TIME does right by Benedict XVI

How refreshing it was to read an opinion piece on TIME’s website (admittedly by a Catholic) that pays due regard to the achievements of Benedict XVI. Christopher Hale makes several excellent points in his op-ed which you should go and read (in part to encourage secular media such as TIME to be as balanced in their coverage in the future). But a few deserve highlighting:

If the Church is indeed undergoing a revolution, it is important to note that Francis himself did not fire the first shot. That feat belonged to his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who a year ago today announced his stunning decision to voluntarily renounce his office.

By renouncing the throne of Saint Peter, it was Benedict — not Francis — who performed the greatest act of papal humility in 2013, and perhaps the greatest act of papal humility during the two millennia history of the Catholic Church.

Benedict’s lesson for his Church and the world was clear: I love you. I choose you. You matter to me more than anything else…

…Benedict came into office during a strange and difficult time for the Catholic Church. The introvert pope had to replace the rock star Pope John Paul II during a time of great trial for the universal Church, which had been rocked by the sex abuse scandal in the United States and throughout the world.

Amidst the difficulties, Benedict attempted to re-center the Church around Jesus Christ. And when the dust settled, Benedict appeared to do the job well…

…To the surprise of many, Benedict’s teachings came back again and again to the central theme of God’s love…

…But of course, Benedict’s greatest act for the Church was his last action. In a world obsessed with the cult of personality and power, he reminded us that the greatest among us are the ones who give it all up for the sake of others.

Mr Hale also exposes the opinions on Benedict expressed in Rolling Stone for what they are: bilious, “mean-spirited antics”.

Even though the author is a guest writer for TIME, we can at least acknowledge that TIME has done something positive, allowing the record to be balanced on its website and allow a voice that goes against the libels that plague the reputation of Benedict XVI in the secular wilderness.


5 thoughts on “TIME does right by Benedict XVI

  1. Thank you for pointing out this article. Pope Benedict / Joseph Ratzinger is perhaps the greatest theologian of his generation. His writings had such intellectual and theological depth that they did not fit into the simplistic categories portrayed by the mainstream media or any person who sees the world in a binary fashion. He was a deep traditionalist but who also recognized the wisdom that modern discoveries are also part of God’s ongoing revelation. He brought back the Latin Mass and developed a deep ecological theology. He was a student of both St. Augustine and Teilhard de Chardin. He articulated the continuity of God’s relationship with humanity.

    Pope Benedict heeded the call of the Holy Spirit and the Church as CDF and Pope even though all indications are that he would rather than been teaching and writing. His pontificate appears to be sandwiched between two larger than life personalities and current history appears to view him as a transitional figure and scapegoat the abuses and corruption that have built up in the Church. However, I am hopeful (and I truly believe) that once current Western society recovers from its individualistic narcissism and rediscovers its connection to God, Pope Benedict will be seen as a prophet and guiding light of his generation, even if we did not recognize it at the time.

    W. Ockham

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing Father. I love what you and the article’s author remind us of– that the greatest acts of love can be the most quiet and simple– yet, in turn, making them the most powerful.
    What Pope Benedict did, took, what the world observes or those who can actually see the heart of the issue, courage and great strength… yet it is only through Benedict’s great obedience and yielding to his role as truly a servant that is most exemplarily, as society as a whole looks to the loud and boisterous leaders and not so to the humble servant. May we be mindful that it is the quiet humble servant who perhaps hears the still small voice of God the loudest.
    Peace Father–


    1. It is pretty clear now that Ratzinger/Benedict XVI was a shy man, who preferred scholarship, prayer and liturgy to more high-profile public offices. Yet it was his scholarship, spirituality and devotion that saw him summoned to the sort of life he felt uncomfortable with. Yet for decades he served, vilified, often a lone voice. He never gave up nor spat the dummy.

      This is a humble man if ever there was one. As much as I worry about the recent, often speedy, canonizations of popes, even so surely Benedict XVI will one day be raised to our altars. And worthily so.



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