As I mentioned previously, I received Light of the World as a Christmas present. I finally had a couple free hours and managed to finish it off. First impression: it was good. Very good. Pope Benedict and Peter Seewald cover a remarkably broad range of contemporary issues, from environmentalism to liturgical reform to his own papacy. The pope is candid and frank in his answers, while Seewald is bold but not antagonistic.
My second impression is that the Pope needs better PR people. It’s not really a stretch to say that, since the Holy Father admits it himself. The first step, as they say, is admitting you have a problem, but it would be nice to see some real action on this front. As much as I enjoyed this interview, media response shows that even this book could’ve benefited from a critical consideration before publication. It would not have been hard to predict that the nuance of some of the Pope’s statements would be completely lost on the media, and absolute clarity is the best way to prevent misunderstandings. That’s not the same as dumbing down the teaching itself, and it’s likely that any statement would be misrepresented, but the fine moral distinctions in an otherwise straightforward book were bound to be seized upon.
Of course some would argue (and it’s a fair argument, I think) that that Pope knew exactly what he was doing, and that he wanted to put forth these ideas – nuanced as they are – to a broader audience than might otherwise pay attention. It’s possible. Given the Vatican’s pretty lousy PR record right now (between L’Osservatore Romano and all the other statements that get attributed to “the Vatican”), it’s hard to assume the best here. This didn’t diminish my experience of the book, since I have what I think is a better-than-average grasp of these issues; it’s just an observation. Overall, I found it to be good evidence of the fact that this pontificate understands the issues of the world today and was reassured by the fact that – as she always is – the Church is present.
Saint Mary’s Lake, May 7 2011
Shot with Holga 120; unedited
Last Sunday was the annual Eucharistic Procession at Notre Dame. As evidenced by the picture above (taken about 15 minutes before the scheduled start time), the weather was gorgeous. Despite that, the Procession was held inside the Basilica (my opinions on the reasoning aren’t important, so we’ll just leave it at that). Despite the less-than-ideal setting (and this is probably the only time I’ll ever refer to the Basilica that way), it was a nice event.
After the “procession”, we went outside to enjoy the weather with the traditional steak sandwich picnic, so at least the sunshine wasn’t completely wasted. Better luck next year!
I didn’t realize it then, but I took my last final exam in December. This semester, I’ve just got projects to finish up. Thesis done, I’ve got a CSS webpage that’s in sorry shape and needs to be functional by Tuesday, a programming project that’s nearly done by still has a flaw or two, and a photo alphabet to finish up (see above). The shooting is done; it was a little odd to realize I’m done taking photos on which I’ll be graded. I still have to make them into tintypes before next Thursday (seven or eight are already done; the rest are soon to be). I feel the need to combat the squeaky-clean image I seem to have given myself with my thesis (;-P), so these are a little darker.
I’ve also been busy with professional photos, which is far more satisfying to me. Some of the recent ones are on my Facebook page, and I’ve got another set that’s half-done. I’m also scheduled to do an engagement portrait session in a couple weeks, which is always fun. After that, I need to overhaul my website and make it a little easier to update.
Mr. Wonderful gave me a book for my birthday. The idea that he has faith that I’ll read again someday gives me hope…
Take five minutes to check out this website. Just enter the address of your childhood home or (if you’re like me and your house isn’t on Google Street View) a familiar location, minimize your other browser windows, and hit play. Kind of creepy? Maybe, but I think it’s the kind of thing we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the next few years as more and more of our lives becomes digitized.