7 February 2017

Prezzy! ... and a NEW IDEA ... ADOPT A POPE!!!!!

May I use this post to thank Dr Riccardo Turrini Vita, sometime President of Una Voce Italia, for the most wonderful present of a volume containing a full set of reproductions of the beautiful maps of Rome (La Nova Topografia di Roma) published in 1748 by Giambattista Nolli. The volume was dedicated alla Santita di Nostro Signore Papa Benedetto XIV. Prospero Lambertini, no less!

It has put into my mind something which, in these depressing days, I rather think might be an entirely new idea among all the endless repetitions of what has been said twenty times before. Really new!!! Let me explain.

Many people, including not a few who do me the honour of writing to me, are profoundly depressed, even disorientated, by this sad and dysfunctional pontificate. Many are angry; many feel themselves driven almost to the point of losing their Faith. And the signs are that things may get even worse.

One gigantic casualty has been the great respect which decent orthodox Catholics instinctively have for the person (not just the position) of the Roman Pontiff. This is a disastrous loss to the Church. And the tragedy is made all the worse by the probability that, however orthodox and ortholalic and orthopractic the next pope is, recovery of that almost automatic respect and love will be a lengthy business.

My NEW IDEA? ADOPT A POPE!! Choose a pope of some past time, and really get to know him. Wikipedia is not always either accurate or balanced, but, in its rough and ready way, it does provide masses of material to millions who cannot access an academic library. And links can be found to the fine old Catholic Encyclopaedia. Read about your chosen, adopted pope! Follow up the blue links! Find out what his birthplace, the places he lived in, and Rome itself, were like in his time. Read about the doctrinal, political, cultural controversies he was involved in.

I hope you get the idea. The process will remind you of a happier, saner, Rome in times when the Roman Pontiff was a sound and reliable breakwater, remora, against error. And, perhaps, put up the odd fine building or two! What was Christian iconography (sculpture, paintings ...) like in his time? And, I pray, you will discover afresh the reasons why Christian people, ever since the Martyrdom of S Peter, have loved to go to Rome and cry Viva il Papa! God bless our Pope, the Great, the Good! Essentially, it is the immense joy of knowing that 'Peter is speaking through Leo', as the Fathers put it. It is a sense of the Soliditas Petri, a Leonine phrase of which non-Latinists will have no trouble guessing the meaning.

Yes; I know many of you are busy people. But, if you are unbusy, otiosi, enough to devote time to grumbling and to worrying and to disliking, you have time you can reallocate to ADOPTING A POPE!

[Er ... it has just occurred to me ... perhaps better not choose Liberius and Vigilius and Honorius, or not for starters! Nor Alexander VI and the Marosia popes of the first millennium! But ... for example ... John XXII was a very fine pope, even if he did espouse an opinion subsequently found to be heretical.]


 ADOPT A POPE! ADOPT A POPE! ADOPT A POPE! ADOPT A POPE! ADOPT A POPE!



14 comments:

philipjohnson said...

Pope Pius x Father!

Marco da Vinha said...

As a novice benedictine oblate I've been named after Gregory VII, so I've already had to "adopt" him.

Fr PJM said...

Alexander vi gave us the final form of the Angelus, the bells for it, the praying of it three times a day. Viva il papa !

John Fannon said...

As you know Father, you and I are so far the only known members of the John XXII fan club but this post might bring others into our cognaissance.

Stephen said...

May I suggest a thought to make lemonade out of this lemon of a Papacy? Specifically, that it may not be altogether an entirely bad thing that the laity think less of both the office of the Papacy and the Pope, if as an offset the laity think and act more about their duties, rights and responsibilities regarding the guardianship of the deposit of faith, especially with regards to corporate and public acts of prayer.

The underlying premise is that, as the clergy and bishops aggregated more ownership of these acts to themselves lo these past several hundred years, this came quite pointedly at the expense of the laity's sense of ownership to the same. I don't recall much use of the term Magisterium in the first millenium, for example, but it's use, or overuse, in the 20th century served as one of many battering rams to push through any number of less than savory innovations.

So perhaps the reverse is underway. If the laity rediscover their unused muscles, may they serve as a check on the innovative impulses of the ordained in power.

Capt. Morgan said...

Excellent idea. Thank you Father. Oh, if you do not know the website, http://www.papalencyclicals.net/ is a great resource.

Hold Fast!

umblepie said...


Great idea Father. I would very much like to adopt Pope Pius XI, and have read one book which concentrated on the politics of the world during his pontificate, and his efforts at peace-making, but relates little or nothing about his personality, his personal life, and events within the Church. I think several excellent books have been written, but all in Italian, few if any in English, or translated into English. Can you recommend suitable reading (in English)? Thank you.

Kathleen1031 said...

I wrote a paragraph, then deleted it because it was too depressing.
Thank you Fr. Hunwicke. It is actually a good idea to read up on a good pope to remind ourselves what one looks and sounds like.

Savonarola said...

Here's a better idea. Really get to know God, because those who really know God don't bother much about popes or worry about the state of the Church or the world (they always were going to the dogs). Knowing God their life is too rich for them to waste time on distractions.

Christopher Boegel said...

St. Gregory the Great (590 - 604 AD)

Patron of our beautiful Catholuc Chant. Patron of sacred art that produced the beautiful Icon "Christ Pontokrator" in the Monastery of Sinai. 1st to call his role "Servant of the servants of the Lord." Beloved pontiff from the Eastern Church. A"time-lord" - as giver of our Gregorian calendar.

Leila said...

I already have done this -- at least three! Benedict XVI, whom our whole family met in Rome in the Jubilee Year of 2000 when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, and we have a picture with him. He said "the whole family on pilgrimage! Beautiful!"
And Pius XI, who was as holy and super smart as could be, and Pius XII, author of the prescient and incisive Mediator Dei, perspicacious to the last, at whose tomb we prayed this past summer, most fervently, for help for his church...
And St. Gregory the Great, the Pope beloved by Orthodox, Protestants, and Catholics alike... pray for us!

Paulmclarke5 said...

Pope Leo 13th for me then!

A Daughter of Mary said...

What a wonderful idea, Father, thank you. I might choose Leo XIII as he is quite recent, with lots of material available, and his writings are so many, so clear, and so prophetic.

Bruvver Eccles said...

Yes, I had this idea few years ago, when my spelling was not so good.
http://ecclesandbosco.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/adopt-pope.html