Well, the Pope came and made his pilgrimage and then left again, but on the way he did a considerable amount of shepherding. Like most people who tried to follow the coverage, my brain is full of ideas and good examples, but it will take a long time to absorb it all.
The quiet decency and sweetness of the man will stay with me, of course. I think most people saw him as he is, and I hope a good many people saw Christ through him. Certainly, his call to the faithful and the questing to follow Jesus, the Truth, seemed very winning.
But I also will remember the many class assignments that this professor has given us. Without saying a hard word against anyone in particular, he made it perfectly clear that all American Catholics have a lot of work to do. We must champion truth more, help those who need it more, love more. We must fight division. We must give ourselves totally to God, or never be quite free.
I kept telling my mom this week that he really wasn’t saying anything new. He was just talking about the basics, trying to get people back on track. But actually, I think he was subtly redefining the terms of the debate.
Sex education, safe sex, and birth control? It’s about the exciting “beauty of conjugal love” vs. boring old “management of risk”.
Catholic schools and Catholic identity? It’s all about showing people Christ, acting like Christ, loving truth because truth is Christ.
Diversity? It’s us being more ourselves and bringing our own contribution to the table, not straining to be something else or hiding the fact we’re Catholics and Americans.
That re-definition or change of viewpoint has apparently been resonating with people. We won’t see immediate effects, maybe, but the ideas are definitely going to have an effect on those who really listened.
I think I can go to bed now. 🙂