Weekly Clippings: First Week of Lent Edition

Happy Lent everyone! Even with the Lenten Season in full swing, all that most Catholics are talking about is that we are less than a week from the end of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate. I cannot say that I am any different. This is such a somber, exciting, and somewhat anxious time to be Catholic. With that in mind, here are a few Internet musings that I found interesting this week.

Stephen White of the Huffington Post (yeah, really) wrote an insightful article about religion, the papacy and the enigma that has been Pope Benedict XVI.

With the announcement of his resignation, Pope Benedict has them scratching their heads again. “Pope’s don’t just quit. What’s really behind this?” they wondered. The end of this pontificate, like the beginning, is a sign of contradiction to those who see every human action in the cynical categories of power and willfulness.

Pope Patrick I? Elizabeth Scalia, a.k.a. The Anchoress, explores the possibility of Cardinal O’Malley.

For those of us who claim a connection to the auld sod, that would be a pondering just too Irish-delightful for words: In the Year of the Snake, the rise of a Pope Patrick I. Would he drive the snakes of toil and turmoil from the church, from society, from the curia?

Vatican Insider’s Alessandro Speciale says Pope Benedict may be set to modify the rules for this historic conclave.

The announcement was made late this morning by Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, after Vatican Insider revealed the news. The director of the Vatican Press Office stated he did not know whether Pope Benedict XVI would consider it necessary and opportune to give a clarification regarding the start date for the upcoming Conclave. We will have to see whether and when the document will be published.”

Conclave facts and trivia from the Vatican Library:

Pope Paul VI was the pope who clarified the exact moment when a candidate becomes pope: It is the moment he accepts his election, as long as he previously had been ordained a bishop. If the cardinals choose someone who has never been ordained a bishop, the ordination takes place immediately, then the election as pope becomes valid.

Being a convert myself, I really enjoy reading how fellow converts are reflecting on this historic occasion. Here is a nice piece from former protestant pastor Eric Neubauer.

Pope BXVI has been fun to watch. Because of my relative youth as a Catholic convert, I haven’t watched Pope BXVI through the lens of past political fights, the challenges of implementing Vatican II & its aftermath, other scandals or intrigue that the media loves to speculate on. Not that I am ignorant of the history of the Catholic Church, its sin, scandal and the many challenges this institution has faced over the past 2000 years. Yet, in my newness I have come to appreciate this particular Pope, having a Pope and all the benefits this office brings to the Catholic faithful.

Quote of the week – Timothy Cardinal Dolan on those who think he will be the next pope:

“I’d say those are only from people smoking marijuana.”

To break away from the all the popery and talk a little about lent, The Basketball Jones spent last weekend asking NBA all stars what they might give up for 40 days.

“Honey buns. I love honey buns. I can’t…I can’t live without ’em.”

— Jrue Holiday