In these days after the death of Pope Benedict XVI, old wounds concerning the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis, have opened again and a bit of salt added by the Supreme Pontiff himself, who seems to be tone deaf or indifferent to these wounds he has and is causing.
I remember being scandalized my first year of seminary in 1976 when there was a discussion about Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Sainthood, the priest-theologian said, isn't dependent on the nice personality of the one canonized. He went on to say that Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton could be a "b-t-h on wheels." I was shocked, scandalized and wondered what he meant by that.
I have been reading a certain international Italian blog that has lamented a few things these past days in terms of the "salma" of Pope Benedict. While I know Italian, can understand it, and speak it on a basic level, I am illiterate in the sense that it is my original language, the language of my mother, but having left Italy before primary school, I have never studied Italian to read and write it much to my consternation. What I can read and write is self-taught.
Thus, I had to look up "salma" (I thought it meant Psalm) and found out that it is "corpse" as we say it in English, which is closer to the Latin for body, than salma is.
Well all of the consternation in the Italian blog about what happened at the Vatican and with Pope Francis was summarized in this English post on Rorate Caeli I read this morning. Apart from any mean spiritedness, I think it is accurate although not dispassionate. I won't summarize it, but if true, it is disedifiying, depressing and scandalous to say the least as it appears that there was an effort to slight Benedict XVI even in his "salma".
And then, even the Deacon's Bench blog made reference to the homily that Pope Francis gave, which the Washington Post call terse. It is short and I think it is terse. Maybe we need to give Pope Francis some slack. He is in declining health, and at 86 has a right to be a grumpy old man who grows tired easily due to age and pain.
But Deacon Ken Kandra compares Pope Francis' homily for Pope Benedict and Cardinal Ratzinger's Homily for Pope John Paul II. The entire article indicates what a true homily should be and it shouldn't be a eulogy about the deceased person, but rather be Christocentric. Pope Francis gave a good homily, but he might have used some examples from Pope Benedict's long life as examples of what it means to be loved by God and transformed by him as well as redeemed.
There has been a lot of discussion lately about Pope Francis’s homily for the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict; some have argued, correctly, that it was a homily, not a eulogy, and served as a powerful homiletic reflection on sacrifice and surrender. Others have complained that it didn’t speak enough about Benedict’s life or pay tribute to the man himself.
Can you have both?
UPDATE: LACROIX INTERNATIONAL HAS AN ARTICLE BY ROBERT MICKENS, AN NCR TYPE PROGRESSIVE WHICH CONFIRMS MUCH OF THE ABOVE AND ADDS MORE. IT IS BEHIND A PAYWALL, BUT PROVIDES “CLICK BATE”.
PRESS HERE FOR THE BATE FROM LACROIX