Seven Years of Blessing

Forgot it was the 7th anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI, gloriously reigning. Here’s Fr. Z’s post. The news clip features possibly the best translation ever of “Habemus papam” — “We got us a pope!”

Of course, what I remember of that day is not just watching pope coverage. I was mostly busy being sick as a dog, with occasional bouts of trying to offer it up. I finally got most of it out and fell asleep about an hour before the election, and woke up again not long after the first excitement. I’m pretty sure I did see the announcement live, and get the blessing. (I would’ve anyway, because the TV stayed on while I slept. Goodness knows how I slept through all the bells, but I sleep through a lot.) So yeah, I watched it mostly on replay, but it made me outstandingly happy all the same.

Over the last couple years before the election, I had gradually figured out that the usual US media view of Cardinal Ratzinger was unfair. (As my dad said recently, when rereading a Fr. Greeley novel with the usual late Nineties anti-CDF ranting, “He didn’t like Cardinal Ratzinger much, did he? Didn’t think he was going to be his boss, I guess.”) But I didn’t start reading his books until maybe a few months before John-Paul II died. The books were amazing, and so I wasn’t surprised by Ratzinger’s amazing homily at JPII’s funeral. But though I didn’t count him out entirely, I was pretty sure the cardinals would elect somebody younger. Wrong.

I had missed pretty much all the previous election coverage for JPI and II, or it had all happened just before I started reading the newspapers every day. I vaguely remembered seeing the JPII news when I got home from school, I think. But I was really young back then. Seeing a new pope elected made me feel young again, in a weird way, or perhaps timeless. Remembrance of mortality was all around us, of course, but the Church is always young and growing. We all felt that, I think. The cardinals standing in the windows grinning felt it. It is the power of Peter’s office, for his successors to strengthen the brethren both in their going and coming.

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