Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Learning to Love the Pope Through His Writing

I did glance over some of the pieces in the Wall Street Journal this morning about Pope Benedict's pending resignation. They were more even-handed than many of the pieces I saw elsewhere which led off with inflammatory opinion. (For shame Reuters! I knew you when you were cool!)

However, even these were putting forth points of view which baffled me. Until I recalled that these people were outsiders. Those of us on the inside, who had learned to love Pope Benedict in these short eight years could not simply call him a "bridge" or "placeholder" after a historic pope.

As I mentioned yesterday, it was through the Pope's writing that I learned to love this gentle shepherd who spoke of sin in order to keep us safe, not to make us feel shame.

So it was with great pleasure that I read Will Duquette's tribute which puts my own thoughts into much better words. Here's part of it.
In these books I discovered a teacher, a man who wished always to speak the truth, but who could speak the truth in love and gentleness. I discovered a pastor, one with great compassion for human frailty, but who refused to water down the gospel just to make people feel better about their sins. Sin is a moral illness; what we need is a cure, not an anesthetic. In these books, in which the future pope spoke of the problems of the day, he addressed all of the problems I was familiar with from my time in the Episcopal Church, the forces that were driving that communion to schism and irrelevancy. Not only did we need a cure; the Cardinal was familiar with the cure we needed.

I went on to read books he’d written himself (I’ve got a whole shelf of them now, many of which I’ve read and many I’ve not gotten around to yet). I discovered a clear thinker, and a clear speaker, a man I could learn from. And in a short time, I came to love this man, Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. I still do.

1 comment:

  1. Durquette is right on. That is Papa B16 to a T. I've really grown to love him. I hope he keeps writing, though I don't know how that will conflict with the new pope.