But, seeing how the theme of today's entry seems to be » intimacy ala 1-on-1, I figure this is a good place to float it ..
.. and since it is such a gorgeous day today .. I figure this is a good time to take the hoverboard out for a cruise.
A year is a long time. 13 months. I have distilled .. what I feel to be the essence, the crux ..
[.. and yes, I knelt down at the alter and kissed the arch bishop's ring ..
.. with all the other kids who knelt there beside me ..
.. after which relatives all gave me lots of money, tucked neatly into religious cards and envelopes ..
.. to signal their approval for my kneeling down and kissing the ring, just like they did many years earlier ] ..
And yes, I like this new Pope, who seems more real, less religious. Less judgmental. First things first.
But he is apparently catching flak. As would be expected.
My own opinion is that any organized religion that does not lead with mercy and compassion .. will eventually leave a sour aftertaste in people's mouths.
Not many of God's creatures seem very interested in anything that seems inclined to heap upon them judjment, criticism and condemnation. (Fitzgerald would concur, I'm sure.) "You dirty, ugly thing, you. You should be more like me."
And everybody knows that » mercy trumps judgment.
I am not surprised that the previous Pope said that God told him to resign .. the first such resignation in six centuries .. we're talking about since before the Renaissance. Since before Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Is that not very encouraging? For the Catholic church? I am encouraged. Very much so.
I mean, Peter .. supposedly the first Pope .. is Mr. No-Bullshit. Even in Acts, he is recorded (by Luke) as mincing not his words.
Peter can be hard to read. Because he cuts you no slack. He makes no excuses.
He throws down the standard and says, "Deal with it. If you get killed in the process, then welcome to the club, dawg."
You never come away from Peter feeling unchallenged. And Peter did not die a pretty death. Not many of those early disciples did.
The shit was on for sure. "These men, who are turning the world upside down. We, the ruling authorities, must kill them."
Somehow, along the way, the church became the killers. And the torturers. Not a whole lot of compassion in torturing people (.. or locking them up in cages for draconianly-long lengths-of-time).
My ego is convinced that the Pope is reading my stuff and running with it. (That's okay by me.) Papal sentiments echoed at MSN. Reuters. globalpost. CBS News. Financial Times. Boston Globe. Aljazeera. NY Post. The Street.
He apparently abandoned his scripted speech .. and got off the porch, ad-libbing along the way. I like that, too. "Go, dawg."
I called Nana to see what she thinks of this new Pope. (I left a message.) The Dog says that he is encouraged.
Notice that the Meditation Gardens here in Encinitas dedicates an area to St Francis .. the only figure you will see featured there from another world religion.
I read somewhere that this new Pope likes to read Dostoevsky. When I see the Pope carrying his own bag, it makes me think of what Paul wrote » here.
I also hear that he abandoned life in the palace to live in the modest Vatican guest-house. I dont know if I could do something like that.
[ Oh, dude .. the Pope is totally kicking ass and taking names. He's like a man on fire.
I find this video telling. The boy wants to be near the pope. Kids are honest. The sense things more plainly, more clearly.
That is the biggest compliment the pope could get.
When I hear the pope say » "Who am I to judge?" .. I think of what Peter said (the first pope) in Acts ..
.. after the Spirit of God fell on the gentiles .. whom the Jews had previously considered 'unclean'.
I would like to ask Pope Francis about his feeling on the historic circumstances (dating back to the Middle Ages) surrounding the resignation of Pope Benedict ..
.. and also the historic firsts (e.g. first Jesuit pope) represented by his OWN pope-ship .. if he feels this is the result of God flexing his Muscle. A sign?
Does he feel a sense of Destiny? More strongly than you might ordinarily expect?
Do you feel like the Living God Himself is involved? Of course you must, but why do you think this?
I wish he would elaborate on such things. I would be interested to hear his views on the subject.
I read an article about him in the CS Monitor which calls his style » compassion over doctrine.
Mini-update (Dec 4) » the December 9, 2013 publication of the Monitor (which my friends receive, but dont read) ..
.. quotes Pope Francis as saying (writing.pdf in his apostolic exhortation published Nov 24, 2013) »
» "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"
I like this guy more and more all the time. He's certainly got balls. Cojones. Mui grande.
Obama can even be seen quoting this exact statement by the Pope in the video posted » here. </end_mini-update>
I also want to ask the new pope about his feelings ..
.. regarding any apparent irony that he supposedly likes Dostoevsky ..
.. but it was Dostoevsky which wrote about the Grand Inquisitor ..
.. who is portrayed as not a very nice person ..
.. and the Jesuits are famous (infamous) for their role in the Spanish Inquisition ..
.. which is not famous for mercy or compassion. Unless you call torture a compassionate act.
Does he feel a need to apologize for the Jesuits?
Speaking of apologies .. I would like to ask his holiness .. how does the man forgive ..
.. who has been wronged in a way that seems unfathomable to members of polite society?
People who have been wronged in such as way as to defy comprehension.
Because, if you can answer that, padre .. then you're on to something.
I think the Catholic Church is fortunate to have this man as Pope. A little late, perhaps, but you know what they say.
» Having a Beer with the New Pope
I would like to have a beer (with chips-n-salsa, or course) with the new Pope ..
.. at an upscale Mexican restaurant. Maybe that one there on PCH in South Laguna » El Ranchito ..
.. the place that used to be the gay hangout (Woody's).
Thats would be seemingly appropriate, no? Given the Pope's stated (and inferred) position.
And I want to ask the Pope about some of the aphorisms found in the book titled » The Art of Worldly Wisdom ..
.. which was (secretly) written (in 1647) by another Jesuit priest .. named Baltasar Gracián (1601-1658).
This little book (a mere 200 pages) contains 300 such aphorisms .. about Worldly Wisdom .. not too terribly different from Machiavelli's 'The Prince' (.. which was published ~130 years earlier, in 1513).
The author, Baltasar, was very much into » brevity .. the soul of wit, you know.
I would like to know the Pope's opinions on a number of things .. including how he likes Dos Equis cervesa mas fina, and whether he can handle spicy salsa.
Everybody who I have ever met .. who was ever taught by Jesuits .. were always very smart, very intelligent, well informed people. Impressively so. Always.
Almost like the term 'Jesuit' is synonymous with both intelligence and education. For what it's worth.
Tho Stendhal did not like his Jesuit instructor.
I would also like to take the new pope to the Meditation Gardens .. in Encinitas .. so that he can see the beautiful shrine there ..
.. in that peaceful place .. dedicated to his new namesake. The only other religion represented there .. far as I can tell.
Certainly it must come as a humbling tribute .. to the legend of the man. Of which you must be familiar.
If he has the time, perhaps we could discuss his feelings on how Stendhal's clerical-turned-military character, Julien Sorel, compares with what Paul wrote to Timothy here.
Sometimes I feel like the opposite of Julien, because I went the military route first .. then the spiritual. ]
Tho I myself attended public schools (in Connecticut), both my mom and dad attended Catholic grade schools. My mom even went to a Catholic high school. So I naturally feel well-qualified to speak on most things Catholic.
My grandmothers said the rosary. Dude, saying the rosary is hard-core Catholic.
ME: "What are you praying about, Gram?"
GRAM: "That God would keep you kids out of trouble."
ME: "We're gonna go down in the cellar and play pool. Do you have any more lasagna?"
After my mom died, my dad remarried .. a woman who had been divorced. He tried to get the Catholic church to grant her a special waver or sorts, but they refused.
Dad was furious .. saying how much money he had donated (several thousand dollars) to their recent building campaign to build a new school ..
.. as tho he might be able to purchase a special deal from the church.
I was only joking when I said, "Dad, so what are you telling me? That you're living in sin?"
He was so upset with me over that, that he did not talk to me for a few months.
Speaking of qualifications .. who more qualified to speak on the corrupting influence of money .. than a Pope?
I'm talking about what happens when the system becomes » all about the money. And we know how that turned out.
Notice how, Indiana Jones chooses the non-fancy Holy Grail.
Yes, it's just a movie, but the concept is the same. The Carpenter wasnt drinking out of a jewel encrusted cup.
Sure, the Film School snobs may criticize Spielberg for being "too commercial," but he gets it. He chose wisely.
On the subject of choosing wisely .. here is a good book.
"The standard of sound words" that Paul talks about .. is based on faith and love ..
.. not condemnation or criticism or fault-finding.