the Anglican Communion site without his consent.

    3. I don't believe the Ordinarite members are trying to be "Roman" Catholic at all....they simply would like to rejoin with the ancient Church which they have come to believe holds the fullness of the faith, while still being able to keep some of their Anglican structure and traditions. It was their decision; no one coerced them, but only gave them the means to make the transition easier.

    God Bless,

  8. Not sure if this is relevant, but...I know a woman who goes to the Anglican Ordinate some Sundays, and she says it's awesome. Now my curosity is piqued, and I may visit one someday.

  9. I'm still sad about losing Pope Benedict, and I'll always miss him. He is such a wonderful, holy man, and his resgination was an act of great humility. I was only eleven when he was elected, so he holds a special place in my heart as the first pope I can truly remember, the pope of my teenage years.

    However, I'm also excited over the election of Pope Francis! It was such a thrill to watch the magnificent event unfold live on TV right before my very eyes. I'll never forget that awe-inspiring moment when, along with the rest of the world, I saw him step out on that balcony. My mind is still struggling to absorb it all! Also, I was deeply moved when he bowed his head and asked the crowd to pray for him - how beautiful!

    I have the utmost confidence that the Holy Spirit has chosen the right man and that the Church is securely in good hands. It's apostolic succession in action - we can trace the line of popes back from Pope Francis to St. Peter himself. I couldn't be more proud to be a Catholic!

    - Ellen

  10. @Emerald: Do you have an Ordinariate church nearby? I'd simply love to attend some of their masses! They say they are often more traditional than Latin-Rite Catholics have become in their liturgy/traditions.

    By the way, just to clarify, when I said I didn't think the Ordinariate members wanted to be "Roman" Catholic at all, I meant that I believe they are considered to be part of a different rite in union with the Holy See. Plus, I do have issues with the term "Roman" being applied to all Catholics, despite their rite, because of it's derogitory origin during the English Protestant Revolt.

    @Ellen: Indeed, Benedict was the Pope of my childhood as well, and he will always be missed. That's so neat that you got to watch Pope Francis step onto the balcony, though! I only learned by my mom hearing a radio report after the fact. However, we did hear The Catholic Channel do a replay of the event - several times! I agree this a proud time for Catholics, to have such a humble and holy new pope :-)


  11. hehe I watched it on the TV too while I was eating my dinner. My little sister, Skye, was jumping up and down with excitement saying, 'I want to see the Pope! Where is he? When's he coming out?' lol

    Rae-Rae :)

  12. I can't say much about Pope Francis that you, Pearl, and your commenters haven't said already, but I was also thrilled to see Pope Francis step onto the balcony, and felt so blessed to be a Catholic! In a way, it sort of made up for the disappointing political elections of November - knowing that here's one election that turned out exactly the way God wanted it to! : )

    I was especially looking forward to hearing those sacred words, "Habemus Papam," because I've remembered those for eight years...

    I actually remember Pope John Paul II's death and Pope Benedict's election quite well, which is somewhat surprising considering I was only ten at the time and the word "pope" was barely even in my vocabulary. But I think it stuck in my memory as my first brush with death. Pope John Paul died not long before my eleventh birthday. At the time, my Grandpa was in the hospital. I remember thinking that their conditions seemed similar. Only two months later, Grandpa died and death became a real thing for me.

    I remember feeling upset about the Pope's death even though I didn't quite understand what was happening. My Dad gave me a Pope John Paul II medal he had acquired on a pilgrimage to Rome years ago - I still have it. And Pope Benedict's balcony appearance is faintly thought firmly cemented into my memory. I must have haunted the television - my old journal contains everything from a brief biography of Pope John Paul II to several excited pages repeating random details about Pope Benedict - along with a generous supply of "Obemus Poppem!" ejaculations. Gotta love an eleven-year-old's spelling! : )

    - Katherine

  13. P.S. Welcome to the Church, Wyndysascha!

    - Katherine

  14. I've been very excited by Pope Francis, and the example he's trying to set for us all. I really hope it can penetrate the attitude many have of, "I'm a Catholic, but I don't have to care for the poor", or, "I'm a Catholic, but I don't have to adhere to the Church's teachings on some things", or, "I'm a Catholic, but..."

    And Thank You to Pearl and everyone for your well-wishes and prayers! The Vigil is tonight and, God-willing, this time tomorrow I'll be a Catholic too!