Last week the Pope visited the USA for the first time since he was elevated to the papacy. His pastoral warmth and his astringent and repeated addressing of one of the most grievous ills of the modern Church, the clergy abuse crisis, left many who had been dubious warming to the man who sits in the seat of Peter, and who walks in the "shoes of the Fisherman".
QUOTE An ancient Latin expression, first used by St. Ambrose in the fourth century, came to my mind last week during several moments of the historic papal visit to the United States: “Ubi Petrus ibi ecclesia,” which is translated, “Wherever Peter is, there is the Church.”
Peter was in America last week, on the South Lawn of the White House, and at the Catholic University of America. Peter’s great smile and obvious serenity ignited a nation, a Church and a continent with hope in the midst of cynicism and despair, and while many would like to hasten death for a Church that is alive and young. Peter’s words addressed to representatives of more than 190 member nations of the United Nations spoke of human rights, dignity, dialogue and peace to a world at war in so many places. Peter’s eloquent silence, prayer and gestures at ground zero brought healing and peace to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on a nation.The New Testament’s Acts of the Apostles tells us “that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed." UNQUOTE