''Urbi et Orbi''

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Posted by HSG on April 15, 2005 at 16:15:14:

In Reply to: Re: Requiescant in pace posted by Emily on April 03, 2005 at 03:44:13:

Perhaps the most surprising phenomenon that took place in the wake of the Pope's death was the relatively high degree of reverence that the mass media accorded both him, and his memory.

It has become so commonplace for the media to engage in jejune, self-congratulatory mockery of anything venerable in our society, that to see the fifth estate acknowledging the grandeur and solemnity of the Pope's funeral mass was rather a surprise.

Why did the media adopt such an unexpectedly reverential attitude? Some commentators have speculated that this occurred because, during his lifetime, this Pope tried to reconcile with the media, in a way that none of his predecessors had ever done before. The tone that the media adopted during his funeral was therefore a display of gratitude for his efforts.

Others have suggested that perhaps there was a sense of authenticity about the man that was refreshing to the members of an industry that deals primarily in shallow artifice.

But perhaps what really impressed itself on the minds of many reporters--as it did on most viewers, regardless of their own spiritual predilections--was the sheer aesthetic impact of the solemn ritual surrounding his death and burial itself.

The grand, dignified rite of the funeral mass seemed like a resurrected drama from another time, a fragment of history brought to life, an ancient ritual playing itself out before the eyes of the modern world. It inspired awe in much in the same manner that the sight of a great cathedral can overwhelm even the most agnostic of travellers.

Cardinal Ratzinger's searching homily identified the Pontiff as the inheritor of a mighty tradition that stretches back to the dawn of Western culture, and presented Karol Wojtyla as a living conduit of those potent historical forces.

The parallel, therefore, with our usual topic of discussion is clear: The impact that this event had on even the most jaded of contemporary audiences reveals how much power still remains in the living traditions that we have inherited from past generations. And therefore, it is little wonder that the proponents of utilitarian modernity feel threatened by the timeless legacies of Western culture--and little wonder that they fight so hard to suppress those legacies.

Simon Vouet, Mary Magdalen Repentant c.1630:

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