David Crabtree on Assignment

A Mass for the Masses

Posted April 17, 2008
Updated April 18, 2008

OK, call it coincidence if you want, but I'm not so sure.

In 1993, World Youth Day in Denver saw 10 days of sunshine. In 1999, I spent nine days in Rome as we were producing a documentary on the Vatican. Nine days – never saw a drop of rain.

Three years ago, another six days in The Eternal City covering John Paul II's funeral. Sunshine every day except the last hour of the funeral service.

Now, two days with Benedict XVI in Washington and again, perfect weather.

Whether or not it's a coincidence, or something no one could ever truly explain, it has been another marvelous assignment that, today, included another papal Mass.

This one was more special than the others.

Maybe my own maturity is at work here. Maybe it's the mood of the country regarding the Roman Catholic Church. Maybe it's because it's the first time I've seen Benedict XVI up close since Cardinal Ratzinger was elected.

No matter the reason, this was a Mass for the masses. Close to 50,000 people filled Nationals Park like it was the opening day of the World Series.

They cheered as the Holy Father emerged from, of all things, the dugout!

He did a victory lap in the Pope Mobile and people cheered louder than they did years ago for Cal Ripken just a few miles up the road in Baltimore.

The choirs, the clergy, the liturgy, the Eucharist, the faithful.

Outside, hundreds watched on giant jumbo-trons, as there weren't enough tickets for everyone.

Also outside, protestors. Not just those who disagree with Catholic teaching, but those who shouted hate-filled insults at anyone who disagrees with their view of Biblical teaching.

Msgr. Tim O'Connor has consulted with WRAL-TV on papal issues for almost 10 years. He's been slapped, punched and pinched. Thursday though, I heard more vile thrown at him than I had heard before.

Inside, the pope was serving communion; outside those fundamentalist preachers served hate with equal ease.

The monsignor is my friend. I wanted to shout back. Instead, I watched him. He walked along in silence.

Later he told me, "All I could do was pray for them. I wasn't comfortable, but with Christ in me, I had to pray."

Those words still resonate with me, and I'll take them to New York and keep them close as I watch and hear another round of insults hurled at the Vicar of Christ.

22 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • Wiser_now Apr 18, 12:20 p.m.

    "As far as his comment about preachers serving up hatred, I would like to know how he knows those doing that are in fact preachers. "

    Could David be using the "preacher" title in general terms? Not meaning "ordained, official, flock-leading ministers"?

  • TheAdmiral Apr 18, 11:28 a.m.

    "I'm not catholic and believe there is only 1 "Holy Father." Like past Popes, he will die and his body will rot in the ground."

    Father is a term that is used in the catholic church for the priests - they are the head of the church - much like Most Reverend.

    No other connotation should come of it. The head of your house is your father. The head of the church is also the father.

    I am a colonel, but never was in the army.

  • TheAdmiral Apr 18, 11:25 a.m.

    "As far as his comment about preachers serving up hatred, I would like to know how he knows those doing that are in fact preachers."

    When you have them lined up on the sides in their pastorial black screaming hatred - I guess it is kind of evident.

  • fireman1963 Apr 18, 11:24 a.m.

    sunburnmenot - "I'm not catholic and believe there is only 1 "Holy Father." Like past Popes, he will die and his body will rot in the ground. I am thankful that my "Holy Father" rose after 3 days and He is still alive and with me today."

    AMEN! Thank you for saying that. After all of the posts on here today and over the last several days, it is refreshing to hear someone say that - catholic, baptist, or otherwise. I am a Christian (raise Methodist but converted to Baptist after finally believing in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour) who will only call one Holy Father - the God of Heaven.

    Like I said, it is great to hear someone say what you said. Kind of puts things in perspective.

  • Here kitty kitty Apr 18, 11:15 a.m.

    I'm not catholic and believe there is only 1 "Holy Father." Like past Popes, he will die and his body will rot in the ground. I am thankful that my "Holy Father" rose after 3 days and He is still alive and with me today.

  • aanda8104 Apr 18, 10:49 a.m.

    I believe that all of those who don't know should not judge. Being born and raised Catholic I have had a lifetime to learn, but I don't disregard or degrade others for their beliefs. If you were born and raised Baptist I don't tell you "you're not going to heaven because you don't believe in the true Christ", just as I don't tolerate or appreciate it when others say the same of me because we offer reverence to the saints and OUR POPE. For those who read this “Peace Be With You as Christ gave us peace through his death on the Cross.”….AMEN “And on you Peter as the cornerstone I will build my church”

  • fireman1963 Apr 18, 10:46 a.m.

    While I agree that hurling insults at anyone is not only hurtful and un-Christian, I would not take the word of David Crabtree as to whether these were really insults and whether they were really being delivered by preachers. Mr. Crabtree has never been one to hide his point of view under the "objective" umbrella.

    As far as his comment about preachers serving up hatred, I would like to know how he knows those doing that are in fact preachers. Has he talked to them? Has he confirmed that they are in fact preachers? And if he is inside listening to the mass and taking part in communion, how does he know what is going on outside?

  • TheAdmiral Apr 18, 10:11 a.m.

    I think David has said it best:

    "Also outside, protestors. Not just those who disagree with Catholic teaching, but those who shouted hate-filled insults at anyone who disagrees with their view of Biblical teaching.

    Inside, the pope was serving communion; outside those fundamentalist preachers served hate with equal ease."

    I don't know how you can call your self a christian or a leader or a christian leader if you are acting like three year olds throwing a temper tantrum. Those are the ones who need to go back to their congregation and admit that they are not the example of the head of their church they need to be and resign.

  • jackhudson Apr 18, 10:06 a.m.

    As soon as the Pope has Cardinal Law, among others, defrocked and excommunicated from the Church then I will consider the Church as a source of morality. Cardinal Law of Boston knowingly transferred pedophile priests to other parished whey they continued their sexual abuse. Until he does, the Church has NO moral standing in this world. Shame on him!

  • CestLaVie Apr 18, 9:09 a.m.

    Personally, I prefer the work & faith as practiced & shown to the world by Mother Teresa. She did not amass wealth in the name of helping others, yet she had a keen mind. Her humility was a fine example for the world.

    The Catholic church has done a lot of good; it has also amassed wealth beyond scrutiny & count. They are about control, starting with birth control & ending with your lives.

    Nor should you knock us or hate us for worshipping the same God, without the intrusion of a church upon our backs. You & I could talk all day about Jesus & His miracles & sacrifice; just don't bring what your Church demands into the conversation - stick with the words of Jesus, not the church.

    I was surprised to learn of Benedict's words to those abused by the priests - a good step in the right direction for their healing.

More...

 

 

About this Blog:

WRAL anchor David Crabtree reports from around the world.