Saturday, April 09, 2005

We can be sure(?)

Cardinal Ratzinger is quoted (just about everywhere) as saying the following at the funeral of the Pope.
"We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that he sees and blesses us."
Normally, I just let people say whatever they want to say on occasions like this. But I've heard this line so often over the past few days, that I feel a need to speak out.

If this is a cry of anguish at the death of a dear friend and a beloved spiritual leader, so be it. But if that is the case, I wish Cardinal Ratzinger had been more direct in his words. He might have said something about his feelings of sorrow or pain. (Perhaps he did in the rest of his speech.) The quoted words (and they were probably the most widely quoted part of his speech) express neither pain nor grief. They seem to have a meaning, to have semantic content. That's what bothers me.

What does Cardinal Ratzinger mean when he says "The Father's House?" What does he mean when he says that John Paul II "is standing at" its window?

The Pope is dead. He is not standing anywhere. If these words are to be taken as having some sort of literal meaning, I have no idea what he means. If the intent is literal where is this house? How does he know that we can be sure? I'm certainly not sure.

If these words are to be taken metaphorically, I have no idea what the metaphor is and what it is supposed to mean.

To anyone who is offended by my reaction, please excuse me. I value your intent, which I believe is honorable, but I have very serious problems with your language.

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