This virgin martyr is traditionally known as the ‘demon slayer’
Years ago, not long after I graduated from college, my mother gifted me an assortment of patron saint medals that had belonged to my grandmother. As I fingered through the darkening silver disks, each the size of my pinky nail, the saints’ names were familiar—Christopher, Joseph, Teresa—except for one. “Saint Dymphna, pray for us,” read the print above a tiny figure, crowned and brandishing a sword.
In his 26 years as pope, John Paul II gave new shape to the papacy.
Habemus papam. We have a pope. The election of Pope Benedict XVI marks the conclusion of one of the most significant transitional moments in Roman Catholicism, rivaled only, perhaps, by the convocation of an ecumenical council.
Speculation about the identity of the new pope has given way to questions regarding his agenda for the church. The identity of the new pope suggests a papacy that will continue the overall thrust of his predecessor. Still, there are many possible new directions in which Benedict could lead our church.