Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI

As I write this, Joseph Ratzinger is preparing to celebrate his first Mass as Pope Benedict XVI.

Like a lot of people, I was hoping for an African or a Latin American Pope or at least a progressive European. Yet I'm not unhappy with the cardinal's decision. I think it may have been a wise choice. Whoever was to be Pope has some pretty big shoes to fill, and Ratzinger can handle the heat.

I saw an interview with Ratzinger on EWTN about a year ago, and it endeared him to me. One part of the interview sticks out in my memory. The interviewer asked him about rumors that he had considered retirement. Ratzinger answered:

Yes, I had desired to retire in 1991, 1996 and 2001 because I have studied the idea. I could write some books and return to my studies as Cardinal Martini did. So, it was my idea to do the same thing. But on the other hand, seeing the suffering Pope, I cannot say to the Pope, "I will retire. I will write my books." Seeing him, how he is giving himself, I have to continue.
In the heat of the recent election you might wonder if this was some kind of jab at Cardinal Martini, but when I heard it, I was certain that it was spoken from a servants' heart. If Pope Benedict XVI is not a tender soul, he had me fooled.

Earlier today, the new Pope said, "I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and how to act, even with insufficient tools, and I especially trust in your prayers." More of us should have such faith.

May God bless Pope Benedict XVI, and through him bless the Church.

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