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Why I love Pope Benedict XVI
Posted By Eric Sammons On April 26, 2010 @ 9:46 am In Pope Benedict | Comments Disabled
This month marks the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s election, as well as his 83rd birthday. He has been in the news a lot lately, and this has given me an opportunity to reflect on how much I admire our current Holy Father. As Catholics we are required to follow our popes, but we are not required to like them. In fact, there have been many popes throughout history who have been thoroughly unlikable fellows. Just because someone is the pope doesn’t mean that he is particularly intelligent, engaging, or even that he is not among the ranks of the scoundrels. But we are blessed that our current Holy Father is a brilliant theologian and sensitive pastor of souls.
I remember when I first was exposed to the writings of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. I was taking a class at Franciscan University in the mid-90′s on Vatican II and we were required to read The Ratzinger Report , which is an book-length interview of Cardinal Ratzinger by Vittorio Messori. As a recent convert, I was unfamiliar with Cardinal Ratzinger, but after reading this book I immediately recognized that this man had a brilliant, incisive mind. He appeared able to analyze issues in the Church – even ones he was intimately involved in – from an objective viewpoint that took in all of the Catholic Tradition and Scripture and applied them to our modern problems.
After that first exposure I then began to read as much Ratzinger as I could. Dr. Hahn assigned a few of the Cardinal’s texts for a class I was taking, and I devoured them. Again, I was struck by his ability to integrate Catholic Tradition, Scripture and the needs of the modern world into a synthesis which enabled him to address our most pressing problems in a uniquely Catholic way. He did not fall into any post-Vatican II “camp,” but instead pulled from past the greatest insights of our Tradition and applied them to our modern age. Those who have read Cardinal Ratzinger extensively know what a joke it is when the mainstream media calls him a “conservative” or a “traditionalist.” Likewise with the silly title of “God’s Rottweiler.” He is a man who is faithful to the Church, not to any particular subsection of it.
Over the years I have also been struck by Cardinal Ratzinger’s character. It recently came to light that he was one of the few Vatican officials who point-blank refused the bribes of the Legion of Christ , and frankly, this didn’t surprise me at all. And although he didn’t do much in regards to the abuse crisis before 2002, once the severity of the Scandal came to light he was the first curial official to really “get it” and he has been the most aggressive at combating it. Pope John Paul II, who was a mystic with his eyes pointed to heaven, sometimes could be criticized for not having his feet on the ground. The same cannot be said of Pope Benedict. True to his Augustinian leanings, he recognizes clearly the power of Original Sin and is therefore very cognizant of the danger of sin even in the highest levels of the Church.
Our age, like every age, has its own unique problems and difficulties to overcome in order to reach the world for Christ. I thank God every day that He has given us Pope Benedict XVI as our supreme pastor during this time, and I ask that God grant him many, many more years. May his reign be long and fruitful!
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URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/04/26/why-i-love-pope-benedict-xvi/
URLs in this post:
 The Ratzinger Report: http://www.amazon.com/Ratzinger-Report-Exclusive-Interview-Church/dp/0898700809/
 refused the bribes of the Legion of Christ: http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/money-paved-way-maciels-influence-vatican
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