Written by Sherry
Monday, 18 March 2013 11:11
A little essay on PCSD (Post Conclave Stress Disorder)
One of the things that genuinely shocked me after Pope John Paul II’s death, was the emergence of not just criticism for his decisions, but of out and out, open, explicit contempt for him, his “style”, his personality, his extroversion, etc. Since JP was the only Pope I’d ever known and I had identified with him, it really shook me up. Were all the expressions of respect and grief that attended his death just an elaborate show?
But over the past few years, I found myself thinking, I’ll bet the same phenomena is going to happen when Benedict dies and how will all the B16 fans deal with it?
Of course, the internet has *greatly* exaggerated – made more in-your-face and immediate – this very human dynamic. Our access to social media has exaggerated our sense of identification with the personality, style, and decisions of a particular Pope and makes it so much easier to think of THIS particular man as the embodiment of our personal faith. I had a better view of Pope Benedict’s face as he left the Vatican for the last time – while seated at my desktop in Colorado Springs – than I could have had if I had been standing in Rome a mere 20 feet away!
Despite everything, I keep hoping I’ll encounter a reservoir of genuine trust in the Holy Spirit and genuine docility to the person that the Cardinals elect but at a human level, when a particular human being has been our real center, it is very difficult to adapt.
That’s why I am finding Pope Francis’ reminder so helpful right now:
“Christ is the Church’s Pastor, but his presence in history passes through the freedom of human beings; from their midst one is chosen to serve as his Vicar, the Successor of the Apostle Peter. Yet Christ remains the centre, not the Sucessor of Peter: Christ, Christ is the centre. Christ is the fundamental point of reference, the heart of the Church. Without him, Peter and the Church would not exist or have reason to exist.”
If I am first a “JPII” Catholic or a “B16" or a “F1” Catholic, I’ve already lost my moorings and I’m heading for a fall. If I am first a Traditionalist” or “progressive” Catholic, I’ve lost my moorings and I’m heading for a fall.
If I am FIRST and always one who is following Jesus Christ in the midst of his Church; if Jesus Christ truly is my center, my "Vine" – then the deepest, most profound root of all will anchor me as Popes – and the change that inevitably comes with each new pontiff – come and go.