Saturday, March 16, 2013

Watching for the ways the world is changing around us

The history of the papacy, the office held by the pope as leader of the Catholic Church, spans from the time of Saint Peter to present day. In that time the shifts in social sensibilities, cultural realities, knowledge and belief systems and technologies have been both dynamic and glacial. In 2013 the papal changeover serendipitously demonstrates the speed of change evident in the 21st Century.

The image above is a poignant demonstration of change. After the faithful had waited for a puff of white smoke from a chimney on the Sistine Chapel they shared their experience with their worlds.Tradition dictates that the new Pope should change into his papal white cassock as, one by one, the cardinals who elected him in the conclave approach him to swear their obedience. Tradition demands that he stop and pray in the Pauline Chapel for a few minutes before emerging on the loggia of the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square to reveal his identity to the world.

There the faithful wait to see their new Pope and receive his blessing. But despite the established traditions technology had added a new layer to them in that the experience of being in St. Peter's Square at 'that moment' can now can not only be share and beamed around the world and can be stored in cyberspace.

In 2005 'that moment' was witnessed by the faithful in almost the same way and then too their 'digital memories' galloped around the world and found resting places in cyberspace to be mused upon. The difference in 2013 being that these digital records – images and sounds – reached further faster. The digital recording 'device' has become ubiquitous to change the ways memories are store, shared and mused upon

The opulence of Pope Benedict XVI reign promises to be transplanted with the Franciscan austerity in line with Pope Francis' sensibilities and Jesuit heritage. The papacy is unlikely to ever be the same as moves forward into the 21st C with all that entails.

Likewise, musing is unlikely to ever be the same again as the world changes around us and paradigms shift in unanticipated ways.  

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