Pope Gregory XVI: The Only Man for the Job

Taylor, I am glad you brought this up because it is an issue I have been thinking about a lot. It irks me when I hear the rhetoric, even by cardinals, about him being a transitional Pope. He is the Pope, end of story. This is not a political party or even a country. This is the leader of the largest Christian denomination in the world. He has been chosen by God and God works in mysterious ways. To illustrate this point, lets talk about unlikely saints and “reluctant servants” for a moment.

Augustine of Hippo was born to a devout christian mother. He was well educated and reckless, given to drunkenness, licentiousness, and heresy. He was part of the Manichean heresy. Well, many years later Augustine of Hippo became Saint Augustine. At age 32 he had a conversion and was baptized. He then became a prolific writer and defender of the faith. He was ordained a priest, then a Bishop, and started a new monastery. And all this, not because he wanted it, but because God revealed the truth to him.

Thomas Beckett was an assistant and friend to the king of England. They visited brothels together and had great fun until the king wanted him to be ordained and become the archbishop of canterbury so that he would no longer have any trouble from the church. Beckett pleaded with him, but the king insisted. Beckett was ordained a priest and then a Bishop and at the cost of a friendship and eventually his life, he defended the faith and authority of the church against the schemes of King Henry II. He was reluctant, but when put into the situation became a saint.

St. Paul was a persecutor of Christians. He hated them, but as you probably know, Jesus appeared to him and he accepted God’s will.

And the most reluctant leader of them all: Moses. Even though he believed in the God of Israel, he gave the Lord every excuse in the World why he should not lead Israel. God didn’t listen.

Sorry, if this seems dramatic, but the point is, God has something in store for Pope Gregory XVI and only time will reveal this to us.

The Pope

I was reading an article from FoxNews.com about Pope Benedict XVI that included many quotes from members of Ratzinger’s family. We are all aware that he is the oldest pope to be elected since the 1700s. However, that his family is not entirely happy that he has been elected Pope. They are concerned that because of his age the position will be a burden on 78 year-old. Also, he had asked to be removed from his position as a cardinal several times during the reign of John Paul II, and on every occasion, his requests were denied.

My concern revolves around this very aspect. I am aware that he is serving only as a ‘transition’ Pope, intended to further carry out the plans set forth by John Paul II, which happen to fall under a very conservative agenda. Even though he intends on doing this, does anyone else not find it somewhat tragic that the key candidate for the position of the Pope, the leader of the Catholic Church, was elected to his highest position of power after asking to be relieved a lesser position of power?

I’m not saying that he should not have been chosen. From all reports that I have read, it was almost a non-issue as to who was going to be elected. According to a new article all the way from Sydney, Australia, he was “always the man to beat.” Clearly, the Church sees him as the best man for the job and I am not one to question that. I suppose that I just find it somewhat contradictory that while he no longer wanted to be a cardinal, he now finds himself as the Pope.

Lottery

I read today that the NC Senate may include the lottery in the state’s budget, making the budget easier to pass.

So already the lottery is turning out to be pointless. Instead of being a surplus it will cause more debt as we come to expect a certain amount of revenue each year. So the 30% which is supposed to go to education will really only replace money being channeled to other places. And if the lottery doesn’t do as well one year, schools don’t get their funding.

It’s already begun. So, while the General Assembly could be lowering taxes to entice business instead of subsidizing specific companies (like Dell) and while the state could try to raise education standards, instead it wastes its time with a miracle fix for a difficult problem.

GAP

I read a letter today in the DTH criticizing the Genocide Awareness Project. The student claimed that “the Polk Place exhibit was not safe” because it put people’s “emotional health at risk.”

I don’t know what you think, but this is the dumbest argument against GAP I have heard yet. The protesters were in the right when they attempted to surround the display and put it out of people’s view because the display “put emotional health at risk.”

T-shirts that say “I love pro-choice boys” put my emotional health at risk by forcing me to acknowledge the moral depths to which our culture has fallen. Yet no one cares about my “emotional health.”

Maybe that is because I do not get angry when people’s opinions or actions make me feel bad. Rather, I get angry every time I hear how America has allowed 40 million of its innocent sons and daughters to die.

People like this student don’t want to sit down and consider when life begins or even how the abortion debate makes pro-lifers feel. They simply want everyone else to be cognizant of their emotions.

Well all I have to say is that this argument makes me feel bad, and now that you are aware that I feel bad, I hope you don’t share anymore “violent” conservative opinions and make others feel bad too.

One Shining Moment

Being that I’m the secretary of basketball and all, it would be pretty shameful of me to not put up a National Championship post. So here it goes.

Before I begin, here are some articles that might be of interest. None of them are particularly journalistic, but I figure most of you already know what happened last night. This first one is a Final Four blog by Eric Neel, one of my favorite page 2 writers for ESPN. This next one is just a shoutout to Ken Pom, whose blog I’ve followed religiously since the begining of the season. If you want unbiased analysis of a college basketball game, this is where you go. And last but certainly not least is from Adam Lucas, whom most of you probably know because he writes amazing articles for tarheelblue.com, and this one is no exception.

I want to start by saying thank you. Thank you Roy, thank you Jawad, thank you Jackie, thank you Melvin, thank you Rashad, thank you Raymond, thank you Sean, thank you David, thank you Marvin, thank you Quentin. And thank you to every single person that put your blood, sweat, and tears into that team. Thank you for making my freshman year better than it would have been without you.

When McCants put up his first three of the night, I knew. I watched it clank off the rim, flutter around a second or two, and fall through the net with a gentle swooshing motion. I knew right then and there that it was our night, it was our year, it was our time.

I watched the game in the Dean Dome as so many of us did (9,500 to be exact), and I was in awe of the energy. It felt as if we were actually there, as if our cheers were pushing us to victory. I’ve taken physics classes before, so I’m well aware of the limitations of sound and distance. But I swear to you, they heard us in St. Louis. There’s no way they couldn’t have.

When the final seconds ticked off the clock and nothing but zeros and a five point lead remained, the energy, the joy, the excitement—it was all too much. The only way I can explain it and even come close to capturing the way it was is to call it organized insanity. I watched tears roll down cheeks. I watched people rip off their shirts and swing them around wildly with fists pumping. I watched stoic faces painted blue hold up just one finger, because that’s all you needed. I watched hugs and smiles and high fives and an abundance of jumping and screaming. And as I watched, I felt what it means to be a Tar Heel. As cliché as it is to say this, there aren’t words in the English language to explain the feeling. But if you scratched any of us last night, I know we would have bled the sweetest Carolina blue you’ve ever seen.

Those kids deserved it—no, they earned it. We all know that our seniors endured the most painful season in Carolina’s history. And so, we could call it redemption, but you don’t redeem yourself from a single season. No, what we saw last night was a continuation of the tradition that is Carolina Basketball. Michael Jordan and Dean Smith watched with pride. 57, 82, 93, and now 05. How sweet it is.

And Roy may have put it best when asked how he felt about finally winning the “big one.” He said just what Coach Smith said in 82. He didn’t feel like he was any better of a coach than he was three hours ago. You’re right Roy, and all of us in Chapel Hill were well aware. But now the rest of the world, including the doubters, the ones that said we weren’t team enough, the ones that said you always fold under the pressure, yes even the dookies, now they all know it too. We’re number one. We’re the champs. No one can take that away.

It felt good to walk around today. The weather was perfect. It was championship weather, completed by the most perfect Carolina blue sky that there ever was. The Daily Tar Heel was gone in record time. Student Stores and Franklin St were swamped with students and fans trying to own a piece of memorabilia. We wore grins to match our championship t-shirts. Professors cancelled and prematurely dismissed class. Campus wasn’t campus today. It was home.

One day maybe thirty, forty years from now, I’ll be sitting inside the Dean Dome watching a new group of kids, most likely under a new coach, and I’ll be listening to all the usual anxious chatter in the stands: “We need to rebound better,” “Did you see that play?!—What an athlete,” “Could this be our year?” And somewhere in all the excitement that is Carolina Basketball, in some quiet moment during warm-ups or a wasted timeout trying to stop our run, I’ll look up into the rafters. I’ll look up as I’ve done so often, admiring all the banners and jerseys—the lives and triumphs that live within those threads. But when I look up this time I’ll turn to who I’m sitting with and point to the one that says 2005 National Champions, and I’ll tell them that I was there. And I will remember everything just the way it happened.