Speaking of the Pope

Speaking of the Pope, two very interesting Pope related headlines in the news of late.

From James Martin, SJ at America we have this one: "Pope Hopes Excommunicated Nun Might Become Saint."
Mother Mary McKillop, the foundress of the Australian-based Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, was, in 1871, officially excommunicated by her local bishop, on the grounds that she "'she had incited the sisters to disobedience and defiance." That same church leader, Bishop Sheil, had earlier invited her to work in Adelaide, where she and her sisters would eventually set up schools, a women's shelter and an orphanage, among their many works. But McKillop's independent spirit was a threat to Bishop Sheil, who had her booted out of the church. Yesterday, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spoke with Pope Benedict XVI about McKillop's possible canonization, in a conversation reported in the Brisbane Times here. Just last year, the pope visited McKillop's tomb in Sydney during his visit to Australia for World Youth Day. Prime Minister Rudd said that the visit "left a deep impression on the Holy Father."

From EJ Dionne at the Washington Post we have this one: "To the Right of the Pope."
In fact, whether he is the beneficiary of providence or merely good luck, Obama will have his audience with Benedict just three days after the release of a papal encyclical on social justice that places the pope well to Obama's left on economics. What a delightful surprise it would be for a pope to tell our president that on some matters, he's just too conservative.

Both articles are good reads, especially the one by James Martin. He shares some good tales of strong women and men who have been obedient to God but sometimes run afoul of the Church hierarchy .... and later been held up as Saints. Let's just say the more your hear the stories of founders of women religious communities, the more amazed you become both by their strength and conviction, and of what they had to put up with as well. Mary McKillop certainly is keeping good company in heaven.

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