Thursday, December 15, 2011

Catholic Q&A: Part 19

This post continues my series of short answers to common questions about Catholicism. For the previous parts in the series, see the "Catholic Q-A Series" blog label.

Why do people love the pope so much?

Well, I can only speak for myself here, but I know that I love the pope for many reasons. For one, I very much respect his intelligence of the faith. Pope Benedict XVI is a supremely learned man, very knowledgeable and wise. I can't say I've read a great many of his books, but what I have read has always impressed me greatly. In particular, The Spirit of the Liturgy, and his two-volume work on the life of Christ (Jesus of Nazareth) have been very influential in my life.

I also love the pope because he is my shepherd and I have confidence in him. I am thankful for the office of the papacy, that it exists as a sure guide and a sturdy foundation in my life as a Catholic. But, that this man in particular would fill this office is a real dream come true for me. When Pope John Paul II died, it was my hope that Ratzinger would take his place, but I never thought in a million years that it would actually happen. When it actually did, I was exceedingly happy. I knew that this was a man who could lead us in the right direction.

I love the pope, furthermore, for his devotion to the liturgy, to the "reform of the reform", to helping the Church to better realize the intention of the Council while at the same time embrace a "hermeneutic of continuity" in liturgy, and faith, and life with what has come before. In particular, I consider his work to make the Extraordinary Form more available and to complete the work of John Paul II in publishing the third edition of the Roman Missal to be extraordinary gifts to the Church.

Finally, I think he is a charming man. He's much more personable and accessible than I think anyone ever thought he would be. He is very "grandfatherly" and endearing to me. He is not quite the "star of the show" or the center of attention like JPII was, but instead has a sort of quiet confidence and calming effect on people. Of course, I've never met the man, so I'm not really sure what gives me that impression of him. Maybe it's his smile, or his German accent. At any rate, I can imagine sitting with him by a fire and just talking forever ... and I really like that about him.

What are the elements that enter in the interpretation on the Bible?

The quickest way to answer this question is to refer you to the following website: A Catholic Guide to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Many Worlds of Scripture with Faith, Reason and Praxis. The title may sound a little intimidating, but this site is actually quite accessible and it gives brief overviews of the various contexts and approaches to Scripture that are important for an authentic Catholic interpretation of the Bible.

What are the four Marian dogmas?

The four Marian dogmas state that:
  1. Mary is the Mother of God,
  2. she was conceived without the stain of original sin (and consequently committed no sins in her entire life),
  3. she remained a virgin before, during, and after the birth of Christ,
  4. she was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory
For more on the four Marian dogmas, see the "Mary" topical index page.

Do you have any commentary on the bread of life?

I'm assuming you are referring to the "Bread of Life" discourse in Jn 6. For Catholic commentary on this and the entire Gospel of John see my blog post: "Online Scripture Commentaries on St. John's Gospel".

Pax Christi,

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