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.