At the 6:45 a.m. Mass today at the Padre Pio Shrine on West 31st Street in NYC, the priest hesitated in the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer: “Lord, remember your Church throughout the world; make us grow in love, together with [slight hesitation] Timothy our cardinal archbishop . . .” For eight years, “together with . . .” has been followed by “Benedict our Pope.” But over the next couple of weeks the priests will get used to the omission, and then over the next few months they will get used to “together with Leo/Pius/Peter/John/whoever our Pope.” But the wonderful thing is that the work of prayer, and the real presence of the One who puts that prayer in people’s hearts, will continue, with a Pope or without a Pope.
(N.B. The title of this post comes from a charming Catholic novel from 1945, The World, the Flesh, and Father Smith by Bruce Marshall: “No Popery Aloud” is a piece of graffiti scrawled by an anti-Catholic activist endowed with more enthusiasm than spelling ability. The book, like many of Marshall’s other novels, is a warm and witty story of a bygone culture; I recommend it not just for Catholics but for anyone who enjoys the love that is at the heart of religion.)