Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Pope's "Detestable Enormities"?

1.  The first Prayer Book of the reforming Church in England (1549) included the following words in a Litany:

 "From all sedicion and privye conspiracie, from the tyrannye of the bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities, from al false doctrine and herisy, from hardnes of heart, and contempte of thy word and commaundemente:  Good lorde deliver us.

2. Queen Elizabeth I  (with an eye to her Roman Catholic subjects) ordered ( in 1559?)  that these words be taken out of the Litany.

3.  Nonetheless, Anti-Catholicism became a staple feature of English, Welsh and Scottish popular culture.

 ( I grew up (1944 - 1960 or so) when Roman Catholics were seen in England as being very exotic, and very un-English).

4.  Anti-Catholicism was also an ever present theme in American life from Colonial Days right up to the election of our one and only Catholic President, John F. Kennedy.

5.  Today the Bishop of Rome (a.k.a the Pope) arrived in Washington, D.C. He, (Pope Francis),  was greeted so warmly by our fabulous President Obama (and his family members).  The videos of this greeting are so deeply moving.

6.  Who could ever have imagined that the U.S.A. would have an African-American President, who would embrace an Argentinian born Pope.

7.  Despite what many terrified  Repuglicans  believe, Pope Francis is not a liberal/socialist/naive shill.

8.  This Pope; this Bishop of Rome,  is not a man of detestable enormities

9. Of course he is not the Universal Primate of the Church.

10.  But in truth Pope Francis  is follower of  Jesus of Nazareth:  the Jesus who is 

"the man from God'; 

"the friend of sinners";  

and "the one who blesses the 99%"

11.  For all that and more let us rejoice that Pope Francis ("the servant of the servants of God")  (one of the titles of the Papacy)  is visiting these United States, here to remind all Christians that our call to follow Jesus is also a call to love the poor. 

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