11 February 2013

The Church Carries On; Or, [Sacramental] Business as Usual

I remember the final question of my oral examination for the Survey of Canon Law class at the conclusion of my first semester of the theology.

(And I'm paraphrasing)

Professor: Matt, I don't know if we talked about this, but, upon the death of a pope, what apparatus of the Vatican remains open? 
Me: The Apostolic Penitentiary. 
Professor: Why? 
Me: Because the death of a pope cannot and should not impede the forgiveness of sins of the People of God. 
(So, I've dressed things up a bit, but you get the drift; and I damn well got the question correct.)

This is an anecdotal way of pointing out that the life and ministry of the Church will continue, regardless of whom is elected pope, for no other reason than the fact that the Holy Spirit wishes the Church to continue.  That's it.  That's all.

And so, masses will continue, works of mercy completed, sins forgiven, the sick visited, the hungry fed: all of it will go on.

And the Apostolic Penitentiary too.

This will all happen, because of the fundamental trajectory of the Church and Her members: it is toward God, converging upon Jesus, the Christ of God.

So: we pray for Pope Benedict, his successor and those who will be involved in the conclave.

But today, most of all, let's pray that for all of us in the bark of Peter, it is business as usual.

1 comment:

Arlen Harris said...

Sounds like a good homily brewing...