Robert P. Imbelli
Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.
By this author
Almost two years ago a deadlocked and faction-riven Italian Parliament failed to elect a new President upon the completion of Giorgio Napolitano's seven year mandate. The highly respected Napolitano, a former member of Italy's Communist Party, was prevailed upon to extend his term. He finally stepped down in January citing age and increasing fraility, in a manner reminiscent of Benedict XVI with whom he had had warm relations.
There are commentators whose name for me is always an imperative to read their reflections. Though I may finally disagree with their view, I always find their writing illuminating and an incentive to explore and question my own position. David Remnick of the New Yorker is one such, as is Peter Steinfels (whom some of you may know); a third is Michael Gerson of the Washington Post.
On the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God Pope Francis gave a fine homily, in which he reprised one of Pope Benedict's key themes. Francis said:
Our faith is not an abstract doctrine or philosophy, but a vital and full relationship with a person: Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God who became man, was put to death, rose from the dead to save us, and is now living in our midst.
Pope Francis today spoke to the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors. In his short, but powerful address he said:
The dominant thinking sometimes suggests a "false compassion", that which believes that it is: helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to obtain euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to "produce" a child and to consider it to be a right rather than a gift to welcome; or to use human lives as guinea pigs presumably to save others.
He went on to speak of "the Gospel of Life" in that personal tone so distinctive to him:
There has been much helpful discussion, in various and diverse posts here and elsewhere, regarding the recently concluded Extraordinary Synod on the Family. The long delayed English translation of the final Relatio has now been published on the Vatican website.
I've been reading it in preparation for putting together some reflections, and already I've noticed some problems with the translation. Let me point to a particularly egregious one.
Saturday evening Pope Francis went to Verano Cemetery in the San Lorenzo district of Rome. Allied planes bombed the area in 1943, causing Pius XII to rush there to console the victims. Francis celebrated there the Mass for All Saints Day.
In his extempore homily the Pope spoke of the even greater perils confronting humanity today.
Last Sunday, I was in New York to participate in the Mass celebrating the one hundreth anniversary of the founding of Regis High School. Since the Mass was celebrated at the church of Saint Ignatius Loyola, I decided to arrive early to see the Cubism exhibition at the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art. The show featured works by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Though fascinated by the artists' bravura technique, I left yearning for the sacramental presence I would experience at the Mass.
At Mass this morning in Saint Peter's Square, closing the truly extraordinary Synod, Pope Francis beatified his predecessor, Paul VI. In his homily Francis said:
When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks! Thanks! Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!