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31 Oct

There are many things we can praise Pope Benedict for — prompting conversations about translation studies, finding a theological justification for condoms, impeccable taste for vestments — but let’s for a moment add to the list of things we can blame him for: this blog.

On any given day before February 2013, I was the only one willing to have a conversation with me about Catholic politics and culture was me (YES, I’ve had conversations with myself, don’t judge me, I’m part Arab, I talk to myself with my HANDS). Then suddenly Benny had to go and resign in the middle of Lent and everyone started talking about it. The media. My colleagues. My family. And even though I was still only starting to get into Catholic studies, suddenly I had an expertise. People were asking me questions about Catholicism, and in my head and on my Facebook I was correcting the bad-research errors of journalists. I’ve fantasized about becoming a Vaticanologist who’s interviewed by CNN and published on HuffPo (when I’m not working in the Jesuit Archives, of course).

Astonishingly, this trend has continued long past the conclave, long past Pope Francis’s election. Just a couple weeks ago I could sit in a waiting room and listen overhead to NPR discuss the Synod on Marriage and Family and the temporarily radical new stance the Church was taking in addressing gays and lesbians. Church politics are still relevant, and I still have things to say.

Benny started it, but now there will be many Frankie-inspired posts to come.