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Roman Journal: Part Five, A View From the Palace

May 7, 2011



One more post on my last day here in Rome. 

I had the interesting experience yesterday of visiting the Papal Palace, as it is called, also called the Apostolic Palace or the Palace of Sixtus V.  Really, it is a vast series of buildings from which much of the administration of the Roman Catholic Church is handled, and only a small portion of which is actually the residence of the Pope. These buildings form a maze of various styles completed over the centuries: medieval, renaissance, baroque, neo-classical, there are even elements of ancient Roman architecture.


Along with several dozen other people I had the privilege of an audience with the Pope.  He spoke to us briefly and then greeted each of us. And in turn I extended to him the best wishes and prayers of the people of Nativity. He is obviously a very kind man, and also I think very shy. Of course everyone knows he’s brilliant too, so that is a nice combination. 


Despite the problems in the Church and the challenges she is facing, it is hard to be in this setting, splendid as it is, listening to this man, and not be impressed. In fact, I would say I walked away with renewed enthusiasm and excitement to be a part of the Roman Catholic Church. We belong to a world wide Church with a two thousand year tradition solidly based on the foundation of the apostolic teaching and Scripture; we are the stewards of the Eucharist and the other Sacraments, we enjoy the “fulness of faith.”  And here, with the Pope, is a reminder of the Magisterium of the Church, the authentic teaching office of the successors of the apostles, through which we believe the Spirit can work, authentically guiding the Christian community in the way of truth.  We have a pretty nice art collection too.


Historically, we are a deeply flawed group of people (beginning with Peter himself) who the Lord has promised to work through, when we are turned to him and humble and obedient to his direction.  Currently, we are a community in need of a renewed sense of direction, enthusiasm and fresh purpose. And there is no reason why we can’t rise to the challenge. We can make our ancient and venerable faith relevant in our community. Once again, as the apostles did in their day, we too can change people’s lives with the life changing message of the gospel. In our generation we can make famous the name of the Lord Jesus.  


As Catholics we know that is given direction from the palace, but it doesn’t happen in the palace, it happens in the pew, it’s up to you.














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