Monday, April 16, 2012

The Handsome Pope Benedict Of Youth and Rudyard Kipling ( Happy 85th )

A second Happy Birthday Pope Benedict post today. See my earlier post Pope Benedict In His Private Chapel Prays With His Brother Before His 85 Birthday ( Pic )

An interesting montage of photos of the Pope for his 85th Birthday. I always thought he was handsome young man looking at the photos. He also as we know is one of those men blessed to keep all his abundant hair into old age.

Two interesting articles related to this today. First A Rare Pope: With a Sense of Humor . The Vatican Newspaper also had an an Italian newspaper artice I liked  which is translated here , and which I will copy below.

Benedict XVI and the prophetic

notes of Kipling's 'Recessional'
La Stampa

The tumult and the shouting dies — 
The Captains and the Kings depart”…

Seven years have passed, and the tumult and the shouting that accompanied the death and the funeral of John Paul II are long gone. The captains and the kings who gathered around a bare cypress coffin returned shortly to their thrones.

And a few days later, a 78-year-old cardinal was elected to the Chair of Peter. To confront a legacy from a Pontificate that had been dramatic and resplendent, which swept through the Church like a cyclone, restoring to the faithful their pride in being Catholic, pride in the faith, and bearing along a people made up of saints and sinners, heroes and brigands, as men ever have been.

I was reading 'Recessional", the hymn that Rudyard Kipling wrote for the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria's reign in 1897, when the wings of Empire were spread wide across the world. And suddenly, the image of Papa Ratzinger came to mind. Not because pf any resemblance to Victoria. But because 'Recessional', far from being a cry of triumph, though it mentions great enterprises and power, speaks of the danger of arrogance and forgetting God.

I thought of the words of Joseph Ratzinger on Good Friday 2005, and later: about 'the filth in the Church", that boat tossed about by waves and springing leaks; and later the appeal, "Do not leave me alone - pray for me that I may not flee in fear from the wolves".

How great is the solitude of a Pope, of this one in particular, we often see - even when he has the comfort of the affection of all the humble faithful around the world. But how tough, dark and difficult is the mission he must carry out, to sustain, to correct and to restore order in a magma-like Catholic world - this is less evident to many.

The final message in Recessional must be Benedict's too, asking God's mercy “For heathen heart that puts her trust
 in reeking tube and iron shard — 
All valiant dust that builds on dust”, which is true for his Church and the rest of mankind.

In his great poem, Kipling sensed - with the foresight of poets - a world about to shatter, engulfed in pride and the will to power among the leaders of the world - that would lead to the folly of the Great War and the worse madnesses that followed it.

Benedict XVI's voice often resounds with the same prophetic accents. Ad multos annos, Santita! The world has need of your voice.

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