Posts Tagged ‘Roman Catholic Church’

Servant of the Servants of God Serves No Longer

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

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