So I'm back at Kem's house after a long day of sight-seeing and shopping in Guangzhou (yes, the blog will be updated later on tonight). BBC World is on TV, and just heard a spot for World Review 2005, with the usual round-up of year-in-review stories. Including this one, "So what impact has the new Pope had since coming to power eight months ago?"
Coming to power? Let's see, after a long, hard, multi-million dollar campaign maybe? Or after inheriting the throne after his father's death? Is it really correct to call the election of the successor to St. Peter as his "coming to power?" As if the Pope were merely a new CEO or President or King of the Catholic Church Inc., or the Republic of the Catholic Church or the Kingdom of the Catholic Church? (The same kind of language that wonders whether the new Pope will change the "policies" of the previous one. This might be correct of some things -- say, such as the make up and governance of the Curia or the workings of the Synod of Bishops. But that's not the sense in which it's being meant. What's referred to is doctrine. You know, that medieval, hidebound stuff. As if that were mere policy.)
Yes, the Pope has power in the juridical sense of the word. But that is hardly the entire nature of the papacy (despite the perspective of many, including many Catholics, that would like to reduce everything to politics). In the Kingdom, the one who leads must serve. Hence that ancient title of the Bishop of Rome: the Servant of the Servants of God.
[/end rant] :)