March 13, 2013 4:59 PM
… watching the coverage of the last few days during the transition from Pope Benedict XVI to Francis I makes one think of larger concepts. While the capital letter “C” version of Catholic refers to a particular denomination of Christianity, the lower case “c” version of the word simply means “universal.”
Some commentators have remarked that the world is increasingly secular but I do not see the world as, therefore, being less spiritual. Persons who seek meaning in supernatural phenomena (from ghosts to ancient astronauts) or in alternative systems of belief, from Wiccan to Scientologist, indicate to me that there is still a search for universal truths and lessons.
When Pope Francis asked the throng to pray for him and with him, it made me recall Ronald Reagan’s acceptance speech at the 1980 Republican convention, which also concluded with him asking the crowd to pray for him and with him. In that era, the Cold War was won by an interesting group of individuals: Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa and Pope John Paul II. What held those disparate individuals together?
I believe that they all had a shared certainty that there are “universal” values of right and wrong, of good and evil, that transcend nationality or sect. It was the Catholic clergy who preserved the classic knowledge and philosophy of ancient Greece and Rome that undergirds modern philosophy. This connection cannot be underestimated.
I do not have any intention to change from Lutheran to Catholic but I can certainly respect and value the moral example set by the leaders of all great faiths and movements because that informs our behaviors as individuals and communities, businesses and governments. If today’s ceremonies at least make people discuss and think of such things, then the time devoted to its coverage was well worth it.