As another week comes to an end, this is your chance to top off your glass with a final helping of news, current events, and just plain interesting stuff that may not have made into the mainstream media. A chance to linger for a few more moments before we close the door on the week. Below are some links to articles, blogs, and miscellaneous happenings that caught my eye over the past few days. Sample what you like. I'll serve up more next Friday...
[Can you guess what dominated the news this week?]
Official Vatican Website: Pope Benedict's Announcement (with video): Declaratio, 11 February 2013
Highlights from the Week: Must Reads about B16 - "...if you read anything about Pope Benedict over the weekend, these selections should be first on your list."
Vatican II & The Legacy Of Pope Benedict XVI - "Whether it was planned or not, the long pontificate of John Paul II and the relatively shorter one of Benedict XVI, worked in perfect tandem to bring forth what our retiring pope called 'the true Council…in all its spiritual strength.'"
Cardinal Dolan: Benedict's Papacy Highlighted His Pastoral, Scholarly, Holy Life - "The occasion of his resignation stands as an important moment in our lives as citizens of the world. Our experience impels us to thank God for the gift of Pope Benedict."
The Reluctant Pope - "...historians decades from now will take his pontificate seriously. It stands as an important step toward the restoration of order and orthodoxy within the Church after many years of scandal and foolishness."
A Godly Man in an Ungodly Age - "While he could not match the charisma of his predecessor, John Paul II, his has been a successful papacy. He restored some of the ancient beauty and majesty to the liturgy. He brought back to the fold separated Anglican brethren. The Church is making converts in sub-Saharan Africa. And in America, new traditionalist colleges and seminaries have begun to flourish."
There Were Clues Pointing to Pope Benedict's Decision - [I know I had read such things even two years ago.]
Habemus Ex-Papam? Benedict Gives New Life to Old Precedent - "‘The Holy Father is a realist,’ Cardinal Adam Maida explains about the Pope’s startling decision to step down."
Here are two articles I found that have a decidedly negative take on the pope's resignation. I am inclined to lean in a more positive direction, but I think these authors do have valid concerns: Why it is Worth Worrying: On the Brink of a New Pontificate, and Resignation Aftermath: Pope as CEO?
And now a more positive take: The Catholic Church Can't Change "Even if we entertain the human possibility of a rogue pope, the reality is such a thing is currently sociologically impossible."
Pope Benedict XVI Resignation Announcement Reflection - "Although many questions will likely be answered in time, it is certainly safe to say that this resignation reflects a significant humility on the part of the pope."
Guest Opinion: Ken Blackwell on the Renunciation of Pope Benedict XVI - "In renouncing the power and the glory of the papacy, Pope Benedict XVI is clearly putting the life and mission of the Catholic Church and her 1.2 billion believers above his own earthly being."
Pope Benedict XVI's Last Public Mass - Homily Full Text - [Includes video]
Benedict Will Still Be There for Us - "It’s not as if he’s retiring to the Cayman Islands to avoid the taxman. He’s retiring to a monastery to give the rest of his days to prayer — for us. For you and me."
Goodby, Papa - "I suppose this is our little via dolorosa, with the jeering crowds lining the street on both sides. These tough, ancient men can keep on walking, and so can we."
Sancte Petre, Ora Pro Eo! - "The challenge of the Petrine service is for the successor to St. Peter to always discern what the Lord is asking Peter to do in this time and place. "
Act of God? Lightning Strikes St. Peter's Dome - [This is just one of those silly things that made its way around the internet shortly after Pope Benedict announced his decision to step down...but I found it interesting.]
Pope Never “Joined” Hitler Youth - [A lot of these accusations were flying around at the time of his election, not they are resurfacing. See also my Monday Musings from this week.]
The Death of the Spirit of (Pre-)Vatican II? - "It seems to me that 50 years after the Council, we see how this Virtual Council is breaking down, getting lost and the true Council is emerging with all its spiritual strength."
Why Now? - "Any one else noticing an extra excitement in the air this Ash Wednesday?"
9 Things You Need to Know About Lent - "This week the liturgical season of Lent begins. Here are nine things you need to know about it..." See also: 9 Things You Need to Know About Ash Wednesday
6 Liturgical No-No's During Lent - "Like other liturgical seasons, Lent has its own special rules, and there are certain things that should not be done in Lent. Here are 6 of them..."
The Crystal Carafe and the Coffee Cup - "Dorothy Day did something constructive that reminded everyone at the Mass she attended, including the celebrant, that Christ's Real Presence among us sanctifies and sets apart as holy all that comes into contact with it."
Archbishop Chaput: Obama HHS Mandate “Insulting, Dangerous” - "The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services refused on Jan. 20 to broaden the exception to its mandate that nearly all Catholic employers must cover contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization in their health-care plans."
Figure That 98% of Catholic Women Use Birth Control Debunked - "Abortion advocates and the White House are using a misleading figure to defend the new mandate the Obama administration put in place that requires insurance companies to offer birth control drugs that may cause abortions at no cost." [I'm sure it's high, but it's not that high.]
America’s Looming Demographic Disaster - "America, we need more people. People who can work, create, pro-create, educate, learn, and carry us into the next few centuries. We must burgeon or we will break."
Ex-Abortion Worker: “I Saw My Lost Child in Jars of Aborted Baby Parts” - [Gruesome...but powerful testimonies. Must read. And a great piece to share with those on the fence about abortion.]
Five Questions with George Weigel - [How can you go wrong with that? ...I only wish the interview had been conducted AFTER the pope's announcement.]
Tolkien, Mozart, Plato, Latin, Phonetics, Music, the Cosmos, and everything else that has to do with Gregorian Chant - "To assume that any style of music, so long as the lyrical content is religious, is appropriate for the Mass is to deny that music has objective meaning apart from the intentions of the author and performers."