Liturgical conversations have resurfaced with a vengeance over the past few days. Just a few points there: A few days ago, a church historian was quoted as saying, “You have to remember that Benedict was a clotheshorse.” What that expert fails to recognize was that Benedict’s attention to papal garb was not about vanity – I mean – really. It was about what he was always about: history And not history as a museum, out of an antiquarian interest, but as a link from the present to the past. The red shoes – so maligned even by Catholics who should know better – are a symbol of blood. Blood , people. The blood of the martyrs and the blood of Christ on which His vicar stands, and through him, all of us. Popes – yes, even John XXIII and Paul VI – wore them until John Paul II stopped. Then Benedict reinstated them. That is, he humbled himself before history and symbol and put the darn things on.Share
Why did he reinstate them? Because he was vain, monarchical and arrogant? Because he was out of touch with the poor? Because he was, in the terms of the esteemed professor, a “clotheshorse?” Because they look good? I doubt it, because, you know, they don’t, not really. Maybe – just maybe – because he believes was they symbolize? That his office is rooted in the blood of the martyrs, especially Peter? And that it is good for the Pope in the 21st century to maintain this link to and through other Popes who have done the same thing, to Peter, and then to Christ?
For me, it comes down to this. Both of these Popes were and are pastors. Both have given their lives for us, for Christ. We can – and should be open to being – taught by both. All I’m saying is that – as Pope Francis himself has acknowledged in his own words these past few days – Pope Benedict was all about Christ. He spent 8 years as your Pope, “proposing Jesus Christ” through his words and actions – even his red shoes. If Pope Francis’ actions so far preach Christ more clearly to you then so be it. Christ is who is important, and we are a Church of great diversity for a reason. But what has been so bizarre and even saddening over the past few days is a tone and implication that Benedict was somehow about something else besides Jesus Christ. (Read entire post.)