If you are waking up in America today you might have the urge to look out the window to see if the power is still on, if there are riots in the streets, or maybe even to make sure zombies aren’t shuffling around. We are now in the papal interregnum and the ‘Sequestration’ deadline has now passed, with no deal.
If you are like me, you have probably heard a lot about both of these things, but in reality you aren’t quite sure how it is going to affect your day-to-day. You know it is supposed to be “doom-and-gloom” but so far the roads are still drivable and the water is still on. Leaving aside the whole economic turmoil of fiscal-armageddon, we as a Church are without its leader and we face an unknown future, which by media accounts should be one of modernization, change, and philosophical upheaval.
If my last thought added to your already sky-rocketing anxiety, I apologize. My advice is don’t read stories about the Church in secular papers. It is like asking your barber for car advice. In fact, don’t read too many stories about the Church at all right now. There isn’t much we can do to affect or alter the course of things at this point except to pray.
The Pope is a genius like that. He has been imploring the Church for the past few decades to dive into prayer, place Christ at the center of our lives, and decrease who we are so as to allow Christ to increase in the world. He spent his papacy fighting to “reform the reform” and as his last act he abruptly stepped aside. In essence, he is telling us and showing us how to be still and let God work.
While a few have criticized his decision, we would do more good to ask what now instead of how come. Benedict’s comments yesterday were about obedience, and so in that line of thinking, we too should focus on obedience. Obedience to Christ, and to the teachings of the Church. Many on the progressive side of the Church, and the heretical sects have argued that we shouldn’t follow “a man,” the Pope, but the “message of the Gospel.”1 They have argued for decades now that “We are Church.” That the people have supplanted the Bride of Christ on earth, and really that was the true intent.
Yet, those same free-thinkers are now clamoring for “change,” again. This time of discernment and decision for the Church is about their “wants,” and not the needs of the Church – at least to them. The post-Vatican II upheaval wasn’t enough. Now, we have to modernize again. The message of Christ becomes stale after a while, or at least we are left to assume. So now we must take up ideas of “women priests,” “same-sex marriage,” married priests, stronger roles for the laity, and other things on their social2 The truth be told, many of us have also lost sight of what we can, or should do in this time.
So as we refelct on this period, let us take some time to uphold the Church. Let us talk fondly of Benedict and how important Popes are and what this one in particular has meant to us. Let us “be free from all anxiety” and when we are nervous, let us ask the Holy Spirit to come down and guide the Church.
The interregnum is upon us. We are a people without – Sede Vacante.
And now we pray.
- Of course they want you to follow their interpretation of the Gospel, but don’t mind the logical inconsistency there. [↩]
- as opposed to theological) agenda.
Those of us on the more traditional and conservative side of things have our wants as well. More latin, more tradition, papal tiaras, more kneeling, more silence, and less Haugen-Haas hymn “ice-cream sandwich” Masses. We want a Pope that re-institutes this or that, and hope he finally cracks down on women and pants. ((If you don’t get this reference, it is a joke. For the record, my wife is allowed to wear pants whenever she wants – on Saturdays. Another joke. [↩]