"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Checking in after the Pope

It's tough to keep blogging while caught in the throes of moving and job-hunting. But as things evolve, I'll get a bit more time to keep up next month. This is my brief reflection on Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the U.S. this past month.

Three things struck me: President Bush's obvious admiration for His Holiness; the prominence of the theme of pederasty in the Pope's talk; and the focus of the MSM on the shortage of priests. Each offers more than meets the eye.

Think and feel what you will about the President. His words to and about the Pope were not only true but sincerely meant—so much so that I permit myself to wonder whether Bush, like Tony Blair, will become Catholic. No doubt others have more informed things to say about that than I do.

It was evident that the Pope decided to confront the pain of the clerical sex scandal head-on rather than skirt it with platitudes. Though insufficient to heal the wounds, that was certainly necessary. I'm delighted he had the courage to see that and act accordingly. Praise be to God.

The priest shortage is news so old as to be almost outdated. Some dioceses, such as Omaha, St. Louis, and Denver, are doing quite well with recruiting and retaining seminarians. Yet others are in a world of trouble. Until the Pope's visit, the Archdiocese of New York was looking at having no entrants into next year's freshman seminary class. The vocations director nows says he's receiving a "tsunami" of inquiries from prospective candidates. Let's hope a few end up actually going to Dunwoodie.

There is no shortage of vocations. There is only, in some quarters, a shortage of willingness to recognize, encourage, and foster them. That the needed encouragement comes from this pope is a sign of the Spirit at work.
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