Thursday, October 11, 2018

A first in the history of Synods

What do you do when you are trying to get to your seat in the Synod hall and the Pope is blocking your way?

Why you get out your camera of course! Especially when he is busy chatting with the first two bishops from mainland China to come to a Synod since the Communist takeover in 1949.

The two bishops in question had brought pectoral crosses and episcopal rings that they asked the Pope to bless for them. I caught that moment here:

Not my best picture, but historic nonetheless. I have to thank the official Papal photographer who saw what I was trying to do and allowed me to get in close, even moving aside to give me a bit better angle.

Some have questioned if it was wise for the Pope to sign the agreement with the Chinese government that recognized a role for the Communist party in the selection of bishops in mainland China. This is a serious point, and I for one would like to see the text of the actual agreement that was signed before completing my own thoughts on the matter. I am generally opposed to governments interfering in the selection of successors of the Apostles -- after all, Jesus picked Peter and the rest of the Twelve freely, no one forced him to consult Herod or Pontius Pilate first (thank goodness). Still, a similar sounding agreement has been in place in Vietnam for years (also run by Communists) and has permitted a certain freedom to the Church there. So I am of two minds on the matter.

There is no question in my mind about one thing, mind you: these two bishops were genuinely delighted and touched to be so close to the Pope. They know how rare this chance is, and I have to believe that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Unity, will touch their hearts as they head back home and share the experience with their brother bishops.

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