Roman Thoughts: Bad Pictures of the Pope

I was excited to grab a shot of the new Holy Father at this week’s Wednesday audience.  But the photos did not go so well.  Here the two best shots:

il papa1

il papa5

It’s a bit embarrassing coming away with such terrible photos, but it reminded me of an important aspect of humility.  Professor Cavadini has been using the phrase, the ‘ephemerality of particularity’ in relation to the Incarnation.  The Word made Flesh demonstrates humility in submitting to the fleeting moments, experiences and sensations of human life.  The everlasting God chewed food, dreamt dreams and bled streams of blood.  We, too, are bound to these small, passing moments.

While a photographile, I realized that at times, the attempt to preserve an event by photographing it can become a rejection of that moment, of the ephemerality of particularity.  It can be a moment of desperation, of pride, of annexing that which is given, of clinging to that which is not God.  Sometimes, our job is not to capture a moment, but to witness it.  This corresponds to our human nature, and may lead to a more profound possession of that moment than if we’d tried to photograph it.

I have been leaving my camera at the hotel more and more this week, content to see what I can see.

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Jane Sloan


B. Jane Sloan is a writer and high school theology teacher from Atlanta, GA. In addition to blogging for Catholic Exchange, she has been published in Our Sunday Visitor, Notre Dame Magazine and the literary journal Omnibus. Jane graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2007 with a B.A. in theology and philosophy. In 2009, she graduated with an M. Ed. from Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education. In 2009 Jane made a 500-mile pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. She spent summer 2010 as an intern planting vegetables and baking bread at the Abbey of Regina Laudis OSB in Bethlehem, CT. In 2011 she was present among the millions at the beatification of Blessed John Paul II. She is currently working toward her M.A. in Theology. Follow her on Twitter @CE_SundayBrunch. Follow her other blog on all-natural eating at

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  • knittypig

    Thoughtful post. But I have to disagree. I take photographs because I
    appreciate beauty, and I want to remember what I am seeing. It means
    I can enjoy my experience of that particular beauty again and again, and
    I can share it with my loved ones.