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‘Til death do (its) part’.

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It used to be that Peter was Peter until death did its part, just like the other kind of catholic marriage.

Since February 11 it’s not so clear.

“But this is far from the logic of the Church.
Peter must do only one thing: he must walk out on the water.”
From Letter #37: “A Living Stone” by Robert Moynihan, PhD – as appears on http://themoynihanletters.com .
Thursday, March 07, 2013

With those few words Dr. Moynihan has hit a proverbial nail on the head.

Peter is supposed to walk on the water, not supposed by ‘the people’, or of his own will, but because he is called — commanded — by Christ to do so. Precisely in storms.

Earlier posts on this blog have spoken in admiration of the humility of this extraordinarily good person, Benedict XVI. But that points precisely to the nut of the problem. His person is to be Peter. Can a pope be humble about that unique office & the promised, unique gift-function to “confirm the brethren”?

“Tu es Petrus,” declared Christ to Blessed Peter the Apostle. (Mt. xvi, 18) Not one who flees, as did the first Peter, but one who stands firm. When he did not, and instead fled, Christ rebuked the first Peter for it.

Now the question is, quo vadis, Petre?

Amen, amen dico tibi: cum esses junior, cingebas te, et ambulabas ubi volebas: cum autem senueris, extendes manus tuas, et alius te cinget, et ducet quo tu non vis. (Jn. xxi:18)

Amen, amen I say to thee, when thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself, and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldst not.

In other words, until death or some similar calamity, or some enemy of the Church, makes the decision for him no longer to serve as Peter.

Could it be Pope Benedict has been diagnosed with a terminal illness? Or that he has suffered strokes, as some say, last year and fears worse strokes. Or that he is becoming forgetful, even senses the onset of a senility? Not improbable.

But even so, what prevents the logical German Pope from deciding instead to cut back his schedule, even to go into seclusion inside the Vatican, and assign more of the grinding minutiae of duties to those he most trusts to assist him directly?

What was Benedict’s first request of the faithful? To pray. Pray that he have the courage not to flee the wolves. Well, if they can dress in sheep’s’ clothing, can not the clothing also be in Red even before the devouring begins?

Forgive the gallows humor, but the old joking dubium told once upon a time in the Curia comes to mind: “Why did St. Peter flee Rome? He was having a vision of the future Curia, of course.”

Already Dr. Moynihan (and not a few others) are seeing just how unsettling the consequences of the decision freely to abdicate bodes for the Church on earth, the members of which are already afflicted with the spiritual DNA of liberalism — independence from God: which supposes it, the soul alone, will decide how to approach Him. Or not.

Forgive me for saying in so crass a manner and without citing examples here, but it is precisely that “not” which one associates not only with faint-of-heart Romans, but with not a few great and powerful princes in Roman Red, too?

We have also to face the (other) facts, among which is that there will in a matter of days live — ‘spin’ it as best we can — ‘another pope’ (one dares not now say “anti-pope”) only yards from the ‘other’ papal apartments: not in exile, or from afar in order to prevent the death of the Church in the West, as did Gregory XII.

That the cardinals would not these days go en masse to Benedict and propose only too-logical ‘counter-solutions’ does not speak well of them or the situation. Specifically, that he reverse his decision, or accept their reelection of him.

It rather speaks, logically, of a few probable counter-causes, each of them as disconcerting as the other.

1. Some want to brush him aside, to make their last stand of the revolution, to reverse the inroads of the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ threatening an end of experimentation (read: ‘unbridled clerical ambition’), and to that end perpetuate Vatican Council II in its fiftieth grand anniversary rather as the super-dogma of all councils.

2. Others wish to press to conclusion the priorities of Benedict’s pontificate.

3. The scandals of the curias not only in Rome but around the globe — as we’ve almost not noticed, during the pre-conclave hub-bub, reared its ugly head high only last week in Edinburgh — are of such magnitude and pervasiveness, that some of the cardinals wish to shield the old Pope from recriminations by the world(ly) in a withering storm to come.

If so, the three ‘pro-choices’ spell unmitigated disaster. For each exhibits the underlying pelagianism of the age and its rot: the defeatism which needs must fill the void in the soul when the pre-eminence of grace there is either forgotten or rejected. It is the inversion of the imperative-prerogative of Christ Himself, in begging prayer: Not my will, but thy will be done.

As we Eastern Christians are wont to pray … those who remember, anyway .. at times like these:

Through the prayers of our holy fathers*, oh Christ-God, save us!

Pax Christi in Regno Christi!

* Which term hardly excludes mothers, of course. But in any case always refers to the ones, male or female, who have conquered by grace: St. Catherine Benincasa being one mother, with ‘spiritual testosterone’ greater than even most of those fathers, whom one might invoke at a time like this, for the cardinals going into conclave.

Indeed, let us invoke the holy Virgin of Siena, who somewhat like Joan of Arc before her, averted great schism in the West precisely by making Christ in her present to the world. As did the all-holy Virgin Mother herself, keeping the cowering men-disciples from splitting the Upper Room to begin with.

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