I channel surfed a bit in the lead up to the funeral mass. CNN requires that horrible data line at the bottom of the screen giving us all sorts of crud we don't need to read so I opeted for NBC. At least those guys left a full screen and kept the talking to a minimum. For a Catholic the mass, whether in latin, or English or Italian, is understandable. NBC had their clergy-pundit do the translation of the latin bits. I had the KJB open and followed along. Then a couple of things went sideways.
First of all when the psalmist began singing the latin version of Psalm 23, pretty much mandatory in a funeral service, the NBC pundit and the super script that flashed on the screen said it was psalm 22. Brian Williams picked up on the legendary psalm 22 as did the female counterpart. The 23rd psalm is the most famous and oft quoted psalm. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me...etc" Psalm 22 starts out "My God My God, why have you forsaken me ...etc."
The punditry kept quiet until near the end when the crowd was chanting alernately "Magnus! Magnus!" and "Santo! Santo!" letting the Cardinals know that John Paul sould be known as John Paul the Great and that he should be canonized. I have no doubt that both will be done in good time.
The Papel "historian" on the NBC punditry staff then said that this had not occured in recorded Church history since the funeral of Pope Gregory the Great in the 8th century. Well I will admit that I can't recall a papel funeral where the Pontiff was lionized so. Though that is probably because I have only seen three papel funerals out of 264 Popes. The pundit was of course wrong about the date of Gregory's funeral. He truely would have been one amazing pope to have been born in AD540 and lived until the 700's. The truth is that Gregory died in AD 604 in the 7th Century. I know this is papel hair splitting but I find that the pundits usually spew errors like this. The key is to not know anything about what they are talking about, then they sound smart.
Overall I think the news people were at a real loss for accurate words. One glaring omission on behalf of NBC was the lack of words regarding the heads of state. Now you can say that God is dead, and that John Paul was just a Jesus freak. But sitting together at that funeral were the leaders from the US, Iran, and Syria. The funeral of John Paul brought enemies together for 3 hours in one place. Looking at all the Jews, Muslims, Eastern Orthodox, Budhist monks, Sieks, and Hindus in attendance one can begin to appreciate what the Hand of God can do when He is so moved. Yet this event was ignored.
Not to beat up on NBC too much though because the real losers were the heads of state that missed a giant, historic, and literally God given opportunity to advance peace.
"May the peace of the Lord be with you all. Let us offer each other the sign of peace." Ratzigner spoke. And as millions in attendance, in Rome and around the world, my Mom and I included, embraced and said "Peace be with you." The leaders of the Earth stood still, or offered their allies a handshake.
How the world might have changed if President Bush had bothered to walked ten steps and offer his hand to the President of Iran or vice versa. But none took up John Paul's staff. If they had only taken to hart what John Paul II said when he first spoke as Pope in 1978. The words were not his but Christs, "Be not affraid."
Magnus Magnus, Santo, Santo! Santo Giovanni Paulo!