Dear Papa Benny,
We’re sad to see you go. You’ve given so much to the Church and to the world and stayed so strong and solid even though the world is going nowhere fast. No matter that you, a scholarly man, were following up an internationally-known personality in a job you never wanted; you stepped up to the plate and kept the Church on the right track.
Thank you for your contributions to scholasticism and theology. Your legacy will last for generations. Thank you for taking care of our Mother Church in stormy seas. And thank you for being brave and knowing when enough is enough and a new man should take over.
I hope you have lots of time to write, and a cat to keep you company.
In some research for one of my classes, I stumbled across a most lovely building–and when I saw it, I guessed, “I bet that’s Hungary.” Sure enough, it’s the Budapest Parliament building.
I haven’t actually done any research on this building itself, so what follows is speculation just from looking at it:
At first glance, this building appears to be a true Gothic building. Gothicism is a late medieval style, spanning from about the 1200s all the way up to the Renaissance, and primarily focused in France and Germany (though it definitely had some influence in England and elsewhere). But that can’t be right because Hungary was a monarchy until the very early 1900s (I want to say 1910 but I could be wrong). Monarchy, however, does not necessarily mean it has no parliament–see England–and I don’t know much else about the history of Hungary. But, based on its too-small-to-be-really-necessary buttressing and the more prevalent horizontality (most true Gothic buildings are extremely vertical), combined with the ribbed dome–first engineered by Brunelleschi at the start of the Renaissance–I would suggest that this was built during the Gothic Revival of the 1800s (1860s?) around the same time as Britain’s Parliamentary building (and, I suspect, the castle which everyone calls “Downton Abbey”). …this is still all from memory, by the way. I plan to check my facts at the end of the post. Anyway, it exhibits some elements of what was called “horizontal Gothicism,” and that is exemplified by the Houses of Parliament.
Okay, fact-checking time!
1. It WAS from the Gothic revival but I was about 30 years off. 1896 is the year given for the Parliament Building in Budapest. AND it was inspired by Westminster Palace (aka the Houses of Parliament).
2. The Austro-Hungarian empire fell in 1918.
3. The same guy who built the Houses of Parliament also built Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey).
4. Ribbed domes were around pre-Brunelleschi–early Islamic, 9th century. So I think Brunelleschi just made them famous and more prevalent.
(This is a simul-post with Ignitum Today)
Disclaimer: I don’t like writing about love in a public forum. It makes me feel vulnerable to public opinion.
Some time ago, I attended a conference in my home diocese. Having connections with the organizers, I ended up attending the after-party as well, and had an absolute blast with some of the speakers and the other after-party attendees. In the midst of the philosophical discussions that ensued (this after-party involved tobacco, alcohol, and Catholic people), I found myself talking to a group of young gentlemen a few years older than I about many heavy matters. Along the way, we hit a number of topics, and spent quite a bit of time discussing love. This is where I went a little crazy and got away from myself (it was late at night and I’d had an early morning; when I’m tired my mouth runs faster than my brain) and ended up lecturing this group of slightly-older-than-me young men on the nature of love and how it is more than an emotion; it is an act of the will.
“Well, we all agree on the fact that to love is to will the good of another, yes?” Nods all around. I shifted my sketchbook on my lap and gestured with my capped fountain pen as I spoke. “And I’m sure you all have experienced that with your family. Like, I love my little sisters and wouldn’t want any harm to come to them, but oh GOSH sometimes they drive me nuts and I don’t like them very much. But I still love them.”
“Yeah, but I haven’t ever had that outside of my family,” one guy interjected. I shook my head.
“Doesn’t matter, that’s the important aspect of love. And some day you’ll find that person whose well-being you willingly–and happily–put above yours. For that person, you’d do anything. You’d give your own life if it meant they would be well and happy. And each day it is a new wish for them to have a good day, or to smile, or to be well. It is, as we’ve agreed, an act of the will. You want nothing but the absolute best for that other person and will do whatever it takes to get them there. You want them to be a saint.”
The rest of the story is unimportant and rather irrelevant; this discussion is what matters. All that matters is this: you want the people you love most to become saints.