None of these descriptions suits most popes, and certainly not Benedict XVI.Relying on the secular media is dangerous to your health. Do bookmark Chris Blosser's site: Benedict in America.
Pope Benedict has been a kind of anti-celebrity. He is an academic in temperament, and his view of the papacy is distinctly different from his immediate predecessor in many ways. While he has grown more comfortable in the public eye, he certainly does not seem to thrive in it. He is a theologian and a writer, given to clear and concise prose even when dealing with difficult concepts. He also tends to nuance, however, a style of writing to which Americans seem particularly tone deaf. [my emphasis...tone deaf is a charitable description]
He is the leader of a Church that has never fit neatly into the traditional ideological divide of left and right. That is why efforts to turn him into a kind of Catholic Jerry Falwell or Jesse Jackson are doomed to fail.
Pope Benedict is like his predecessor in his condemnation of war (including the Iraq war) and his defense of the poor. His next encyclical may be on the topic of social justice, and he insists on humanity's responsibility to be a good steward of God's creation.
He is also insistent about the importance of the life issues, consistently making the case that society must protect its weakest citizens -- the unborn, the handicapped and the elderly -- if it is to be considered morally legitimate.
The pope is not here to flatter the powerful or console the comfortable. He is here to spread the Gospel of Jesus and to call Catholics to a deeper faith and identity. And while Catholics are distracted by war and elections and the unraveling of the economy, that is all the more reason to pay attention to this visit. Pope Benedict will be speaking first and foremost to us, and this is a singularly unique moment to put aside our daily concerns and pay close attention to what our Shepherd has to tell us.
He is here to speak truth to our power. Our challenge, as Catholics, will be to hear what he has to say, but if we rely only on the secular media for our understanding, this will be not be easy.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Our Papal Visitor
~from Our Sunday Visitor