My Name Day. Am I the only person who observes his Name Day with more enthusiasm than his birthday? Today I plan to say the Johannine Mysteries of the Holy Rosary (The Annunciation to Zacharias; The Visitation; The Nativity of S JB; The Lord's Baptism; The Decollation). Incidentally, without in the least wishing to denigrate the cult of Great S Joseph the Patriarch, I do rather feel that in our Counter-Reformation Latin Christian culture it has slightly overshadowed the perhaps more primitive and ecumenical cult of S John Baptist, the greatest of the Old Covenant and a reminder of our kinship with the People of the Prophets.
The Calendar now offers us an interesting week.
I think we have the anniversary of the Econe Consecrations; so we pray for bishops, priests and seminarians of the SSPX and their lay adherents. And for Benedict XVI who extended such a generous hand of reconciliation to them, as he did to us Anglicans. I suspect it is not always realised what an agony it must all have been for him. On the one hand, he felt it his duty to attempt a collegial and consensual exercise of the Petrine Ministry with his Venerable Brethren, and, on the other hand, he believed (as he said after his inauguration) that he, before all others, will be asked to give an account of what he has done for Christian Unity.
We know how many of his own Bishops were doubtful or worse about his initiatives to Lefebvreists or to Catholic Anglicans; we remember how, as Cardinal Ratzinger, he observed in the early 1990s 'What are the [English RC] bishops so afraid of?'
'Christian Unity' is an automatic, axiomatic Good that all right-thinking Christians automatically and axiomatically favour ... except that, sadly, they don't. Because all we fallen human beings are very acutely nervous about the wrong sort of Unity, and Unity with the wrong sort of people. Remember the true story about the Jesuit who was asked "Why don't you like the Ordinariates? We thought you favoured Unity with Anglicans?" and who wailed in reply "But they're the wrong sort of Anglicans!!
And so we have had to endure PF with his Liturgy wars.
We have had to watch him playing out a sort of Toddler Ecumenism by kissing Patriarchs who ... embarrassingly ... can't even manage to stay in communion with each other.
Just as PF himself expresses so often his own intolerance of fellow Catholics.