My thanks to favorite commenter Annabenedetti, who has graced this blog with the most eloquent commentary I have read thus far on the Holy Father’s apostolic visit:
“I have never felt so strongly the invisible, but highly tangible bonds of the mystical body of Christ. I saw clearly why it is so important for the Church to be united under one vicar of Christ, one visible shepherd for the flock. It is not lightly he wears the pallium made of lamb’s wool; so evocative of the shepherd carrying the lost lamb home upon his shoulders.
I think Pope Benedict came to America hoping to carry home lost sheep – hoping, and not expecting, the outpouring of love that he received. Souls are thirsting nigh unto death for the Living God, and Benedict carried Christ to them; in his heart and in his hands, in humility and in love; fully aware of the poverty of his human limitations but in full knowledge that with God, nothing is impossible.
I read of his grief, fully exposed, shared with the anguish of the abuse victims he met with, and the comfort he brought to them. I heard his call to the young to turn away from the world and turn to Christ, their only hope. I know of more than one person who is returning to the Church after the Pope’s words fell on fields prepared by grace. Recall the Pope’s words: ‘I have a mustard seed and I am not afraid to use it.’
Sure, there were times to cringe. But those times were provided courtesy of the American church and its stiff-necked bishops and liturgists, not from Benedict. There are those who will never find good with this Pope; some because he is too orthodox and some because he is not orthodox enough. I am not in either camp. Today, I am simply glad to call myself Catholic. Laus Deo!”