Throughout Christendom, this is the week of weeks, the celebration of the "fullness of time" when Jesus Christ went to Jerusalem, taught (and, you could say, taunted) in the temple courts, instituted his Holy Supper, and then proceeded to be put to death "for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2), to be raised again on a Sunday morning.
However, something about this week seems to bring out the wackos. This year they are specializing in wacking Pope Benedict, for his alleged crimes vis a vis the priest sex abuse scandals. While not wanting to reduce in any way the severity of these crimes, I have read in the past few days a couple of articles that defend Ratzinger/Benedict from the misinformation afloat out there. They are, in fairness worth a read. At least one may also be eyebrow raising for old, settled, staid Lutherans (I've not been one long enough to be staid, but I'm old and settled).
The first, from Logia magazine is entitled
by John Stephenson of St. Catherine's seminary in Canada. He does a wonderful job of revisiting the career of Ratzinger, and gives us confessional Lutherans this rather nice quote:
Stephenson doesn't mince words, but I find his article a balancing act against what you'll find in what he calls the "quality" press.
The second article is a more direct defense of the NYT article cited above. It is written by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Again, a balancing read if all you've seen is the Times article and its trickle-downs. He begins:
In our melting pot of peoples, languages and backgrounds, Americans are not noted as examples of “high” culture. But we can take pride as a rule in our passion for fairness. In the Vatican where I currently work, my colleagues – whether fellow cardinals at meetings or officials in my office – come from many different countries, continents and cultures. As I write this response today (March 26, 2010) I have had to admit to them that I am not proud of America’s newspaper of record, the New York Times, as a paragon of fairness.
May your Maundy Thursday be yeastless, and your Easter full of rediscovered joy at the peculiar, surprising story of God-become-man, and his deeds of redemption for us, for us, for all of us.