His Holiness focused in his homily today on the title, "dear to St. Gregory the Great": Servus servorum Dei…. Servant of the servants of God.
This is illuminating in light of the fact that Benedict has dropped another title, that the Patriarch of the West.
There was a recent explanation offered through the Ponitifical Council for Culture about why the title was dropped.
Think about it. By dropping that title, you bring to bear the focus of many on all of the titles of the Bishop of Rome. You get people thinking about what they all mean. This underscores the role of the Petrine Ministry in the Church, which is a deep point of reflection of the present Holy Father.
Titles mean something.
The word "cardinal" comes from Latin for "hinge". These new Cardinals are the "hinge men" or closest collaborators of the Pope. They also, therefore, must associate themselves more closely now than ever, to the service of the servants of God, even to the shedding of their blood.
And the readings chosen for today gave a dark and even bloody tenor to the ceremony. The first reading brought to mind the famous moment so many of these older men know so well from the older way of singing Compline. The reading was from 1 Peter about how the Devil, our Adversary, our Enemy, is like a roaring lion looking for those whom he might devour. In the Gospel from Mark, they heard the Lord foretell His Passion nd how the discplies were going to drink of that Passion as well. The Holy Father, ever since his incredible Stations of the Cross last year before his election, has underscored the contrast between God’s ways and the world. In his New Year message, he spoke of conflicts and those who violate the rights of man. I believe this Holy Father understands what the stakes are in today’s world.