The Power Of The Church.
Everyone of us knows it very well: the secular troops hate the Church, because She reminds them of their own sinfulness and wickedness and they just hate it. They react by slandering Her, and obsessively harping about certain issues – say, child abuse – as if they were the Church’s speciality, or invention.
They also criticise, together with the Protestants, Her pomp and splendour; all her rites and ceremonies, all the gestures and symbols they cannot understand, but feel free to condemn.
Still, neither the secular not the heretics can escape the profound fascination the Church wields over them, both as an institution and in Her solemn ways.
A Pope resigns, and the world holds its breath. Atheist broadcasters like the BBC report about the matter every day, even when there is pretty much nothing to report. They criticise Her daily, of course; but there they are, all of them, like a boy unable to detach himself from the gaming console.
And there you have it all, every day, on press and Internet and TV. The pomp, the splendour, the men in red, the history, the Swiss Guards, the rituals and traditions, even the chimney! Nothing escapes the curious gaze of the “critical” observers, caught in the bann of a greater Truth they don’t want to recognise, but they all know is there.
Everyone knows something very, very special is happening; everyone understands on occasions like this – though they don’t say so explicitly – how authentically unique the Church is. They soak everything in, the Cardinals and the Swiss Guards, the history, the suspense, the aura of superior self-assuredness, the clear feeling this is an institution that has buried Empires, and will be there when the United States are no more than a short mention in the history books. This, too, they do not say; but sure as hell they feel it, as do their viewers and readers.
It is an irony of life that Catholics aren’t fascinated in the least by Protestant ceremonies, or attracted by their institutions. Catholics often don’t even know the difference between a Baptist and a Methodist, because proddie sects are simply irrelevant to them; nor are they interested in the least when some strange Lutheran grouping elects their strange Lutheran leaders. But the world will hold its breath on Tuesday, and be assured even the cameras of the BBC will be pointed on the chimney, and everyone will try too see if the smoke is white (it often takes a while, to get the smoke white), until they hear the bells storming; then they will know, they will feel that history is in the making…
And they will be there, the journalists as well as the viewers. Atheists, agnostics, Proddies, all of them. Like boys at the gaming console.
This, my friends, is just another small token of the power of the Church.