The Rock Holds Firm

Those who expected Benedict XVI, aka "God's Rotweiler," to spend his time in the U.S. snarling at heretics must be sorely disappointed. He is instead doing something much more powerful, and in the end far more effective: speaking truth with love. Without compromising the truth, he has called all who listen to something higher, something that transcends the little squabbles we all get caught up in.

The squabble are still important, of course. By his very presence, I think the Pope demonstrates that on fundamental matters of faith and morals, the Church will never change. Some in the media recognize this:

But to ask Benedict to change the church's rules to suit modern appetites and lifestyles is to ask that he forsake the sanctity of human life for the benefit of earthly delights. Those are not his concerns.

Even for non-Catholics like me, there's something comforting about a stubborn pope in a world of moral relativity. Like a strong father, he ignores his children's pleas for leniency knowing that his rules, though tough, serve a higher purpose.

"Stubborn" is probably not the best word to use here. "Faithful" is more accurate. Yet the writer should not be surprised. The reason the Pope is as solid as a rock is that the Papacy is built on a rock.

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." [Matthew 16:13-19]

Peter went on to become the first Bishop of Rome - the Pope. Almost two thousand years later, Benedict XVI is Bishop of Rome # 266. For all that time the Rock has held firm. Sure, it's been chipped, scratched, tarnished over the centuries. But is has not been overcome, nor will it be. The Lord Himself told us so.

Amid all of life's troubles, pain and disappointment, Benedict reminds us of one thing we know for sure: the Gates of Hell don't stand a chance.

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