Friday, March 25, 2005

On Enactment and the Pope

Being a big fan of enactment, that rhetorical concept wherein a speaker performs the point he or she is making in the process of making it. That's one of the reasons that I am impressed by what the Pope is doing as he steadily walks towards death. The LA Times has an article that describes the point well:
The pope is using the final chapter of his life as a parable for the world's 1 billion Roman Catholics. He wants his public suffering to convey the value of human life, even in its decline. Especially during the time Christians recall the crucifixion of Jesus, the church is emphasizing the symbolic parallels between the pope's ordeal and that of Christ — an analogy John Paul and his aides have been keen to make.
What a nice phrase, "his life as a parable." It works well with the symbolism that infuses Christianity generally, and Catholicism, from what I understand, even more. Actually, enactment seems to work very well with Christianity. So much of faith, I've found and experienced, is in the performance. Not in some superficial Chorusline performance kind of way, but a very real sense that to have faith is to act faith, hoping and knowing that eventually you'll act in faith.


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