Weekly Clippings: Save the Date Edition

So the news we’ve been waiting for all week finally came yesterday, and the news is that we’ll have to wait a few more days.  The Vatican announced that the Conclave to elect the next Successor of St. Peter will begin on Tuesday, March 12th with the first vote coming late afternoon Rome time.  In the meantime, the mainstream media is still clamoring to create scandal out of this historic occasion.  While I’ve tried to take the whispers, innuendo, and flat-out rabble-rousing with a grain of salt, it has been difficult.  Based on my readings this week, it appears that I am not the only one that has struggled to avoid the annoyance.

When asked to respond to a newspaper editorial, Elizabeth Scalia quickly realized that the word limit the editor suggested was not going to cover it.

Anyone interested in understanding Catholicism, in all of its faults and all of its greatness, needs to invest time in serious readings from many sources; the New Testament, the Catechism, the documents of the Second Vatican Council; the writings of the Church Doctors and the lives and writings of the saints. One cannot understand the Catholic church — not in the least — unless one can comprehend how persons as disparate in background and outlook as G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy Day would willingly refer to themselves as Catholicism’s “obedient” children, and be beloved within it.

What would a Pope from the third-world have in common with Ghandi? Mark Shea says that like Ghandi, when a such a pope starts speaking inconvenient truths, the media will quickly turn on him.

A Pope who says, well, what the Church says and what Gandhi says will not be received like some new Nelson Mandela by the Western press. He will be derided as an emissary from backward lands who need enlightened Westerners to teach them shallow atheism and cull their numbers with the blessings of birth control.

Still, Shea sees some positive signals regarding media coverage of Catholicism.

Now HuffPo, after a remarkably balanced attempt to talk about celibacy that included both me and Fr. Sullins on the panel to give the Church’s actual theology of virginity, now is having my friend, the formidable Dr. Pia de Solenni on at 11 AM Eastern today for a similar panel discussion on “The Church Youth Want”.

Speaking of positivity in the mainstream media, Ross Douthat explores Benedict’s legacy for the New York Times.

But for all of Catholicism’s problems, the Christian denominations that did not have a Ratzinger — those churches that persisted in the spirit of the 1970s and didn’t reassert a doctrinal core — have generally fared worse. There are millions of lapsed Catholics, but the church still has a higher retention rate by far than most mainline Protestant denominations. Indeed, it is difficult to pick out a major religious body where the progressive course urged by so many of Ratzinger’s critics has increased vitality and growth.

Of course, another popular topic in the media are the prophecies surrounding this Papal election.  From St. Malachy to the secrets of Fatima, there is something to get anyone worked up, but Father Z wisely urges calm.

Maybe this will whip some of you into a fever, but I find this a little more interesting than the mosaics and the lightning and the cryptic phrases.  Frankly, I wouldn’t be at all surprised were another part of the third secret locked away that explains the vision.  That would be consistent with the pattern: visions followed by explanations.  But Card. Ratzinger himself gave an explanation of it when it was released.  In the absence of another, contrary explanation, from someone high up than the contemporary Prefect of the CDF, I guess we have to just calm down.

On completely different subject, how easy is it to sneak into the General Congregations?  Apparently, you just need some fake bishop’s vestments.

Named as Ralph Napierski, the “bishop” donned a cassock that was too short, a bejewelled necklace that was fake, and black sneakers. As well as that, his purple sash turned out to be a scarf. Gazzetta del Sud reports that the man is Australian.

He successfully managed to sneak into the Vatican this morning and mingle with the 100+ cardinals before being hauled out. The man told reporters his name was “Basilius” and he was a member of “Corpus Dei” and the “Italian Orthodox Church”, which does not exist.

Video: Finally, what are the people on the street saying about the new Pope?  Wait, there isn’t one, yet?  Don’t tell these folks that were interviewed for Jimmy Kimmel Live.

“Does it bother you that he is Jewish?”

“I don’t know.  It’s fine, I guess.  ‘Cause, uh, you know, uh, I don’t think a Pope should stay one religion.”