Archive for February, 2013

Papabili–Cast Your Vote Here

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Do you have a pick for the new Bishop of Rome? If you’re not a cardinal, you can still vote. Just comment on this post.

You can either vote for someone you think will win–or for someone you want to win.

My own guess of who will win would be Cardinal Scola of Milan. —J. Douglas Ousley


The Holy Spirit and the Episcopal Church

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

“At the 77th General Convention, the Holy Spirit called The Episcopal Church to reimagine itself and how it can more deeply live into its identity in our rapidly changing world.”

This will be news to some, if not most, Episcopalians. Some may wonder what it means to more deeply live into one’s identity.

Be that as it may, a little Episcopal re-imagining would certainly be welcome. And the national church leaders have come up with a task force to do just that; the quotation above trumpets the initial meeting of the group.

The members are now working out an “engagement strategy.” As someone who recently became engaged myself, I couldn’t help but applaud this idea. A little strategy would help, too. And although few members of the Task Force appear to be prominent theologians or church leaders, we may be grateful that they are invoking the help of the Holy Spirit. 

As we re-imagine ourselves, we might also employ another invocation, from the Great Litany: “Good Lord, deliver us.” —J. Douglas Ousley


Servant of the Servants of God Serves No Longer

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

When I lived in Rome, I met Pope John Paul II on numerous occasions, but the only time I ever heard Pope Benedict was in the 1980’s. Then he was Cardinal Ratzinger, and he was giving a lecture when he was suddenly interrupted by a group of AIDS activists. The packed hall was convulsed; eventually, the protestors were escorted out and the lecture continued.

The event could be seen as symbolic of the rest of Ratzinger’s career, where events not of his own making and beyond his control interfered with the ministry he would have liked to have had.

Others can comment on his leadership or lack of same. I have only two remarks: first, it must have been very hard to follow someone with such magnetic appeal. John Paul was the only person I have ever met to have radiated charisma in the true sense of that term: spiritual appeal. Second, Benedict’s papal actions such as dealing with the sex scandals have distracted the public from the excellent books he has recently published on Jesus. Wide-ranging, scholarly yet lucid, modern yet traditional, they are landmarks of biblical theology that all Christians can appreciate. They are perhaps Benedict’s most valuable legacy. —J. Douglas Ousley