Sunday, April 20, 2008

the pope in new york

this is the best i got. (that's Benedict in the popemobile.) as you can see, people were freaking out. it was kind of like mardi gras, only he was throwing rosaries instead of beads... (thanks for that one, becca.)

but seriously, it was kind of cool to see how much people were inspired to come out and see him, even if only for 6 seconds (like we did). there was a wide diversity of people around us (we were across from the apple store at 59th and 5th) - tourists and locals, nuns and lay people, young and old. people were holding up banners announcing their pilgrimmages from at least several states away. other people were holding up banners proclaiming that "jesus is the 1 true way" and that catholics were going to hell. enterprising old men were selling homemade buttons at $5 a pop. a short hispanic woman kept elbowing me in the back for a better view. there was an insane amount of police, and about 5 ambulances and several SUVs full of people with sniper rifles, i guess just in case anything happened. but the mood was like a big party, and everyone went straight for the grassy lawns in central park after he went by to enjoy the nice weather, satisfied by their experience.

i didn't really know what to make of it all for myself. Although my heart did beat a bit faster as he approached, I felt nothing of the intense personal connection that I felt at the easter sunday mass in Rome with John Paul seven years ago. (to be fair, you can hardly compare the two experiences). Maybe it's because I don't find this pope that particularly spiritually inspiring. It's kind of like going to the library with an old college professor. Maybe its because I was hoping for another John Paul (which I think is impossible), or a pope from Africa, or Latin America (the two fastest growing Catholic regions). But, this pope did make an address to the UN this week (1st time a pope has done this) on the need for an increased focus on human rights as the unifying force between cultures - just as he was denied a meeting earlier in the week with a muslim-american group. So it's not ideal. And there's so many issues that are being left unaddressed, like the role of women, birth control-AIDS, and the church's position on homosexuality. If those aren't human rights, I don't know what is. Maybe Benedict's speech at the UN was a start - only sometimes in the Catholic Church, "a start" could take 400 years. I want my faith to be more dynamic, more life-giving than that.


daniloandjaclyn said...

Off the subject...but I had to comment somewhere!! Anyway, you guys should check this out..I went to an Earthday fest in Atlanta and learned about these new toliets..may be a good new addition to the "green" house in the next couple of years!

Catherine said...

Eric--how are ya? I had the same mixed feelings about the Pope in DC. Anywho, I thought of you this weekend while on a retreat. There were a couple other former JVs. Hope you're doing well

Jennifer said...

Eric! Patrick and I got our 2.5 year anniversary photos today...on the exact day :) Thank you so much for thinking of us in a creative, personal way! :) We love them! Already have one in the wedding gift frame!
Thanks again big meant a lot!
Love you!!

becca said...

nicole and i met a guy from mexico on the bus. he is in the seminary and came with many of his brothers to see the pope. i think he was the happiest person i have ever met. then i saw him again at the airport and we had about an hour dicussion about religion, faith, etc. then he left to get something to eat, and be got me a bottle of water! he was a nice little priest in training.