The ritual of white smoke from the burnt ballots in the Sistine Chapel will signal that Peter has a new successor. The world will look in astonishment as the white puffs spiral upward from the antique chimney. The message of Jesus Christ will not go up with the papal smoke but go out to all the nations of the world.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is message of salvation and healing for all the world. It is not a message of amputation.
As Benedict XVI fades from governance, the power of his words merit continued reflection: “We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, the encounter with Christ.” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger spoke those words signaling human dignity at the Inaugural Mass in April 2005.
Christians are in the middle of Lent — the middle point between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
Father John P. Rosson is pastor of St. Mary’s Our Lady of the Lake Roman Catholic Church in Cooperstown.
*Editor's note: column changed at 12:33 p.m. March 4 to correc Pope Benedict XVI's name.