I`m slowly getting thoughts together after Monday`s news of Pope Benedict`s resignation/abdication/retirement. It`s going to be a strange world without Joseph Ratzinger at the helm. I can`t remember when I first became aware of him but I know that by 1985 he`d become well known for the Ratzinger Report which had the temerity to point out that not everything in the post-conciliar garden was lovely. Such was the outrage that a number of profs at Ushaw were demanding that the book not be stocked in the seminary bookshop. I loved the book. I got myself an A4 photo of the cardinal and put it framed on my wall in seminary. Somehow I still got through.
Like many I was over the moon when he became pope and waited for what seemed an eternity for the document that would free the old Roman Rite. It is only disappointing that as pope Benedict never made a public appearance at an Extraordinary Form Mass. Still Summorum Pontificum is in the Church`s life now and isn`t going to disappear. Thank you again Holy Father.
I can`t get very excited about who will be the next pope. From an Extraordinary Form perspective Cardinal Raymond Burke would be most desirable. I remember him as a Rotal Judge when I was doing the canon law licence in Rome in 1990-92. Among the present college Cardinals Versaldi, Erdo, De Paulis and Coccopalmerio all taught us at the Greg. in those days. Having one of them as pope would be interesting but I really can`t get that too motivated by any of the prospects: not like last time when I was praying it would be Ratzinger.
Finally we saw spontaneous applause for the Pope at the end of Mass yesterday in St Peter`s. I immediately thought as I`m sure many others did of this passage in The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Ratzinger:
"Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. " (Spirit of the Liturgy p. 198)
I just wondered whether he was thinking `Why do they not take any notice of what I say?`