Benedictions: The Pope in America

Benedictions: The Pope in America

Catholics Meet Their New Pope and Fall in Love

By Jonathan Rubin
c. 2008 Religion News Service

WASHINGTON — As the sun rose over the sparkling new Nationals Park baseball stadium, the weather turned from chilly to warm to downright glorious — not unlike the feelings many Catholics here expressed for their new pope.
As Pope Benedict XVI met 46,000 members of his American flock for the first time on Thursday (April 17), there was a palpable sense of newfound love for a man still trying to emerge from the shadow of Pope John Paul II.
“God makes us all different,” said Friar Matt Foley, a teacher at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore. “He’s just like anybody else … new on the job.”
It’s been three years since Benedict’s election, yet more than 80 percent of Americans don’t know much or anything about the pope, according to a recent poll. Part of the (unofficial) reason for the pope’s six-day trip was for both sides to get acquainted.
Benedict was originally viewed as a strict and bookish theologian likely to enforce a more conservative orthodoxy on the U.S. church, but a new pope is emerging. This pope is interested in the environment, eager to personally apologize for the priest sex abuse scandal, and capable of showing warmth that belies his age.
“I looked into his eyes and I thought, `These aren’t old eyes,”‘ said Elizabeth Mandapat, from Phillips, Md., who arrived at the stadium before 6 a.m. “I feel so energized. … It’s like I didn’t need any sleep.”
It’s almost as if the man once derided as “God’s Rottweiler” has finally become the “German Shepherd” advertised on so many bumper stickers and T-shirts for sale.
The Mass, like the church in general, attracted the faithful and faith-shaken alike. Some have seen their beliefs weakened by war, death or misdeeds by the Catholic Church itself.
Those with deep faith, however, say they find its depths to be bottomless. Being close to the pontiff is “like getting closer and closer to Christ,” said Mother Maria Della Caridad, a member of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara in Washington.
The faithful who packed the new stadium said the crowds made it feel like they were surrounded by “one big family.” Not every seat had a clear view of the pope, and in the nosebleed seats at the top, one woman shrugged when she was asked if she could hear what the pope was saying.
“Not really,” she said.
But for most, the pope’s message of hope was clear.
Martha Onate came from Chicago to stand outside Nationals Park. “I didn’t have tickets,” she said, “but I came for the blessing.” She will follow the pope to New York by train.
And for some, the Mass served as an opportunity to sacrifice and achieve holiness, even if that meant not being there to see the pope.
Murphy Taylor, of Leonardtown, Md., won a ticket in a church lottery, but because he’s too young to receive Communion, he gave his coveted papal ticket to his older brother, Cullen.
“We didn’t even bribe him to do that,” his father said. “But he’ll be getting a big present when we get home.”
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Benedictions. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Prayer Plain and Simple Happy Reading!!! ...

posted 9:41:52am Jul. 06, 2012 | read full post »

Archbishop Chaput weighs in against "Obama Catholics"--and for...?
Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput combines an intellectual's depth with the doughty persona of a politicker, which is what he used to be--he worked for the RFK campaign and later, even as a priest, was a campaign volunteer for Jimmy Carter. ...

posted 11:18:53am May. 20, 2008 | read full post »

The Hagee-Donohue ticket: "Liberals' worst nightmare"
The elaborate courtship of Texas televangelist John Hagee--who is covering McCain's evangelical flank--and the Catholic League's Bill Donohue, who accused Hagee of anti-Catholicism for his "Great Whore" sermonizing and other standard anti-papist ...

posted 10:54:05am May. 19, 2008 | read full post »

An olive branch to divorced-and-remarried Catholics?
An item in the current edition of The Tablet of London hints at a possible opening for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion--even though many do, obviously, their ban from the altar under church law remains one of the sorest ...

posted 6:00:00am May. 17, 2008 | read full post »

The key to Benedict...
It is summed up in a response recounted by Father Jim Martin, a Jesuit and author who posts (and edits) at America magazine's blog. Father Martin has a post on "Three Unreported Papal Stories" from last month's visit. The third is the ...

posted 5:12:35pm May. 16, 2008 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.