Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sweet Christ on Earth

The conservative Catholic blog, Rorate Caeli, printed an excerpt from the speech Cardinal Sodano gave before Pope Benedict XVI on Easter Sunday.

The speech was in defiance of the allegations concerning the pope in this latest round of the homosexual pedophile clergy scandal, and the blog post excerpt came complete with this alarmingly hostile looking graphic.

Here's the excerpt:

Holy Father, the People of God is with you, [the People] who are not impressed by the idle gossip of each moment, or by the troubles that at times hurt the community of the faithful. Jesus, in fact, had told us: 'In this world you will have troubles,' immediately adding, 'but take heart! I have overcome the world'.

Last Thursday, in the Holy Mass for the benediction of the Holy Oils, Your Holiness edified us all by speaking of the goodness of God and recalling the inspired words of the first Bishop of Rome, the Apostle Peter, who described the attitude of Christ during his Passion with these words: 'When he was reviled, did not revile: when he suffered, he threatened not: but delivered himself to him that judged him unjustly' (I Peter ii, xxiii).

Holy Father, we will treasure your words. In this Paschal feast, we will pray that the Lord, the Good Shepherd, will keep supporting you in your mission at the service of the Church and of the world.

Happy Easter, Holy Father! Happy Easter, Sweet Christ on Earth! The Church is with you!

(You can watch and hear the speech on Youtube, here, although of course it's in Italian.)

The part of it that most interests the Orthodox is that phrase at the end, addressing the Pope as “Sweet Christ on Earth.” That’s a phrase originated, so far as I can determine, in the 14th Century by Catherine of Siena, she who took it upon herself to advise kings and popes, to disastrous effect, and died at 33 from over-fasting.

“Sweet Christ on Earth.” This deals a much bigger blow to ecumenical relations with the Orthodox than the current scandal does. Apparently people who use this phrase consider the original Christ tucked conveniently out of the way in heaven, where He minds His heavenly business, leaving earthly affairs to his alleged Vicar, the pope. This notion is also what makes possible the Catholic doctrine In Persona Christi Capitis which says that the priest, during sacraments, stands in the Person of Christ the Head [of the Church].   Laity act as members of the Body of Christ, while clergy act as the Head.

Dear Catholics, please reconsider. Nobody, nobody at all, can stand in Christ’s place or stead or act in His Person. The simple reason is, He Himself is still acting in His own Person. He Himself is still standing in His own place. His place is not open to anybody else. He is alive and well upon this earth and walks among us and leads His Church Himself, in Person, directly, even if invisibly. He alone is our Head.  It is blasphemous to suppose anybody else worthy or capable of filling His place on earth, or standing in His Person, any more than someone could in heaven.   It isn’t as though Christ were replaceable here or there.

Our Sweet Christ on Earth is the very same divine-human Person as Our Sweet Christ in Heaven, and it isn't any pope, but the One born of Mary who died upon the Cross, conquered death, and rose on the Third Day.

P.S.)  I don't know that I like this website in general, but here is its page of Catholic quotes to the same effect as "Sweet Christ on Earth" that may be of use and/or of interest.


margaret said...

Agreed. Totally.

DebD said...

I agree too... but Peter being the first pope of Rome caught my eye too. However, in many ways these are merely words and a way of speech. How do we know how strongly such sentiment it held among the congregation? But, when I *see* the types of worship that some (many?) in their midst perform I am aghast.

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...


I have several very dear Catholic friends, but oh boy, I am so very, very glad I am Orthodox !