I do not want to pretend this brief note will amount to much in terms of the overall scope of assessing the Pope, his papacy and the possibilities of the coming Conclave.
Josef Ratzinger, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will be remembered among other things as:
the second consecutive Patriarch of Rome, Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff and Successor to the Throne of St. Peter who has not been an Italian and that (without saying the Italians are not agreat people and without saying that Bishops ought mostly to come from their own lands or related lands) is a good thing. It would probably be good if about half of all Popes were Italian over time but I would not want to see dozens of Popes in a row who were not Italian so everyone must do the best they can. He is a German who fought in the regular nonpolitical part of the German forces doing his duty in World War II and is a very accomplished scholar. However, the service to any state headed by Adolf Hitler and his lunatics is a blemish on the Papacy. But the Papacy has had many blemishes — nonetheless I do not lay all the blame on him personally but I do hold it against him. He remembers the insanity of Nazi political religion and although his experience was more ambiguous than he admits he will work to see that the liturgy and practice of the Church draws forth a milieu such as produced Mozart, the Bach family and the Gothic Cathedrals. If he could say anything kind and honest to the Jews in the way of professional advice and have it received he would advise them to invest in their worship and liturgy to reach and surpass the heights of the Temple’s musical past.
Pope Benedict XVI will be remembered as having to at once to contend with a very broad spectrum of issues and demands and has brought to bear his talents as a writer, thinker and organizer as well as his prodigious mental capacities. He, like everyone on who achieves a great and high office is both empowered and sometimes trapped by who he is an by the experiences he brings to this office. This Pope before and after coming into the Throne of Saint Peter has written about Jesus Christ in a very compelling way and has sought to bring the Christ of Faith, the Jesus of History and the Jesus Christ of Cultural Developments into a proper and good focus centered around the Jesus revealed in the Gospels. This is certainly a worthy goal and it fits in the larger context of a body of work.
His resignation was within the lines of discipline, cold logic and control which have typified him. This Pope has specifically struggled with that German Teutonic impulse towards the struggle of the spiritual and the State which has always been pronounced but which which has been agonizingly disfunctional since the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He has also sought to maintain the right balance of life ethics and other aspects of the Christian ethic. That has been challenging and his resignation addresses those issues as well. It is true I did not rejoice at his election but he has done a good job and it is unlikely I will be happier with the next Pope.
My next note will be about the Conclave and Papbili..
Will write a note about this soon…