Servant of the Servants of God Serves No Longer

When I lived in Rome, I met Pope John Paul II on numerous occasions, but the only time I ever heard Pope Benedict was in the 1980’s. Then he was Cardinal Ratzinger, and he was giving a lecture when he was suddenly interrupted by a group of AIDS activists. The packed hall was convulsed; eventually, the protestors were escorted out and the lecture continued.

The event could be seen as symbolic of the rest of Ratzinger’s career, where events not of his own making and beyond his control interfered with the ministry he would have liked to have had.

Others can comment on his leadership or lack of same. I have only two remarks: first, it must have been very hard to follow someone with such magnetic appeal. John Paul was the only person I have ever met to have radiated charisma in the true sense of that term: spiritual appeal. Second, Benedict’s papal actions such as dealing with the sex scandals have distracted the public from the excellent books he has recently published on Jesus. Wide-ranging, scholarly yet lucid, modern yet traditional, they are landmarks of biblical theology that all Christians can appreciate. They are perhaps Benedict’s most valuable legacy. —J. Douglas Ousley



One Response to “Servant of the Servants of God Serves No Longer”

  1. John says:

    I agree with you on your remarks as others have also made similar comments. I also think that Benedict feels that it’s time for someone more contemporary to take the helm of the Church. There are many changes taking place around the world. Social media is not just for entertainment anymore, it helped promote the sweeping changes we now see in Egypt and other countries seeking change and a better life. In our country, women in the military can now officially go into combat roles. Since we’re currently the main superpower, this will translate into greater power for women members of other countries militaries who will copy us. The logic will be: If the U.S. does it, why can’t we? Already in Mexico there are many women serving in the Federal Police taking the place of men killed by drug traffickers. The point is changes are taking place everyday at a greater pace than ever before and the 800 lb. gorilla of the Christian world, the Catholic Church, needs a new dynamic Pope that can react to situations quickly from his Twitter account in his Blackberry, iPhone or android phone and yet also remain true to the Papal traditions. Definitely not an easy chore trying to create such a balance.

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