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A Word from Rabbi Schulman - 1/3/2020

Spiritual inspiration can be found in many places. Sometimes the best moments come unexpectedly. Such is the case when I watched the Netflix movie, The Two Popes. The film is based on historical fact. In 2013, Pope Benedict XVI resigned his papacy, something that had not transpired in the Catholic Church in nearly 600 years. A few weeks later, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected by the conclave of cardinals to be Benedict’s successor.

Yet the movie is more than a dry depiction of recent history. Instead, it is a sensitive portrayal of two men whose personalities are very different. Pope Benedict is a German; a strict adherent to church doctrine; an elitist devoted to study. In contrast, Pope Francis is an Argentinian; whose warmth and charisma are magnetic. He is a man of the people and a champion of the poor.

Despite their differences, a bond deepens between them. They each profess their struggle with faith; questioning God’s benevolence in a world where the innocent are slaughtered. Each man expresses doubts if he is worthy of fulfilling God’s mission.

Questioning one’s faith and doubting one’s ability transcend the particularities of the papacy or of Catholicism. They are universal themes that resonate for any person of faith.

If you subscribe to Netflix, I recommend you to watch The Two Popes. I hope you find it illuminating and inspirational.

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