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...
Habemus Datam – Conclave Starts Tuesday - "...late Tuesday afternoon, the electors will gather in the Pauline Chapel, processing from there into the Sistina as the Litany of the Saints is chanted."
The Path Toward the Conclave - "A push from most cardinals for ample discussion time delayed an originally fast-track plan for an early conclave."
Team America Shut Down - "...at a Vatican press briefing, Lombardi explained why the wildly popular press conferences the U.S. cardinals were holding at the North American College were being shut down..." [Obviously this is old news, but it's from George Weigel and he always has something insightful to say.]
Recipe for a Pope: a Christlike Man Who Can Govern and Unite - "Ask any Vatican official or leading Church figure in Rome what one of the most important characteristics of the new pope should be, and, chances are, they’ll say he must have an ability to govern."
The Unique Impossibility of the Papacy - "To be pope is to take on a task that is, by precise theological definition, impossible. Like every other office in the Church, the papacy exists for the sake of holiness. The office, though, is a creature of time and space, and holiness is eternal."
I find the idea of an "American Pope" to be intriguing and increasingly POSSIBLE. And so, here are a couple of article about just that: An American in Rome, Bound for the Chair of Peter, and Pope Prediction: 10 Reasons Cardinal Burke Will Be the Next Pope ...NOTE: After posting this headline round-up for the week, I found this piece, which fits nicely with these two previous articles: Is an American Pope Possible, or Prudent?
Papal tailors ready no matter what size the new pope is - "Three sizes of cassocks for the future pope are displayed in the window of the Gammarelli clerical tailor shop in Rome March 4. At the request of the Vatican the famous shop has prepared three sizes of clerical wear to be used by the new pope immediately after his election."
A look at the three ballot urns that will be used in the conclave - [Video: Interesting to see...not really my tastes, artistically.]
Little-known Facts about a Papal Conclave - "Much media coverage of a conclave, both secular and Catholic, consists of speculation about who is papabile, what changes the Church must make during the next pontificate, and where the next pope will come from. More or less well-informed opinion tends to crowd out a faith perspective. Here are a few little-known facts about a papal conclave that might help to restore it."
On Castel Stroll, Paparazzi Snap Papa Ratzi - [This is kind of a non-story...but the title is funny.]
Benedict XVI Honored by Eastern Orthodox Hierarchs - "Benedict XVI played an important role in modern efforts to heal the schism between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches."
Pope Benedict XVI’s Helicopter Ride Full of Historical Images and Analogies - "Perhaps the helicopter ride of the Holy Father made many of the media’s gatekeepers cringe because those historical landmarks (the Coliseum, the Apian Way) were like many modern secular government’s landmarks, supposedly everlasting."
I Am the Benedict XVI Generation - "I have grown up in Catholicism during the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI. The man who appeared on that balcony eight years ago has been a steady factor in my journey as a Catholic. "
Cardinal O'Brien scandal reminds us of corruption before the Protestant Reformation - [In a way this story is somewhat comforting... to remember that the Church has been through darker times.]
Stand By for an Important Announcement - "Normally, the Feast of the Annunciation falls on March 25, nine months before Christmas. This year, however, March 25 is the Monday of Holy Week, and the Church considers Masses for Palm Sunday, any time in Holy Week, or any time from Easter through the Sunday after Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday) to be so important that even this Marian feast cannot replace one of them."
More Latin Stuff... - "One of the most irritating comments when a traditional hymn or antiphon is suggested is 'Oh, you can't have that... no-one knows it!' Well, no-one will ever know it unless they get to hear it - after all, that's how they got to know the hymns they do know."
This week (March 7, to be precise) was one of the Feast Days for my patron saint, Thomas Aquinas. Here is a piece on this Angelic Doctor of the Church: The Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas
Why is Seafood Allowed on Fridays in Lent? St Thomas Aquinas Provides the Theological Answer
March: The Month of Saint Joseph - "...the month of March is associated with a saint whose primary feast falls two days later, on March 19: Saint Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster father of Jesus Christ."
Do Catholics Have Minds and Wills of Their Own? - "The long journey to God and toward personal fulfillment requires conforming our minds to truth and our wills to what is good."
Why so many Protestants do not consider Catholics Christian - "What would seem like a very complicated topic is in fact very simple. It can be broken down into two broad reasons..."
The Stumbling Block of Mary - "Unlike the rest of us lugs, Mary had a clean slate - so that she could serve both as a fitting model for us of the perfect Christian and the most holy of saints, and also so that she could serve as the only fitting mother of the Man Who was God.
Video: The Precise Moment an Atheist Finally Explains to Piers Morgan What It Means to Be Catholic -[You have got to watch this video. What kills me is that the atheist understands it better than the...eh-hem... "Catholic" does.]
Contraception and Celibacy - "What I am suggesting is that the self giving and service of the celibate priest may start to remind people of the true meaning of marriage. The true meaning of marriage is that it is a sacrament of self sacrifice and service."
In Defense of Marriage - "I believe we need to proclaim the good news about marriage, not just anew, but in a new way."
Ruling on Fetal Pain-Abortion Ban Could Lead to Supreme Court Battle - "An Idaho judge has struck down the law the state of Idaho approved that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the scientific evidence showing unborn children feel pain."
Top 10 Best Things About Rand Paul's Filibuster - [From VatholicVote...] "Here are my favorite things about the #StandwithRand phenomenon."
Capitalism and the Common Good - "...it seems to me that while some modifications may well be necessary – most of which would consist of eliminating rather than adding government to the mix – there is no better thing one can do for the world’s poor than to promote and defend capitalism, and no worse thing one can do than to attack it or refuse to understand it on its own terms"