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Issue 15 – Lent 2023



Odds and ends from the staff of The Lamp.


✥ As we were putting the final touches on this issue of The Lamp, we stumbled on a news item announcing that a street in Madrid is to be named after Pope Benedict XVI. Those in favor of the proposition enumerated the late pope’s many merits, including his personal faith and his leadership of the faithful, but noted that Joseph Ratzinger will primarily be remembered as a transitional figure in the life of the Church. It was his task, first as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and then in a nearly eight-year papacy, to confront the waste inflicted on the Church in the last century, so much of which was self-inflicted. He bore that burden with a remarkable humility. This was because Ratzinger, the mayor of Madrid said, demonstrated throughout his life and works an understanding “that charity without truth is a hypocritical humanitarianism.” We could not agree more, and see a great wisdom in naming city streets after those whose lives have shaped our own. It puts us in the mind of Invisible Cities and the city Zaira, which “does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.”

✥ A recent afternoon stroll through the Old City in Jerusalem revealed knowledge heretofore hidden from the West. A man in the Christian Quarter selling N.F.L. T-shirts, along with the usual array of Holy Land trinkets, pointed proudly to his collection of Washington Redskins shirts. “The last in the world,” he claimed. He had never heard of the so-called Washington Football Team and he never plans to buy Washington Commanders gear, although, he admitted, circumstances may force him to do so eventually. But even then he has some consolation. “Many centuries ago, the Redskins were called the Commanders,” he said. “At last they have returned to the old ways.”

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