Monday, July 10, 2006

Benedict and the Holy Grail: II

John Allen has the goods, of course. Benedict offers Spain gentle, unambiguous defense of tradition. Gentle and unambiguous. Great adjectives to describe the style of this Pontificate!
Yet Benedict XVI never crossed the line into direct challenge to Zapatero. In fact, he never even mentioned the prime minister, or referred directly to the Spanish situation. When tempted to do so, Benedict shifted to a positive register.

During a brief encounter with the press on the papal plane en route to Valencia, Benedict XVI was asked about the legalization of gay marriage in Spain.

"I would say that we shouldn't begin immediately with the negative things," Benedict XVI replied, "because we also see families that love each other, that are happy, and we want to encourage this reality, which gives us hope for the future."

"It's true that there are problems, things to which Christian life must say 'no,' " the pope said. "We want to make people understand that on the basis of human nature, it's man and woman who are ordained to one another, who are ordained to give humanity a future.

"Let's shine a light on these positive things, so we can try to make people understand why the church cannot accept certain things, but that at the same time it wants to help people and to respect them," he said.
Hmm. Don't start with the negative. Anyone listening? :) In a second article, Allen provides a variety of vignettes of the trip. The Holy Father also used the Holy Chalice of Valencia during Mass.

Allen notes an American presence, Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. And a rather notorious American prelate.

Also check out Speronews, run by an American who lives in Spain, here and here.
From the meeting on families, what I found interesting was the emphasis on the role of grandparents.
Several speakers, Pell said, stressed the crucial role played by grandparents and other elderly relatives in a world in which both parents often work outside the home. Elderly members of the family frequently become primary care-givers and "handers-on of the faith," Pell noted.

Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio, addressed the importance of the "apostolate to the elderly" in his remarks at the congress, observing that many elderly persons today feel isolated, and that offering them pastoral care is an important task for the church.

In his remarks Saturday night, Pope Benedict included a special appeal for grandparents, urging that "in no way should they ever be excluded from the family circle."
This Asturian publication, La Nueva España, made the clear connection in a piece entitled "El abuelo Benedicto." Grandfather Benedict. And notes some rather embarrassing gaffes on parts of spokespersons in a Catholic country who ought to know better.
Además, bromeó con lo de ser abuelo del mundo, un apelativo que le eleva a una categoría más venerable que aquella que le atribuyó el portavoz Moraleda cuando secamente le llamó «el padre Benedicto». Estas trapisondas de la Moncloa son tan graciosas como la de ese otro portavoz indefinido que el sábado aseguró que el Papa le había regalado un collar de perlas a la vicepresidenta Fernández de la Vega.

[Furthermore, he joked about being the grandfather of the world, a title that elevates him to a more venerable category than that which the spokesman Moraleda attributed when he called him "Fr. Benedict." (!) These gaffes of de la Moncloa are as gracious (funny?) as of that other unidentified spokesman who on Saturday assured us that the Papa had gifted Vice President Fernández de la Vega with a necklaces of Pearls.]
Turned out it was a rosary. Let's never complain about US media cluelessness again.

The article also notes that the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church doesn't mention the word "grandparent." Something that future editions will have to rectify.

And this left-wing journal (ambiguous title. Rebelión. Hmm. :)) sent out a reporter to cover the atmosphere and scene leading up to the Papal visit. You can get a sense of his perspective from the title. "Cronica de la ciudad teocrática. Valencia." (A chronicle of a theocratic city. Valencia.)
Lo dicho, nada que envidiar a los malvados Estados tiránicos e islámicos del mundo. El PP ya lo ha conseguido, una fugaz ciudad teocrática.

As I said. One shouldn't envy the evil tyrannical and islamic states of the world. The PP [The center-right Partido Popular] has achieved it, a temporary theocratic city."
Hoo boy. Valencia became Baghdad or Tehran for a bit. Serious! Dude, grow up! The revolution is over! [The fellow did note a few Franco-era banners. Well of course a few nuts will show up to such an event! Is that the worst he could come up with? Oh yes. Apparently a lot of the families present had at least three or four children. Oh the horrors! The hilarious reports of Zombietime from left-wing rallies in the US are much funnier. And scarier. To me at least. But then, I'm biased.]

For the text of his speeches, head to Zenit. [The Vatican website, inexplicably, has not yet been updated. ::UPDATE! It has!::] Here's one paragraph from the homily at Mass that struck me (among many others):
Faith, then, is not merely a cultural heritage, but the constant working of the grace of God who calls and our human freedom, which can respond or not to his call. Even if no one can answer for another person, Christian parents are still called to give a credible witness of their Christian faith and hope. The need to ensure that God's call and the good news of Christ will reach their children with the utmost clarity and authenticity.
Faith as cultural heritage. Catholicism as ethnicity. This is something that I've been thinking about a lot on this trip. Will blog on it soon.

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