Just yesterday, tolling bells announced the death of the pope. He had died in the course of the night. The Lord had beckoned, and he faithfully answered. The death not only liberated the pope from his suffering, but also liberated the Church from the predicament it had been forced into, i.e., if the pope were to be completely incapacitated, who would run the Church?

The whole process of choosing a new pope was traumatic. It is traumatic because whenever we are forced to face the truth, it is nothing more than traumatic; our condition posits us opposite of truth and reality. And here, what was the truth precisely? The the artifice of the Church is man. The Vicar of Christ, infallible as is purported to be, is ultimately chosen by other men. The Church is but another human institution and thus is liable to all the advantages and drawbacks that come with such an origin.

The pope was the institution, i.e., the Church. The monarch commanded and the princes, defendors of the faith, responded, albeit some reluctantly. For most Catholics, he was the only pope we had ever known. I knew of his existence before that of Christ, before that of His Church. We Catholics cannot honestly blush at the disparaging term papists; there is truth in it.

Then we were confronted with his death. Ailments aside, such an occurrence was simply unfathomable. And when we were forced to deal with its realization, we were stunned; it was surrreal.

Again, but not soon enough, the Holy See broke its silence and the God’s oracle spoke: habemvs papam. But the damage had been done, the Church had unwillingly shown us her reality.

Fortunately for her, things come and go, such are the vicissitudes of man, and nothing really lasts. Even reputations fade. And what we do remember is flawed if not a completely and utter lie. Case in point:

“To forget and – I will venture to say – to get one’s history wrong, are essential factors int he making of a nation; and thus the advance of historical studies is often a danger to nationality …. Now it is of the essence of a nation that all individuals should have much in common, and further that they should all have fogotten much.” – E. Renan.

Suffering is intrinsic to the human condition as is forgetting; action and reaction.