Saturday, April 23, 2005

Papam Goes to China

Benedicto XVI, di Marktl am Inn (Munchen und Freising), Joseph Ratzinger, 19, 24.IV.2005 -- Pastore Universale della Chiesa.

Well, here we go....

Forgive the extended absence. The past three weeks being the Vaticanologist's moment in the sun, my days were spent pontificating (pun intended) on the Roman scene in the media at home and beyond. These have been moments of grace and magic, and I remain overawed at how the Church, i.e. our people gathered from across the globe, have been for the world a picture of dignity, unity and love in this time of great history and change.

Now, a word to my ilk. I'm not the most demure commentator around -- reading the posts below, for those who don't know me, will confirm this. But it's time to rise above the pettiness and cut out the "prophets of doom" hysterics. You're all starting to sound like Jamie Allman.

History shows us how the papacy changes a man, and I have great confidence that everyone predicting the imminent implosion of the church will be very surprised as Papa Ratzi surges forward.

In retrospect, we should not have been as surprised as we were. This is the only choice the cardinals could have credibly made. Were a Hummes, a Tettamanzi, a Scola -- i.e. someone known by name but without the Curial experience, the international exposure, the scrutiny -- elevated, he would've been overwhelmed by the burden of the office, the need to brush up on all its elements, the heightened profile. Joseph Ratzinger has had 23 years of preparation for that, and the papacy is, for him, a hand-in-glove fit. After five years of a Curia on autopilot, it was determined that there was no luxury of time for a new pope to learn Rome on-the-ground, and this one will hit the ground running.

Buckle your seat belts, kids. This will be an incredible ride.



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