Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - Blowin’ in the Wind

ronniemcbrayer300 brownsKENTUCKY (4/14/13) - Now that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been installed as Pope Francis, I must say that I could not be happier with the papal conclave’s choice. Not that the College of Cardinals would bother to ask my opinion on the matter – I’m not even Catholic – but as a student of religion, one who stumbles along trying to follow Jesus, and a lover of startling, historic moments, I am ecstatic.

All the obvious reasons for my joy come to mind. Pope Francis is the first pope from the Southern hemisphere; the first Bishop of Rome born in Latin America; he is the first Vicar of Christ with a Jesuit background, and the first Successor of Peter to take the name “Francis,” honoring the legacy of Francis of Assisi, the medieval saint who so loved God’s creation and who practiced spiritual and everyday simplicity.

But I am most thrilled for Francis because it means the end of Pope Benedict’s reign over the Catholic Church. It’s not that I had anything personal against old Ben (remember I’m not even Catholic), though his role as “God’s Rottweiler,” the theological enforcer of the Church, made me jittery. My grudge with Benedict goes back to September 1997.

It was the Italian Eucharist Congress, and a frail Pope John Paul II was presiding. The Harlem Gospel Singers had just finished performing for the audience when who should walk out on the stage but no other than Bob Dylan! In pinstripes and a white cowboy hat, he sang three songs that night: “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” appropriate I think; “A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall,” (classic Dylan); and a salute to the youth in the crowd and the aging pope, “Forever Young.”

Talk about startling, historic moments! But bad-tempered Benny, then known as Cardinal Ratzinger, was not amused. He had failed in his attempt to cancel Bob Dylan’s appearance before the Holy See. Benedict, a classically trained pianist, loves classical and sacred music. But his love for song does not transfer to other musical genres.

He has said that all rock music is the product of Satan, he cancelled the Advent rock and roll concert series at the Vatican begun by Pope John Paul, and took a negative view of using guitars at mass. In his memoirs he sneered about Bob Dylan’s appearance before Pope John Paul II, saying: “There was reason to be skeptical – I was, and in some ways I still am – over whether it was really right to allow this type of ‘prophet’ to appear.”

So while there may be many reasons to be glad for Pope Francis’ arrival – many of these reasons complex, political, and theological – my reason is fairly simple. You have to be cautious of giving your whole-hearted trust to someone who doesn’t like Bob Dylan.

But Pope John Paul II seemed to have liked Dylan just fine. As Cardinal Ratzinger stood coldly by, he delivered a short homily after the concert that included lyrics from Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” saying: “You've asked, ‘How many roads must a man walk down before he becomes a man?’ I answer you: One! There is only one road for man and it is Christ, who said, ‘I am the life.’”

Interesting, don’t you think, that the then Pope John Paul spoke of simplicity as the road forward. He spoke as Christ being enough. It has echoes of another Paul, the Apostle Paul, who once said that all his spiritual accomplishments, all his religious fanfare, all his ceremonial ballyhoo, all his pompous credentials, and all his ceremonious posturing were now considered garbage. They were trash. Junk. Rubbish. Literally, it was all manure. The only thing that mattered to his faith was Jesus Christ alone.

I am not terribly optimistic that a single man, no matter how many “firsts” are attached to his new administration, can correct years of encrusted arrogance and corruption or replace the accumulated labyrinths of doctrinal and ceremonial complexity with simplicity. But I have hope. I have hope that change is indeed blowing in the wind.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

In Other News...

City of Paducah Invites Internationally Known City Planner Jeff Speck

PADUCAH, Ky. (7/27/14) — The City of Paducah has invited internationally known author, city planner and urban designer… Read More

Drug Awareness March Teaches 'Hopelessness Has a Cure'

NORTONVILLE, Ky. (7/26/14) — A march today seeks to raise awareness of drug addiction and the recovery services offered… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

July 24, 2014 3764

Powderly Man Injured in Apparent Gun…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 23, 2014 2758

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - July 23,…

in Top Stories by Crime Stoppers
July 24, 2014 2666

Madisonville Man Charged for Drugs,…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
July 23, 2014 2267

Greenville Family Loses Home, Possessions…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 25, 2014 2077

No One Injured in Truck-Train Collision

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

July 23, 2014 2758

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - July 23,…

in Top Stories by Crime Stoppers
July 24, 2014 2666

Madisonville Man Charged for Drugs,…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
July 25, 2014 2077

No One Injured in Truck-Train Collision

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News
July 25, 2014 1360

Vehicle Strikes Lawn Mower Driven on…

in Top Stories by Dep. Mike Evans
July 24, 2014 1048

Hopkins County Fair Provides Family Fun

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

July 23, 2014 1521

Owensboro Neighborhood Alliance Meeting…

in News by Sherry Girten
July 23, 2014 1470

Fall Baseball League Registrations

in News by Brittni Bunn
July 24, 2014 1290

US 231 Ohio River 'William Natcher'…

in News by Keith Todd
July 24, 2014 969

Maintenance Scheduled at Fisher Park and…

in News by Brittni Bunn
July 24, 2014 828

Portion of Spring Bank Drive Closed…

in News by Sherry Girten

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

July 24, 2014 3764

Powderly Man Injured in Apparent Gun…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 23, 2014 2267

Greenville Family Loses Home, Possessions…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 23, 2014 1966

Swinging for Sadie Raises $6,000 for…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
July 24, 2014 1697

Muhlenberg to Have State's Only Honey…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 24, 2014 1256

Marching Mustangs Band Camp Underway

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03