It’s been about 15 months now that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope. I had previously prognosticated about how his reign might be here. It might be fun to compare those predictions against how things have unfolded thus far.
- Papa Ratzzy will not be a globe trotter – I would say this is largely true, although the pope has made some trips within Europe, and is planning one to South America, possibly with a stop in the USA. He spends the majority of his time at the Vatican, and thus far, has only vacationed in Italy as well.
- Benedict XVI is tired of being the watch dog – This is markedly true. Now some would say that recent curial appointments show that the pope is placing solid cardinals in key positions. But I would suggest that the sweeping changes in the curia that so many predicted have not come to fruition. Rather, the recent appointments are about reducing bureaucracy in the Vatican, not punctuating a particular ideology or serving as some sort of orthodoxy-litmus-test. Our new pope is delighted to be a pastor and no longer the Grand Inquisitor.
- Benedict is very good one-on-one – This is also clearly the case. He is a personal, yet reserved leader. Benedict XVI is not fond of the limelight, and is much more comfortable in a small setting. An ideal teacher, in the Socratic method particularly. If the schismatic SSPXers are reconciled with the Holy See it will be due to personal interaction between the pope and their leadership. Ditto for further ecumenical successes with the Orthodox.
To the surprise of many, some conservative groups in the Church have been disappointed that the new pope hasn’t “cracked the whip.” And, in similar fashion, some liberal groups in the Church have been pleasantly surprised of that as well.
Please join me in praying for our pope, his is a difficult and demand life, and needs our assistance through prayer.