Sunday, January 08, 2006

on fantasizing about pulling off a Benedict

Like Pope Benedict, I also spent part of today baptizing babies. There were seven babies today. Fr. Pastor, the other priest in residence Fr. Chips, myself, and the two deacons in the parish alternate this responsibility.

But unlike Benedict, I didn’t really deliver an off-the-cuff homily today. It’s not that I was reading it. Rather, I knew my words well enough that I can deliver the homily sans text.

According to reports, Benedict had a prepared text for his first baptism as pope (10 babies) and chucked it. Yep. Just like that.

Then he delivered an extemporaneous, improvised homily. Get a load of that. I guess that’s why he’s pope.

Part of the content of this extemporaneous homily is the following:

“In our times we need to say 'no' to the largely dominant culture of death."

"(There is) an anti-culture demonstrated by the flight to drugs, by the flight from reality, by illusions, by false happiness ... displayed in sexuality which has become pure pleasure devoid of responsibility."

"The anti-culture of death was a love of lies and of deceit. It was an abuse of the body as a commodity and as a product. Even in our times there is this culture and we must say 'No' to it.”

"This is a 'yes' to Christ, a 'yes' to the victors of death, a 'yes' to life."

Noteworthy words those. And apparently this is the first time as pope that he’s ignored his prepared text.

You know, at this point in my priesthood, being a newbie and all, I don’t think I can do something like that just yet: pull off a Benedict.

Like all introverts (the majority of priests are introverts, believe it or not), public speaking is not something I would just immediately volunteer to do. But the more I do it, the more I am up there, the more I like it.

But speaking extemporaneously like that, I will have to be well into my ministry for several years before I can do that.

Anyway, after reading this report, I did some fantasizing and imagined what if I had chucked my intended homily today and started speaking off-the-cuff about the culture of death, sexual pleasure devoid of responsibility, a flight to drugs, and illusion....the whole lot.

The parents, the godparents, the grandparents, their guests, even perhaps the children running about in the sanctuary, and the sacristan, would probably think to themselves: “oh my, I think I’m at the wrong service.”

But with Benedict, his audience is the whole world.

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