It’s been about a month since Pope-emertius Benedict XVI’s resignation became official, and now we are a couple of weeks into Pope Francis’s pontificate. While there was a fair amount of sadness as Benedict left the chair of St. Peter followed by a great deal of joy with the election of Francis, there has also been a divisive undertone among many Catholics and members of the media trying to pit the Pope against the Pope-emertitus. Personally, I wish it would stop, and from my reading this week, I see that I am not the only one.
Elizabeth Scalia vents about those sewing lies to reap division among the faithful.
I don’t much care whether the pope wears red shoes or black. I’m a girl who ones one pair of shoes, and they’re crocs, so I clearly think a man should wear what is comfortable, for him. Like Pope Francis, I am not impressed with lace, prefer a pithier liturgy and don’t care whether a pope wears black pants that peak through his white robes, or whether or not he appears with a mozzetta on his shoulders or a warm camauro on his chilly, grey or balding, head — the deposit of faith does not rest on papal trappings. I have no issue with the fancier vestments, which recall Christ’s Kingship or the simpler ones that recall his Humanity — it’s all valid; it’s all good and it all has its time and place. But I care deeply when people who should know better, in both mainstream and church venues, ignore what is meaningful within those trappings, in order to foment division, because for them division is always more interesting than unity.
Donald S. Prudlo for Crisis Magazine writes about Pope Francis’s pontificate as a continuation of the missions of his two predecessors.
Now we hope Francis will complete the triad. For while it is clear that John Paul and Benedict were very good men, they had different historical missions. Francis can call us back to the Good, and to the imitation of Him who is the end and purpose of all desires. It is true that too often those whose primary tasks involve Truth and Beauty can neglect the “Good.” This can and must go beyond simply personal holiness and virtue. It must extend to having the vision and courage to carry that goodness throughout the world, to care for the sick, the suffering, and the marginalized. Francis seems exceedingly well equipped for that task, and I am certain the Cardinals identified that as a most desirable characteristic.
The message seemed clear: Pope Francis will try to live up to his namesake, Francis of Assisi, as a man of the poor and of peace, but that doesn’t signal any retreat from the moral and cultural positions associated with the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
“There is no peace without truth,” Francis told the diplomats.
“There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.”
Fr. Dwight Longenecker looks at St. Benedict and St. Francis and how their Pope-namesakes were sent to serve the same mission in different ways.
How amazingly providential, then, that we now have two popes: Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict! Pope Benedict following the Benedictine way by retiring to a life of prayer, study and work, while Pope Francis steps on to the world stage to live the life of activity, reform and renewal. The two popes are meeting today, and I am convinced that when Pope Benedict moves to his hermitage in the Vatican, the two of them will meet on a regular basis to support one another as brothers in arms.