Wednesday, April 20, 2005

U.S. cardinals talk about Benedict

It was very interesting to read the comments made recently by the American cardinals about the newly-elected Pope Benedict. The Catholic News Service reported some of the comments made by the cardinals in various news conferences in Rome.

"This pontificate is totally new, the pope has chosen a new name, but at the same time he has indicated a real desire to be in continuity," says Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia. Plus, he says Benedict is "interested" in collegiality--on how local bishops can share responsibility with the pope and the Curia in governing the Church. That is so good to hear as this is for me a clear way for the Church to proceed in the future. The reality of globalization and the Church's diversity is such that the task of governing the Church should not be the exclusive burden of just one man. Rather, a collegial collaboration among bishops in union with the bishop of Rome is a more realistic model.

Cardinal Maida of Detroit said the new pope will be "his own man" and "a spiritual guide" whom God will use as an "instrument of grace." "God has picked the most unusual people and put them in places of authority. Even with (the pope's) gifts, talents and shortcomings...[ultimately] it will be the grace of God" that leads the church, Cardinal Maida said.

"He's a very loving, lovely person, very unassuming, and shortly you will see this," says Cardinal Egan of New York. He adds that "I think he'll play very well as soon as people get to know him. You need to be slow in making judgments. Sometimes it's good to watch for a while and see if what you've heard is true."

Cardinal Mahoney seems to agree, saying that we shouldn't make judgments about him based on "labels" and "caricatures" (something that I myself have pointed out on a previous post, so thank you Cardinal Mahoney). Mahoney added that "Much of the baggage that goes with anyone who is given a responsibility is hard to overcome....But his job was preserving the doctrine of the church against dilution or errors. That was his job; that is what Pope John Paul II asked him to do, but that is not his job now...I think you will see emerge his far more spiritual and pastoral sides."

And Cardinal George remembered what happened at dinner after the election of John Paul in 1978. The Polish cardinals sang Polish folk songs, he recalled.

This time around, the cardinals all sang Latin songs. Hmm. Interesting. Anyway, at the dinner, apparently a few of the cardinals were bidding Benedict to get a good night's sleep. Awww.

Read the full story from Catholic News Service.

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