Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Okay, I'm totally lame so here it is:

In my bid to rival Martha and in an effort to get my own show on FoodTV, I'm starting a Jesuit cooking blog. This should be kind of fun and will reflect whatever it is I prepare for dinner on Sunday and Monday nights. As I conceive of it, I'll try to put up 2-3 recipes at a crack, reflecting the entire meal as I prepared it. The first post on a meal, therefore, will be on Sunday evening. I'll even try to include "audience response" from those who had to consume my creations!

Maybe, if I'm really good, our new Holy Father will invite me to be his personal chef and I'll have access to the secret Vatican archives of recipes. I hear they have in their possession the recipe for healthy desserts (like triple chocolate fudge cake that has no calories).

Since I was bored this afternoon, I surfed the net and read all sorts of blogs concerning the election of Ratzinger to pope. To be truthful, I can't say that I'm doing a dance of jubilation, but I have more hope today than I did yesterday. He is an undeniably bright man who brings a wealth of experience to the papacy. I'd personally have liked someone with more pastoral experience, perhaps one who'd not been in a bureaucratic position for the past quarter century. Nonetheless, he is our pope and we ought to give him the benefit of the doubt, no matter how great or well informed our doubt is.

This sounds like a great reversal, particularly coming from me. But I reckon that our church has weathered the storms of the Borgias, of the Avignon papacy, a slew of depraved pontificates, and a host of other difficulties. And yet, the church perdures. The church is much larger than the pope and, as I'm apt to say, what's the worst that can happen? If he's the worst pope we have ever had, well, then the next one will be better. If he is a mediocre leader, he'll leave us no worse for the wear. Or, hopefully, he will guide us further as the pilgrim church in our on-going realization of our identity as the people of God.

A good friend wrote and asked if the election of Ratzinger would lead me to leave the Jesuits. My answer is no. And this is my reason, short and sweet: I joined the Jesuits because some of the most profound role-models I've had were Jesuits and, in and through them, I encountered the presence of Christ who I have discerned to be calling me to this lifestyle. I did not join the Society of Jesus because I thought that Pope John Paull II was neat-o. I did not join because I wanted to change the church, to expel liberals, or to bolster conservatives. I joined because I felt called to use what few talents and abilities I have to be a co-laborer with Christ for the Kingdom. I have a sense of what that Kingdom might look like, but I trust that I'll be able to look to our fellow laborers - particularly our leadership - and see in them the active discernment and unfolding achievement of God's reign on earth.

In my heart, I think the smug responses I read today about how "Ratzinger will now route all liberal heretics" are misplaced and really inappropriate. Though it may sound hypocritical (particularly given my initial reaction to learning of his election) I think that we should all give him a chance to discern how the Holy Spirit is moving in his life and in his ability to see the Spirit in the life of the church. John XXIII was to be a transitional pope and he accomplished marvelous things; it took the death of a close friend to open the eyes of Oscar Romero to the atrocities surrounding him, galvanizing him to a life of martyrdom - of true witness to the gospel - that led to his execution while celebrating the Eucharist. The same Spirit that guided these men, and countless women and men throughout the ages, guides our church and our pope...and it is this that gives me hope.

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