Why Benedict?

(Homily Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A)

Our first reading describes a sequence of events which would be repeated in Church history: an intense, ecstatic experience of God that becomes incorporated into the broader community. When the Deacon Philip announced Christ to the Samaritans, they were freed from unclean spirits, paralysis and various diseases. (Acts 8:7) This obviously provoked great joy. Word arrived at the Church’s center (Jerusalem) and two principal apostles, Peter and John, went to investigate. Judging that the experience was divine (not diabolic or merely human) the apostles laid hands on them bringing an further outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (v.17)

Our new pope made an intriguing comment on how things which first appear strange can become integrated into the life of the Church, giving it new vigor. His reflection is particularly interesting in light of the name he chose:

“I am quite sure that the Church will not lack creative energies even in the future. Think of late antiquity where St. Benedict probably wasn't noted at all. He was a dropout who came from noble Roman society and did something bizarre, something that later turned out to be the ‘ark on which the West survived.’” (Salt of the Earth)

This statement no doubt will surprise many people. Pope Benedict XVI has a well-earned reputation for being a careful, methodical theologian. The verse we heard in St. Peter’s letter describes his theological work: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope…” (I Pet 3:15) That gift of clearly and reasonably explaining the faith is something our new Holy Father brings to the Petrine ministry. At the same time, he is open to the new impulses of the Holy Spirit. He welcomes them, always assuming a proper discernment.

Jesus tells us, “I will not leave you orphans.” (Jn 15:18) With the old Roman Empire divided and decaying, Jesus raised up St. Benedict. Virtually unnoticed by his contemporaries, he laid the foundations for a new evangelization. The Benedictine communities slowly renewed Europe and set the stage for an explosion of new discoveries.* Jesus has given us a new Benedict. We cannot, however, expect one man to reverse our decadence and divisions. It depends on your response, and mine, to Jesus’ invitation:

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth. (v. 21)


*The European advances in printing, agriculture, navigation, astronomy, medicine, textual criticism, mathematics, literature, art, philosophy, political and economic sciences, etc., are inconceivable apart from the foundations laid by the monastic orders.

Spanish Version

From Archives (Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A):

2011 Homily: A Reason For Your Hope
2008: Not Leave You Orphans
2005: Why Benedict?
2002: I Don't Love Her Any More
1999: "If you love me..."

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Bulletin (Appeal, Pho Soup, Fr. Dan)


Bill O'Reilly: ‘The Catholic League hates me.’

the attack against the "Hardliner Pope" is not merely an attack against Roman Catholics but all Believers whatever their particular stripe. (I am an Evangelical minister serving in Flin Flon Mb. Canada.)

With the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the curtain has fallen on the long-running drama of the myth of "the spirit of Vatican II,"

Are Christians "terrified" of The DaVinci Code?

Dawn Eden on Planned Parenthood's Teenwire and its encouragement of adolescent sexual behavior

Getting to know Pope Benedict XVI . . .

"...[A] State which arrogates to itself the prerogative of defining which human beings are or are not the subject of rights, and which consequently grants to some the power to violate others' fundamental right to life, contradicts the democratic ideal to which it continues to appeal and undermines the very foundations on which it is built."

A Reason To Overturn Roe v. Wade That Is Not About Abortion

Abortion Clinic Workers Refuse To Help Mother Screaming to Save Live Child

pre-abortion counseling: an eye opening article about what abortion providers are thinking

Amy: Pro-life democrats unveil plan to reduce abortions

Fiddleback Chasuble Sightings

Bill Cork: A couple of depictions of the Pallium in the style recovered by Pope Benedict XVI:

Cafeteria is closed (also pictures of Father John Sistare's ordination by then Cardinal Ratzinger)

my bulletin column

SMV Bulletin (be patient - sometimes we have problems uploading)

Parish Picture Album

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Raymond Arroyo's Interview with Bill Donohue on John Jay Report