Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's easy being green, when you follow Pope John Paul II

As readers of my blog have discovered, sometimes I like to post titles which contain puns or statements whose meanings are not overt. This title will have to be broken down a little. In the Catholic Church, various liturgical seasons and holy days are celebrated. Each one has a particular color and the priest at mass will wear vestments to reflect this. For example, Pentecost is red, Lent is violet, and Easter is white. The liturgical colour for ordinary time is green. Ordinary time is as the name implies, a time where we worship Christ and his sacrifice but where there is not a particular feast. My title is reflective of this.

Pope Benedict XVI came after a very great pope. John Paul II did things that no other pope had ever done, such as being born in Poland. John Paul's nationality was to foreshadow his trailblazing papacy. He is known for his firsts. He dialogued with non-Christians more than any other pope. He visited synagogues and mosques. He became a truly universal pontiff. He traveled more than any other pope, canonized probably more saints than any pope before him, and got young people involved more than ever. He wrote on the Theology of the Body, he was the pope of the new media age, etc. Pope John Paul II will truly go down in history as a trailblazing pope, during his 26 years in the seat of Peter. Oh, and did I mention that he helped bring down Communism in Europe?

Following this, Pope Benedict's actions may not stand out as much as they should. It is not hard for Benedict's actions as pope to appear "ordinary" in the shadow of John Paul the Great. Benedict, or as some like to call him B16, has done many trailblazing things himself, even in his short 4 years as pontiff. Benedict has traveled extensively, he has visited Muslim and Jewish leaders, he has taken on world issues, and has embraced the media age. Pope Benedict even has his own youtube page.

Perhaps if Benedict had been elected after the death of Pope John Paul I, instead of Karol Wojtyla, he would now be regarded as just as much of a trailblazer. This would have been possible, although perhaps unlikely. Benedict was at the conclave of JPII, one the few who was still alive after John Paul's record setting pontificate which lasted over 26 years. John Paul II actually selected nearly all the cardinals who were present at the time of his death, except a couple, one of which was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now B16.

As the world continues to love Pope Benedict more and more each day, let us say a prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father.

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