Phrases on Stun: Honor Star Trek’s 50th in Words

Let’s boldly go into a brief blog post honoring this week’s 50th anniversary of the “Star Trek” universe. Calling it a brand or franchise is correct but inadequate. Like the actual universe, “Star Trek” seems to keep on growing, spawning new creations and rekindling inspiration.

As the CBS online news network reported, “Star Trek” is sometimes mocked for having led young fans to adopt nerdy as cookie-cutter imitators of their favorite characters, repeating favorite lines and re-telling favorite stories. While this happened in some instances, Gene Roddenberry’s brainchild showed human diversity at work and encouraged people to pursue their own unique dreams with hope for the future. Phrases that motivated viewers “to boldly go” into the “final frontier” impacted people’s lives because they were memorable words that were lived out—in fiction and in fact.

So, as I have been developing a new web home playfully called OnWord, complementing and continuing my professional forays into the frontiers of writing and communication, I realized I should offer my own salute to “Star Trek.” I’m incorporating into my blog and my business this occasional theme, or meme: “Phrases on Stun.”

You’re hereby invited to join me in recalling, and awaiting daily with new receptivity, key phrases and other well-crafted combinations of words that literally can become “words to live by.” I’m planning to honor—and, please God, to help create—verbal content that adds to the net quantity and quality of ideas, meaning, and purpose in this universe.

This is important. I fear the overflow of text and its permutations, so easily accessed online today, can lead to “information inflation.” This devaluation can rob content of meaning and nullify the power of good writing and communication to renew us, to surprise us. Remember, we celebrate this power to “stun” in a positive sense, and we reject the negative power of those words which are weaponized like phasers, used to capture attention only to destroy or demean or dismiss.

As my first proposal in this installment of “Phrases on Stun,” I offer the words of Jesus in this Sunday’s (Sept. 4) Gospel reading, from Luke 14: 25-33. You can read the whole passage, but here’s one taste of the Eternal Word’s unmatched ability to stun people and revitalize futures with his phrases: “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” This hard saying surely lived on in the minds and hearts of Jesus’s followers when they saw him suffer on his Good Friday journey. It jolted them even as it jolts us with tough love in our church pews today.

I would like to hear your candidates for “phrases on stun,” and I invite you to enjoy the habit of listening for new stunners—and celebrating them whenever and wherever they jump out from today’s dull mainstream of words lacking passion or compassion.

To assure you that this exercise can be fun—and not always as challenging or holy as today’s Scriptures imply—I return to the anniversary we’re celebrating this week. Captain Kirk’s son, David Marcus, reaffirms my purpose behind “Phrases on Stun” in this memorable father-son dialogue from the movie “Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan,” as archived at the Memory Alpha website. David begins:

“You knew enough to tell Saavik that how we face death is at least as important as how we face life.”
“Just words.”
“But good words! That’s where ideas begin. Maybe you should listen to them. I was wrong about you, and I’m sorry.”
“Is that what you came here to say?”
“Mainly. And also that I’m proud—very proud—to be your son.”

Tonight, Steven welcomes … the Philippians

If you haven’t completed your daily Scripture reading yet, you’re in luck. I can provide four profound Bible quotes, all from Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, pre-packaged in an entertaining video format. We can thank three slightly surprising sources–a politician, an actor, and a comedian–who had memorized their own favorite slices of Philippi when I saw them on TV. The comedian, Steven Colbert, a clever and joyful Catholic satirist who deserves to be watched closely as he hosts “The Late Show,” orchestrated this unusual Bible study. He prays and preys in popular culture–sometimes worthy of a censer, sometimes worthy of a censor.

Colbert can spark memorable moments that evoke the best, timeless virtues of television entertainment. As a host (someone who makes good things possible for others), he can bring together talented guests for intelligent, witty conversations that bring audiences hope about themselves and the world. Under ideal circumstances, viewers can head to bed feeling truly entertained–that is, given sustenance, paid attention to, respected for their dignity.

The Late Show accomplished this act of kindness for me during some random moments on Thursday, Aug. 25. You can simply enjoy seeing (around the 2:30 mark in this video) how it came to pass that Colbert playfully exchanged Philippians quotes with vice presidential candidate Gov. Tim Kaine.

Later, Colbert opened the door for two more quotes, enthusiastically pitched/preached by celebrity Tony Hale of the HBO series “Veep” (at about 2:29 in this video). My thanks go to blogger Blake I. Collier here for the images and insights. He captured Hale’s supporting role in the New Evangelization.

Three ostensibly coincidental pop-culture incursions by the Holy Spirit on a single, sometimes coarse late-night show? Proponents can use the term “Godwinks” for such coincidences which stage midnight raids on TV’s toxic thinking and shameless self-promotion .

We might credit this troupe of accidental purists–Colbert, Hale, and Kaine–with suddenly taking a detour around conventional edginess, jolting us with references to St. Paul’s inspired writings, instead of something cynical or dismissive. Their unscripted conversations connected the dots between the wise words of Phil 2:3, Phil 4:6, Phil 4:8, and Phil 4:13, not necessarily in that order. We can’t promise this connectivity was birthed in total innocence. This game of verse-versus-verse might have roots in Pharisaical show-off instincts.

But we can be grateful that quoting the Philippians, in some contexts, is still considered a desirable public act (albeit humble bragging). Acting through various amalgams of good will and mere pretense, boastful self-promotion and spontaneous authenticity, God continues to pass along the Good News, in our acts of speaking and listening, in print or video. We watch imperfect human beings perform as empowering hosts and engaged guests, somehow inviting the Holy Spirit in for a moment of true entertainment. The Late Show, like other TV shows where real professionals cultivate wit and kindness, can literally point to a brighter new day. Paul foretold this in Phil. 1:15-18. We can learn from the Philippians, who were a receptive audience for Paul, “staying tuned” as he unveiled paradoxes and other truths with life-changing implications.

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR STAYING TUNED! With this entry in my long-running blog at blogs.nd.edu/word/, I am transitioning so that past reflections and new commentaries all can be found in a different online place. They are part of my independent venture, OnWord, with its official home at onword.net, which will grow as a reflection of my larger body of work, thoughts, relationships, and aspirations for the future. One playfully misspelled word sums up that lifetime vocation of communication, driven toward perfection through collaborations among colleagues, clients and communities of all sorts. That word is ONWORD!

Stephen Colbert, GK Chesterton, and Conversations of Hope

Here’s a shout-out to ACE’s own Patrick R. Manning for his cover story in the latest America magazine, noting that TV’s Stephen Colbert offers inspiration to catechists with his threefold approach: “delight, instruct, and persuade.”

This connection between the ability to delight people and the ability to persuade them, an idea Patrick attributes to St. Augustine, is worth pondering. The combination makes me think of my hero in matters of evangelization (and all constructive argumentation), the renowned British author G.K. Chesterton.

Chesterton, a genius who lived in the first half of the 20th century and famously visited Notre Dame in 1930, took delight in writing about nearly everything and trying to convince his readers of truths he had drawn  from his reason and his Catholic faith. His efforts at persuasion often included delighting his readers in various ways—through witty observations and brain-tickling paradoxes, for example.

He saw dangers arising in the culture around him, but he found joy in his faith, so he maintained a charismatic demeanor. He gave so many people consistent delight that they became loyal readers throughout his career as journalist/author/poet/playwright.

“He is a [sane] man who can have tragedy in his heart and comedy in his head,” Chesterton wrote in Tremendous Trifles in 1909.

Perhaps we do need to more consciously and consistently combine delight and persuasion in our dialogues about faith and values in 2014. It works for Colbert as he energizes his audience and prods them to think between the lines of the news stories of the day. He must be a great catechist in his own Catholic parish in New Jersey.

I raise  one caveat: Any delight or comedy we use in the New Evangelization, or in secular civil discourse, has to be approached with prudence, purpose, and moderation. The confusion of “news coverage” with crude satire, slapstick, cynicism, mockery, or nihilism has proliferated in some circles. This blurring  of lines is counterproductive for teachers and learners alike. We need to emulate Colbert when he quests comically for “truthiness” and sustains the dignity of himself, his subjects, and his audience amid his mischief. A sense of dignity is essential for true delight and persuasion to occur.

I am reminded of the Wall Street Journal op-ed piece written by University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins, CSC, a year ago, in which he noted that recovering persuasion as a goal and skill in our national discourse will help society to regain a sense of civility. That, in turn, would pave a broader road of dialogue for the pursuit of truth, wisdom, and smart solutions for today’s great challenges.

Father Jenkins put it this way: “If I am trying to persuade others, I first have to understand their position, which means I have to listen to them. I have to appeal to their values, which means I have to show them respect. I have to find the best arguments for my position, which means I have to think about my values in the context of their concerns. I have to answer their objections, which means I have to work honestly with their ideas. I have to ask them to listen to me, which means I can’t insult them.”

The Colbert Report takes these prescriptions seriously, partly because they also happen to work for building audiences. Indeed, these approaches cause delight. They make people laugh, partly because Colbert himself is clearly enjoying himself as he embraces this dialogue with people. He is undaunted by this Chestertonian dialectic between  tragedy in the heart and comedy in the head, between the weakness and the wonder of human life which together point us toward God. The discovery of hope as one walks the way of the cross is a theological insight that can indeed delight people. It just happens to be a foundational insight of the Congregation of Holy Cross, with its watchwords “Ave crux, spes unica” — Hail the cross, our only hope.

So thanks to Patrick Manning for pointing us toward an evangelization that combines delight, persuasion, and civility in our engagement with cultural issues and our encounters with individuals—whether they be students, TV viewers, book readers, or simply fellow citizens. Good evangelization opens the door to good catechesis as the participants journey together toward the Way, the Truth, and the Life. As Chesterton would testify, it’s the work of a lifetime—and longer—but our stubborn rejection of dejection is really the only way to communicate, and to live.

This Whovian — or Whoosier? — Learned from the Doctors: The Present Isn’t Enough

The recent blockbuster episode of the brilliant BBC series “Doctor Who” got me thinking again about the danger of “presentism” in today’s world.

Did you see the episode entitled “Day of the Doctor,” in which three different reincarnations of that lovable Time Lord, Doctor Who, come together to rethink and reshape the past, present, and future? The episode, marking a 50-th anniversary celebration of the ingenious series and (according to the Wikipedia article) a tribute to generations of Doctor Who fans called Whovians (I presume in Indiana we’re called Whoosiers), presented many unforgettable images and ideas. My favorite was the notion of capturing an entire scene, nay, an entire planet, in a moment of time, inside a picture frame, where so much has already happened, so much is ready to happen, but we’re told the viewer of this brilliant 4-D “painting” in a Time Lord’s gallery can “just add time” to bring the scene to life, as one “just adds water” to Lipton’s Cup-of-Soup.

I may never look at an art gallery the same way again. Every enduring work of art, I realize, is of its own time but is somehow of all time.

The reason I bring this up is the connection of this time-freezing to the compelling notion of “presentism,” to which I was introduced by Daniel Rushkoff’s recent book, Present Shock. The word presentism is not new, but it’s very thought-provoking. Rushkoff talks about how our modern society, with its advanced technology and rapid pace of life, makes life seem like everything is happening in the present. I haven’t read enough of Rushkoff’s insights to fully understand how he analyzes this phenomenon, but it coincides with an impression I’ve had for some time. When we want everything to happen right now, or when now is the only timeframe that matters, or when we pursue the titillation of a completely immersive now, we risk forgetting or discounting the past and the future. Our imaginations and faith, used constructively, help us transcend the traps of the present moment. The past and future are gifts from God, although they also impose accountability upon us.

It has been my privilege to write a book celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Hesburgh Library and to see how the building, its people, and its role on the Notre Dame campus literally and figuratively bring past, present, and future together. This coincidence of three timeframes is the stuff of journeys and stories. It gives the Notre Dame campus its traditions, its lively celebrations of victory and discovery, and its focus on people and projects representing hope for the future.

Presentism, if I understand Rushkoff’s insights correctly (and I hope to study them more carefully in the near future!), poses a danger even as it seems to offer an alluring opportunity to live in the moment–an immensely exciting, adrenalin-charged moment–and then to move on in a series of random, disjointed, busy moments. Here’s my thought as it relates to communicating messages about society, about human life, about Notre Dame, and even about Doctor Who. I think Time Lords would agree that isolating present moments inside picture frames must be the exception, not the rule, even though those frozen scenes of potential energy are hauntingly beautiful. In everything we do, in every story we tell, we must be energized by the changing times, not mesmerized by a single moment. We Whoosiers can embrace the Doctors’ advice to embrace the learning that occurs in its own good time, from past to present to future. There can be immense energy (and human efficiency and divine grace) in the present moment, but don’t get trapped in it. Just add time.

This Just In … EWTN News Nightly

The biggest news in Catholic news right now is the debut of “EWTN News Nightly.” Thanks to Deacon Greg Kandra’s blog, you can see the Sept. 3 premiere and enjoy intelligent commentary about the telecast. Thanks to Lisa Hendey’s blog, written in advance of the debut, you can feel the kind of excitement that a number of news junkies have been experiencing about this potentially huge step forward in the New Evangelization.

What kind of news junkie would get excited about a show like this? Well, G.K. Chesterton, for one. Yes, he’s been deceased for decades, so we won’t see him blogging about “EWTN News Nightly.” But he was a journalist for whom an interest in the latest news was seamlessly integrated with an interest in the whole world–its past, present, and future–and how everything gained importance, or at least relevance, when looked at through a Catholic lens.

When everything is inherently noteworthy, and lifelong learning is an embrace of Christ the Teacher and the search for Truth, you don’t need state-of-the-art visuals or frenetic theme music or tantalizing story teasers to keep you watching. So “EWTN News Nightly,” which will be presented only weekly at first, has none of those things. It’s mature and well-spoken and a bit reflective–maybe so much so that it could use a bit more urgent dynamism. And anchor Colleen Carroll Campbell is a refreshing presence who radiates professionalism in her clear thinking and good questioning. Her approach toward her on-camera guests is right and rare: They must increase, and I must decrease.

This is just the beginning for this bold EWTN experiment. It will be worth watching future episodes and praying for the success of the project. The New Evangelization needs this kind of regular mass-media testimony that the Catholic faith is relevant to the world, and vice versa. This intelligent, faith-filled anchor and her team will remind people that the news need not be a cheapened commodity or a subjective product of personal, relativist perspective. Journalism, at its best, is a way of journaling about the human journey. This journey helps us keep growing, and this program is likely to keep growing, too.

World Youth Day: “A Positive Outlook on Reality”

One of the wonderful commentaries Pope Francis offered during the World Youth Day events in Brazil last week was his prescription of three attitudes that would help today’s young people build “a more just, united, and fraternal world.” Those three attitudes are hope, an ability to be surprised, and joy.

It struck me that this is a wonderful prescription for young people and for institutions serving and forming those young people. The Catholic Church and Catholic universities would be two such institutions.

In speaking of hope, Pope Francis urged, “Let us maintain a positive outlook on reality.” A negative outlook, which is so easy to pick up today from popular culture, politics, and the media, makes it more likely that young people will turn to the alternative “gods” provided by society, such as money, success, power, and pleasure. Young people need to remember that “God has the upper hand” in this world, and He will never allow us to be overcome by our difficulties, the Pope pointed out.

The texture of his remarks became even richer as he talked about the need to allow God to surprise us. “Let us trust God,” he prescribed. This is something Pope Francis does instinctively, for all the world to see. Trust is certainly hard to come by today, and sometimes it seems an authentic sense of surprise, or a willingness to be surprised, is also elusive. In our popular culture, we strain for surprise by wanting things to be more edgy and more extreme. I’ve heard our culture described as a “whatever” culture, where we seem bored by almost everything reality can offer us.

In a commentary about trends in journalism published in “Editor and Publisher” magazine a couple of decades ago, I quipped that “reality is being cancelled due to lack of interest.” The Freedom Forum, a journalism think tank, honored me by quoting me in its desk calendar for journalists the next year; I guess this cautionary note resonated with them. I do think our culture’s pursuit of alternative realities (video games, etc.) is a big part of the reason for the sharp decline of the market for serious journalism. The coverage of reality would strike people as more interesting if the reporters themselves were looking for genuine surprises–that is, facts and ideas that are not part of the conventional narrative. Titillation, outrage, and schadenfreude too often supplant healthy curiosity and surprise in the media today.

Just as hope can prompt us to look for God’s surprises, finding those surprises can lead us to joy, according to the Pope’s three-step prescription. Joy is another commodity often missing from our culture. Hauntingly, the words that come together in the term schadenfreude are German for “the joy of damage.” That’s a false joy! Without true joy and awe and a sense of great possibilities, we may not have enough energy to imagine, create, renew, and pursue a more just world where all other people can share the joy we’re experiencing.

Chesterton said (something like) this: The world has no shortage of wonders, but it does suffer from a shortage of wonder. I’ve heard it said that wonder should be everywhere on a college campus, where there are constantly new things to be learned, new people with whom to brainstorm, new mental, emotional, and spiritual connections to be made. Too often, cynicism or escapism or thrills of the moment substitute for joy…on college campuses and everywhere.

So I find this prescription from Pope Francis to be quite thought-provoking. All Christians and all New Evangelizers who care about our world and our future need to cultivate hope, surprise, and joy so as to energize young people, or even just to get their attention! I must do more thinking about how the institutional Church can embody this prescription better. How could a university embody it? Well, a big emphasis on world-class, interdisciplinary research, reflecting a mission to make a difference in the world and tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, would help to generate hope; it would spring from a faith in that God who “has the upper hand” and wants the best for His beloved creatures. Research and an enthusiastic embrace of teaching and learning across a vast array of subject areas would foster a sense of surprise, and a vibrant spiritual life on campus would help the community of students and faculty to be attentive to the unseen, respectful of mystery, and ready for wonder. Also, a touch of sports, perhaps with a winning football team that was known as persistent and unpredictable–and, please God, capable of going all the way–would also help to generate joy.

All of these ingredients together could go far in enabling the next generation to pursue a more just, united, and fraternal world. That’s just one possible model for such an empowering campus. But it’s a microcosm worthy of exploration by those who welcome the Pope’s prescription for a positive outlook on reality.

God’s in the details — and the patriotic songs

I was blessed to start out this 4th of July with Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, a Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin Rhoades to mark the end of the Fortnight for Freedom. Especially in light of the Bishop’s remarks about the need for America to respect religious liberty, it was a powerful after-Mass meditation to think about God’s presence in the patriotic songs we sing on days like today.

I knew about America the Beautiful, Battle Hymn of the Republic, God Bless America, etc., but the hymnal in the pew also contained The Star Spangled Banner, and this one surprised me. Most Americans only know the first stanza, if that. Did you know that the stanza that was third in the hymnal–and fourth in the Wikipedia article about the anthem–is another powerful statement of gratitude to God? Here it is, as provided by Wikipedia:

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave![12]

GK Chesterton once said that he pitied the atheist who was thankful but had no one to thank. Many expressions of our patriotism are seamlessly connected to religious values. As long as we sing these songs about America, we’ll be remembering and reaffirming the values of past generations who saw a connection between the blessings of this country and the One who blesses.

Gateway Episodes: This Concept Opens Up Some Possibilities

Thank you, Abby Ohlheiser, whose post in the June 25 Slate introduced me to the concept of “gateway episodes.” Abby mused on how a TV series, perhaps a now-cancelled series that one always wanted to sample  and still can catch up on via DVD sets or online archives, may have produced one episode that serves as the perfect introduction to the essence of the series–its characters and characteristics. Check out the gateway episode, and you then can determine whether you want to experience more.

Indeed, you could become “hooked” on the series, which calls to mind the darker predecessor term, “gateway drug,” as applied to marijuana. I prefer a more positive interpretation, and use, of the “gateway” concept. Robert Frost popularized the idea that “good fences make good neighbors.” In these days when a lot of metaphorical fences are being built, we need to celebrate gateways that break through walls and traps into broader thinking and brighter possibilities.

Now I’ve started thinking about “gateway episodes” as they apply to TV series I’ve loved, but I’m gladly going forth from there to ask questions relevant to my work and my faith: Might it be a good communications/marketing strategy for an organization to seek out and highlight a story that serves as a “gateway episode,” a great entry point and introduction that compels first-time visitors to come back to learn more about the organization? If you had to pick a “gateway episode” in the history of Notre Dame, what would it be? Is the typical Fighting Irish football weekend a gateway episode into Notre Dame’s past, present, and future? Does the Catholic Church need to identify and publicize “gateway episodes” in its history or present-day story that draw people close enough to understand some basics, to become intrigued by some mysteries, and to pursue deeper knowledge of the institution–and of the Risen Christ?

Does every human life’s story have a gateway episode? In an age when our popular culture often seeks out and spotlights personal episodes of embarrassment or accusal or superficiality for the purpose of entertainment or schadenfreude, do we as communicators or journalists, or brothers and sisters in Christ, owe it to others to seek out gateway episodes in people’s lives–rather than episodes that build fences? Does every individual’s spiritual journey toward God have a gateway episode? Is God always in the business of creating and opening gateways that open up possibilities for closer relationships?

These are big questions that I hope to come back to over time. Right now, I’ll begin my practice of the concept by asking smaller questions that are nevertheless fun. What was the best gateway episode for the classic “Star Trek” series? It turns out that this conversation has already taken place online. And I love the first answer I saw at this site–namely, the great episode titled “City on the Edge of Forever.” No pun intended, the correspondent advises us, realizing that the episode is about a mysterious alien gateway that allows the Enterprise officers to go back in time to a profound setting of love, friendship, and adventure. This was indeed Star Trek at its best. Perhaps seeking out such gateways is a wonderful way to approach storytelling and celebrate intrinsic, positive possibilities.

Stay Tuned …

The Son Rise Morning Show, which is heard on more than 180 Catholic radio stations in the United States, is not being heard in South Bend, for the time being. Because of what might be called “technical difficulties” in leasing arrangements and relationships between various radio stakeholders, the EWTN radio signal is no longer being broadcast at 1580 on your AM dial — which as WHLY had the fortunate moniker of “Holy Radio.”

Efforts are under way to return and expand the Catholic radio presence in South Bend through the good work of Redeemer Radio, the Catholic radio station in Fort Wayne that has the strong support of Bishop Kevin Rhoades. I am involved in those efforts because I have been a lifelong fan of talk radio and a long-time friend of Catholic radio. My ACE and IEI communications experience affirms my fandom because the good folks at the Son Rise Morning Show have shown a consistent interest in the value that our ACE and IEI experts on Catholic schools can bring to their airwaves. We’ve had numerous ACE and IEI colleagues interviewed by host Brian Patrick. Indeed, Brian discovered that he and Father Joe Corpora were classmates in a Catholic grammar school in Ohio. Listen to one of the Father Joe interviews.

While we’re waiting for the return of Catholic radio to South Bend, there are a few things one can do. Of course, the EWTN feed (which is not the only Catholic broadcasting going on in the country … more on that in a future blog) can be heard live on the Internet at ewtn.com. An app called iHeartRadio has allowed me to pick up the broadcasts on my smart phone. And I must admit that I occasionally now listen to the surviving talk stations still broadcasting in South Bend — WSBT on the AM dial and the Michiana News Channel on the FM dial.

By the way, caught an interesting interview on MNC this weekend with Dennis Rushkoff, a media theorist whose new book, Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now, contains a lot of good food for thought. Catch him on his blog being interviewed on the Colbert Report!

 

Pax et bonum, Pope Benedict

I am taking a moment to write this post at 1:57 local time, Feb. 28, just a few minutes before Pope Benedict officially renounces the role of Holy Father. The beautiful bells of Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart started ringing at 1:52, offering an eight-minute tribute to the Pope, the Papacy, and the Church that journeys onward. The bells always bring a beautiful sound right outside my office window here at the Institute for Educational Initiatives, but they touch a melancholy note today because it really does feel like a worldwide family is fatherless at the moment–yes indeed, the bells just stopped, it is the 8 pm time of resignation in Rome. I am thankful that the Lord is always with us, that the Holy Spirit is always guiding us as individuals and as a Church, and we shall not be left orphans. Bells like these at Notre Dame always ring out hope, especially valued during this Lenten season when we are especially mindful of the Cross, which is truly our only hope, as the Congregation of Holy Cross wisely points out. As Francis of Assisi used to say, Peace and all good things, Papa Benedict.