I'm not sure how to absorb all the news these days or even attempt to. As I scrolled through it this morning, I couldn't help but lightly press my finger on the touch screen to read more of Pope Benedict's resignation plans. There's something so glamorous about something happening only once in 800 years. The first pope to resign was Marcellinus in 304. He was deposed after complying with a Roman emperor's order to offer sacrifice to pagan gods. Benedict IX sold his papacy in 1045 and resigned. Celestine V was evidently overwhelmed by the job and resigned after five months in 1294, and Gregory XII stepped down in 1415 to help end a church schism. My finger traced the tiny screen of my phone, scrolling down and I wondered idly (with irony) whether yesterday's news of Los Angeles Cardinal Mahoney's diverted cemetery funds was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back for the spiritual leader of a billion of the planet's people. I imagined a courier running on the cobblestones of the Vatican, down the ornate hallways, through the room where man's finger touches God's and into the Pope's private quarters with the news. Maybe he just couldn't take it anymore.
Why are there so many phrases that use camels to impart wisdom? It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, is a Biblical phrase. Trust in God but tie your camel tight is a Persian proverb, and my favorite might be the Egyptian If you love, love the moon. If you steal, steal a camel.
I lifted my finger from the screen and closed my eyes. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.