Monday, February 16, 2009

Four little stories told by Fr. Richard Neuhaus

These were rattling around in my brain today and I thought I'd blog them down. They concern three folks who've recently passed away and one who, thank God, is very much alive.

Avery Cardinal Dulles tells of saying Mass in a parish that had a big banner by the altar emblazoned with the message, "God is Other People." He says he very much wished that he had had a magic marker with which to put a big comma after "Other." But that, he notes, was more than twenty years ago.

from Catholic Matters

In 1997, John Paul the Great appointed me a delegate to a synod in Rome. On the concluding day of the synod, I was seated at lunch between John Cardinal O'Connor and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. In the midst of lively conversation about many things, I was suddenly moved to say how grateful I was that I had come into the church at a time when I could have John O'Connor as my bishop and Joseph Ratzinger heading the Church's office of doctrine. They were a bit embarrassed by my outburst, as was I, but it seemed like the thing to say at the moment. Some months later, I related that conversation to John Paul. He smiled in his mischievous way and said, "So, you are not grateful for your pope?"

from Catholic Matters

A friend calls it "the magic kingdom." He means Vatican City and, more particularly, the Apostolic Palace within Vatican City. That's where the pope lives, along with some senior members of the Curia and the staff, mainly composed of nuns, that takes care of their domestic needs. Some of the apartments are rather grand, with murals by Raphael and other Renaissance geniuses to be discovered in bathrooms and similarly unexpected places. "It isn't home, but it's much." That's a quip regularly offered by cardinals and archbishops when welcoming a guest to dinner.

First Things, August 2007

When during the O’Connor years I had occasion to meet with the pope, he would always ask, "How is Cardinal O’Connor?" And I would always say that Cardinal O’Connor is flourishing and is an inestimable gift to the Church. One time I went on to say, "You know what Cardinal O'Connor said the other day, Holy Father?" "No," he answered. "What did Cardinal O’Connor say?" "Cardinal O’Connor said that he gets up every morning and prays that he will go to bed that night without having discouraged any impulse of the Holy Spirit. Now isn’t that a beautiful thing for a bishop to say?" A pause of several seconds. "Yes," said the pope, "that is a beautiful thing for a bishop to say. I told him that."

First Things, January 2008

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