Sunday, December 26, 2010
Perhaps more people would “know and hear” the pope’s voice as a shepherd if he dressed more like one?
I don’t usually write multiple blog postings in a day. Today I must make an exception after reading the following passage about Pope Benedict’s Christmas 2010 papal address, Urbi et Orbi (Latin for “To the city and the world”). His address focused on Christian suffering around the world due to recent violent attacks on Catholics in places like Baghdad, as well as China’s church and state conflict.
“Bundled up in an ermine trimmed crimson cape against a chilly rain, he delivered his assessment of world suffering from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.”
Likely the pope also wore his red shoes, cobbled by his personal shoemaker.
How credible does a multi-millionaire author with his own personal shoemaker seem discussing world suffering while dressed in ermine (a fur costing $30,000 - $60,000), standing on a balcony, in a walled city, 1,800 miles from the sufferings in Baghdad and over 5,000 miles from the strife in China?
Vatican City is one of six remaining absolute monarchies in the world. The others are Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland. That’s an interesting list of countries sharing similar governmental structures.
Vatican City’s 2008 annual revenues were approximately $351 Million, averaging well over $425,000 for each of its 826 citizens. This compares with the U.S.’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $14.834 Trillion or an average of about $48,000 per its 307 million citizens. The U.S.’s material blessings pale in comparison to that of the Vatican.
Perhaps more people would “know and hear” the pope’s voice as a shepherd if he dressed more like one? Perhaps people would more easily see Christ in him if he conducted himself more like Jesus, a homeless, itinerant preacher who lived amidst the world’s sufferings, rather than as a monarch with his own city-state, fleet of private vehicles, personal shoemaker and fur wraps who must schedule appointments periodically to gain exposure to the world’s sufferings?
Granted the pope does donate some of his book royalties to charity, his own foundation, "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI". The foundation’s, “goal is to promote the study of Joseph Ratzinger's theology and spirituality, propagating his ideas in the Church and society, and ensuring they are absorbed.” Maybe people would find the Vicar of Christ more credible if his foundation’s stated goal focused on theology in the “spirit of Christ” instead of himself?