Thursday, December 24, 2009
(No, they didn't show him getting knocked down. It wasn't until the end of the mass that they even mentioned it. I myself didn't even know it happened until the end. So, don't expect this post to be about that.)
I'm not Catholic, but I still like to watch the midnight mass from St. Peter's every Christmas. It's really something else. However, I don't think they've started filming it in high-def yet. Oh, well.
I wonder how one gets into the choir for this? It must be a serious audition.
Is the basilica used every week? For that matter, are any of the great cathedrals still used? I did visit Notre Dame de Paris once, and there did seem to be people praying there. However, I would think you'd need a huge congregation to keep something like that open. Although I presume the Catholic Church would supply the money to keep them in good repair, one would feel ridiculous worshiping in a warehouse-sized church unless the congregation was similarly impressive. (I seem to remember that Chartres Cathedral seats 10,000.)
I'm guessing the Pope knows three languages. I know he's German, so he obviously knows that, and he did the mass in Italian (I think). However, the Bible he read from looked to be one of those handwritten ones done by the monks. So, I'm guessing he has to know Latin as well.
Also, the ATM's in the Vatican are in Latin. Yeah, I'm sure they have other languages available, but not knowing Latin would obviously be a handicap for anyone at a high level in the Catholic Church.
Perhaps Latin serves as a universal language for the church? As always, they did have a lot of different countries represented at the mass.
He said some interesting things, about the shepherds vs. the three wise men. First, that the shepherds were sort of on-watch for something like the birth of Jesus--while most people aren't. Also, they arrived much earlier than the three wise men. Though this was due to physical proximity, the pope mentioned that the closeness of the shepherds was more than physical, that their closeness was also a metaphor for their being closer to God.