Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster

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.

3/13 - 16

Stock Report

1 DOW 17,390.52
+195.10 (1.13%)    
2 S&P 2,018.05
+23.40 (1.17%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,630.74
+64.60 (1.41%)    
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16

In Other News...

MCH Recognized for Quality Improvement by National Hospital Exchange Network

GREENVILLE, Ky. (10/30/14) — Muhlenberg Community Hospital received an award recognizing the hospital’s performance… Read More

Muhlenberg District Court Fines Handed Down

GREENVILLE, Ky. (10/31/14) — The following fines were recently handed down in Muhlenberg District Court. Shane Benson,… Read More
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

October 31, 2014 11219

Son Charged with Murder of His Family, Kidnapping

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Dennis Thomas
October 27, 2014 6293

Earlington Woman Charged With Burglary for…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 29, 2014 4987

Central City Businessman Indicted by Grand Jury…

in Top News For All Sites by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 29, 2014 4816

UPDATE: Two More Arrested for Meth at Area Motel

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
October 28, 2014 4529

UPDATE: 'Runner' Ran Home; Family Happy

in Hopkins News by Lisa Crook
October 27, 2014 4497

Baptist Health Madisonville Performs Baptist…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Kristy Quinn
October 31, 2014 3969

UPDATE: Names Released: Three Injured When Pickup…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
October 28, 2014 3808

UPDATE: Extended to Wednesday; Heaven's Gates and…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 28, 2014 3722

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in Hopkins News by Karen McKnight
October 27, 2014 3511

Woman Charged for Domestic Assault with Scissors,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department

Stories Trending Today

October 31, 2014 11219

Son Charged with Murder of His Family, Kidnapping

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Dennis Thomas
October 31, 2014 3969

UPDATE: Names Released: Three Injured When Pickup…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
October 30, 2014 2862

UPDATE: Missing Elderly Couple Found

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Chief William C. Crider
October 30, 2014 2079

Man Charged with Criminal Abuse of 2-Year-Old Girl

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Lt. Charles Young II
October 31, 2014 2034

Top Race Candidates Address Campaign Issues

in Hopkins News by SurfKY News
October 30, 2014 2021

Man Accused of Using Bass Guitar to Strike…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 30, 2014 1868

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 30, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 30, 2014 1691

Bond, Conditions Set for Central City Man Accused…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 30, 2014 1430

Man Charged for Criminal Trespassing at Cross…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 30, 2014 1385

MCTI to Present 'Anne of Green Gables'

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


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

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss