So currently, as it has happened this past week, one of the current hot blogging topics is Assisi III. In a nutshell, this is a worldwide interfaith gathering of leaders of many of the world's religions, hosted by the Pope. The first event was in 1986, with Assisi II in 2002. This started with Pope John Paul II and has continued with our current pope, Benedict XVI. Benedict did attend Assisi II at Pope John Paul II's request, but skipped Assisi I.
However, these interfaith events have not been without very heated criticism, and even sacreligious practices surrounding it. One of the most touted examples is the "Buhdda statue incidient" as touted by Cardinal Oddi of Assisi I in 1983:
“On that day ... I walked through Assisi ... And I saw real profanations in some places of prayer. I saw Buddhists dancing around the altar upon which they placed Buddha in the place of Christ and then incensed it and showed it reverence. A Benedictine protested and the police took him away ... There was obvious confusion in the faces of the Catholics who were assisting at the ceremony.”(1)
I'll admit that's pretty poor taste and they shouldn't have had such free reign to do that. Fast forward to 2011 where now Benedict is in the hot seat as Pope and he has to do what his predecessor did. Once again the criticism flies, saying how dare he compromize the Catholic faith and promote the very thing he warned he would not do, syncretism (amalgamation of conflicting faiths). I can see the SSPX blowing a nutty over this and threating to reject the premable. Still, even with Benedict's refusal to do much of what was done at prior Assisi gatherings, and just having a moment of silence in unison vs. praying with other faiths, an "incident" occured that has made this Assisi gathering seem like some kind of syncretic event, where some African pagan minister chanted to his pagan God I've never heard of, Olokun.
So I begin to read the combox at Fr. Z's WDTPRS and see a lot of vitrol (I'm exaggerating) and "how dare B16 destroy the faith and be a hypocrite" comments. And then this gem shows up from Centristian, who tends to just floor you with his/her prospective on issues. You just read along, and all of a sudden he/she comes with the greatest insight of the day. Here's Centristian's insight on the Assisi issue and B16's actions. He/She doesn't agree with the event either, but he tackles the whole "your Church is corrupt and hypocritical in history, and is therefore the Whore of Babylon" thing beautifully, my emphasis in bold with slight italics:
Will someone please give this person a medal and an instant ticket to the seminary or a job at Catholic Answers? This was so powerful and conveyed so lovingly of the Church and those in it. And I wish you a happy 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A), or Feast of Christ the King for our Extraordiary Form compatriots.
(1) “Confisses de um Cardeal,” Interview granted by Cardinal Oddi to Tommasco Ricci, 30 Dias, November 1990, p. 64. Cited from Quo Vadis Petre? by Atila Sinke Guimaraes (Tradition in Action, Los Angeles, 1999), pp. 5-6
(2) "Centristian" in Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. What does the Prayer Really Say? 29 Nov 2011. <http://wdtprs.com/blog/2011/10/pagan-chant-to-the-deity-olokun-in-the-basilica-of-st-francis-during-assisi-iii/#comments>