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Where were you when the pope resigned?

February 11, 2014

In something akin to “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?”, Catholics are penning “Where were you when you learned that the pope had resigned?” pieces today. Okay, here’s where I was.

Everything was normal. I walked into my office at Sacred Heart Major Seminary to prep for class. My phone message light was flashing but my practice is to check email first. Doing so, I noticed a request from a local news station to interview me on the canonical procedure for papal resignations. My instant reaction was to chuckle. “What an incredibly slow news day it must be,” I thought, “to want to interview someone over a process that gets used about every 500 years or so.” I made a mental note to tell them I’d be happy to help out and to ask when over the next several months would they like to do this?

I then checked phone messages and found a request from a local news station to interview me on the canonical procedure for papal resignations. My my, what persistent chaps they are, I thought to myself, but then I noticed something: it was a different news station than the one that had just emailed me. That got my attention.

I went on-line and was thunder-struck upon confirmation of Benedict’s announcement. A few minutes later, the chancery called and relayed that Archbishop Vigneron wanted me to join him for a press conference in an hour. For the first time ever I cancelled a Latin class.

I did about ten media interviews over the next few days and started blogging on various canonical issues that seemed worth ‘tending to. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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