In Memoriam: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:43 PM

That phrase is a Roman proverb that is included in the ceremony of initiating a new pontiff in the Roman Catholic Church. Thus passes away the glory of the world. This seems like a good statement to meditate on when entering that high office, or really any position of importance; it helps to keep one humble.

Pope John Paul II certainly saw all the glory of his position fade as he suffered over the past few years from ailments. All the pomp and honor of one of the best known and most respected positions in the world does little to help with the cruel, slow onslaught of time on us. The pope died this afternoon at the age of 84. It is sad to hear of the loss of a man who did so much for the Catholic church with such grace and humility. Had I sat down with him to discuss theology, we likely would have differed in many nuances and even on few larger issues, but boiled down to the essentials, I believe every indication was that we were both on the same side. We most certainly agreed on the essential belief that is the heart of the Gospel: “Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Obviously, this is why the glory of the world is unimportant. Soli Deo Gloria. God's glory does not pass away, and so there is every reason to expect that His servant Karol Wojtyla is now enjoying the presence of true glory rather than the kind that simply passes away.

I know this news made me depressed, so I'm sure it is especially hard for all of my friends within the Catholic church. My prayers are with you and the church's leaders as the difficult process of transition to the next pontiff begins.

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4 comments posted so far.

Re: In Memoriam: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Indeed, Tim. My wife (you know she’s a Roman Catholic) is weeping. She’s sad for the news, but grateful for the old Pope’s life. I am too; we owe John Paul II a major kick towards ending the cruel and crippling dictatorship of General Alfredo Stroessner.

He was a history-maker; and despite our differences in beliefs, deep as they might be, I sincerely hope he’s enjoying the company of Heaven.

(btw, my blog is back!)

Posted by Eduardo - Apr 02, 2005 | 9:18 PM- Location: Asuncion, Paraguay, South America

Re: In Memoriam: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Heh. You quote a cry of the Reformation (soli Deo gloria) in writing about the pope.


Posted by jtr - Apr 03, 2005 | 12:23 AM- Location:

Re: In Memoriam: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Eduardo: Yes, he did accomplished some remarkable things — a lot to do in 26 years! I too hope he is enjoying the company of heaven and hope I might someday get the opportunity to talk to him there.

jtr: Yes, I wondered if anyone would catch that. I love making use of the ironic, and it just seemed to fit.

Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Apr 03, 2005 | 6:25 AM- Location: MO

Re: In Memoriam: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

BTW, Eduardo, it is great to see your blog’s return! :mrgreen:

Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Apr 03, 2005 | 6:26 AM- Location: MO

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