ICHABOD- PAPAL GLORY DEPARTING? : A POEM

Pope Francis Attends Weekly Audience

 ICHABOD – PAPAL GLORY DEPARTING?: A POEM

It’s far from Peter’s Square to Tacloban
But whether near or far, Beelzebub
Is having fun. From off the papal head
Not once but thrice have faithful crowds
Been forced to see how into a saucy
Wind with its own mind, whoosh,
Away a white biretta flies. [1]
Third time occurred where formerly
Destruction fell and multitudes still
Wait and long for healing of the memory.
And there, before due time, the pontiff
Left lest gusting winds and heavy skies
Prove harbinger of more typhoon or
At the very least delay.

It’s not as though even with a skull cap
More secure the suffering masses would obtain
Quite all the consolation so desired.
Rome’s Bishop says “I walk with silent heart”.
Faced with disaster there is no reply – alone
The Lord could give such he maintains
Because he knows all and was on the cross,
But in distress reach hands for Mary, call her “Mom.”

Yet why such reticence it’s fair to ask,
And ask of him whose faith is bold to post
Even atheists to highest bliss? “Christ’s Vicar”,
If that name were true, would know the answers
Of his Lord, would speak for times and seasons,
Any signs of end, declare like prophets
On the human plight and evil’s rule.
Then too, should not this Vicar own
Those powers like Christ’s at Galilee
To send back wind and wave, command
Wild weather’s forces to be bound?

But no, despite the goodness of the man
The welcome beacon of his honesty
The sometimes insight and the love,
He’s limited. There never was nor is
A special “Vicar” of the Christ. The kingdom’s
Keys were given less to Peter’s hands
Than to his declaration of belief. [2]

And now, as though too long false claim
Had grasped excess of privilege,
The forecast last of those to carry keys [3[
Renounces glory humbly. But now so late
It’s not enough and more divestment
There must be. The omens sound
The signs appear, the head will lose authority,
Rome’s throne fall vacant while the streets around
Lie open to barbarian hordes. Impatient
For world’s evil hour, the hell hounds
Which the leader hears, strain at the leash [4]
By God held back a little time, while
From the corners of the earth winds rise
To pluck from robes and caps their majesty.

NOTES

The title’s Ichabod means “the glory has departed” and was the name given by the daughter-in-law of the priest Eli who gave birth at the time the Philistines seized the Ark of the Covenant from Israel (1 Sam 4:19-22) in punishment, it was said, for an evil priesthood.

[1] The three occasions of biretta loss were Oct 2014 in St Peter’s square, upon arrival in Manila, Philippines in January 2015 and again (but the biretta was retrieved) as Pope Francis left the typhoon ravished Tacloban because a storm was approaching.

[2] In Matt 16:16 where Peter declares Jesus the Messianic divine Son, Jesus says Peter is the little stone (petros) but he will found his church upon the big rock (petra) of faith. Or so can be deduced from the Greek text although the Aramaic Jesus would normally have spoken (but raised near the Greek city of Sepphoris he would probably have known and spoken Greek sometimes) does not make this stone/rock distinction. Since however Peter’s declaration of belief was made in Greek-speaking Caesarea Philippi and where Pan was venerated below Mt Hermon, perhaps the confession was originally and defiantly made in Greek occasioning the little/big stone distinction. Since a Messiah should not initially be self- declared (something modern scepticism overlooks when it states Jesus never claimed to be Messiah) the early church necessarily regarded Peter as their voice and prime leader in some sense. But notions of a distinctly Roman Petrine authority is a late and political development. I even regard the tension over Peter’s status and role as curiously reflected in my data for Christ’s birth (see Testament of the Magi http://amzn.to/12eP5S8) in which, via the asteroids, one can see Rocher (Rock) and Stone significantly conjunct a world point, but in tension aspect (quincunx) to a conjunction of San Pedro, Roma and Isis, suggestive of the Isis-style Marian religion that much Catholicism has been, overtaking and in uneasy relation to Peter’s original declaration.

[3] According to the much disputed medieval Prophecy of St Malachy, Pope Francis should be the last Pope who defends the church during persecutions and times of the Antichrist. He is described as “Bishop of Rome” only – the informal Francis arguably assumes this role. As one of the possible omens, lightening struck the Vatican when the last of the traditional Popes, Benedict unexpectedly retired.

[4 The world’s worst hour is when the devil descends to earth (Rev 12:12). It is likely that the leader (i.e.the Pope) known, despite his liberalism, for a more hidden obsession with the devil, “hears” threatening sounds which speak to the role of purported last pope.

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