Saturday, March 2, 2013


From The Moynihan Report of 2/27/13:
The word "recinto" is a bit strange and hard to translate. It means "enclosure," "paddock," "pen," "surrounding wall." A "recinto" is therefore a closed-in area, an area quite defined, an area created to enclose things and keep them safe.

So he is saying he is staying within the area established and closed in by St. Peter . . .

This space, this yard, this "recinto" where Benedict will remain, is not simply a physical space, the former nun's convent in Vatican City, in the gardens.

It is actually a spiritual space in the structure of the Church herself, a place "near Peter," a space in which an emeritus Pope, even if "hidden from the world," continues to live and have a role, like one more link in the chain of apostolic succession.

One might almost say it like this: (1) the new Pope, who will be elected in two or three or four weeks time, will be linked to all previous Popes who have died, and this is shown by the many tombs of Popes found in St. Peter's Basilica, and by St. Peter's tomb (which is directly under the high altar, and directly under the massive cupola of Michelangelo); but (2) the new Pope will also be linked to one previous Pope who has not physically died, but has, in a sense, been buried "to the world," and yet lives "in prayer," in a convent near the basilica, though "dead to the world."


Finny said...

It's funny how many of the same things we both read Tony. I've been reading Robert Moynihan's pretty insightful letters from Rome for the past two weeks. I've tried to limit my reading of conclave coverage, because so much of it is pure speculation and not that helpful. It's easy to file it into the part of your soul that you've assigned to deal with pure politics, and that's not a good thing. Bishop Mark Davies made a good point that we should be praying rather than approaching this like any other election, and I've been trying to take that to heart. I have, however, been reading Moynihan and Palmo, to try and keep up with what people with real experience in this stuff are saying.

You do wonder what it will mean to have the enclosed Papa Emeritus so close at hand, and dedicating his life to praying for the new Pontiff and the Church. It does seem like he will serve as a living witness to the long, deep roots of the Church, a reminder to the new Pope of what came before. It is hard to imagine what the relationship between the two of them will be. We will just have to pray that it is for the good of the Church.

Tony said...

From yesterday's letter: "But it seems almost as if the cardinals are 'flopping around' like fish out of water, in need of guidance."

It's pretty disheartening to hear about Cardinals getting dossiers on the papabile and disputing the date of the enclave. You could almost understand the American press conferences getting shut down, not because they're the source of various leaks, but because it's just sort of awful to discover how little the various Cardinals actually know about what's going on.

Tony said...

At The Orthosphere, Bonald writes:

Phil Lawler is outraged that the American Cardinals “apparently under pressure” have suspended their regular press briefings. He accuses a reactionary curial “Old Guard” of not seeing the value of “transparency”. Having something of an “Old Guard” mentality myself, I will present the other side. What the more prudent members of the Curia realize is that the press is the enemy. It may not be true that they write (or suppress) stories with the sole intention of inflicting maximal harm on the Faith, but someone who assumes this is their sole motive will be able to predict their actions with nearly perfect success. Granting more access to the press will not win them over, nor will the charms of Cardinal Dolan, which seem to so impress Lawler, be allowed by the editor to affect any story's overall impression. The first and last word will always be given to Hans Kung or someone like him. There is nothing we can do about this.

The whole situation is almost disgraceful. The press conference is currently viewed by even the most orthodox Catholic commentators as the most important category of event in the life of the Church.

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