Pope Benedict XVI

It’s been a pretty exciting day. I don’t remember seeing a pope being elected (though I was alive when JPI and JPII were elected… I was about 10 months old then). So it was cool to see all the pageantry and the enthusiasm of the crowd at St. Peter’s Square.

I know that a number of people are ecstatic over the choice of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope. I also know that a number of people are … disappointed on some level. I suppose that reflects the incredible diversity in the Church and for me, that diversity shows just how strong the Church is, as it is firmly rooted in the diversity of the Trinity and has Christ, the Trinitarian reconciler of opposites, as its head. (Yay Trinitarian theology!)

As such, I find it difficult to pin down the theology of this new Holy Father. He has been considered by some to be progressive (whatever that means), particularly before he was named a cardinal. However, many people also look at him and see a staunch conservative (whatever that means).

<flame_resistant_jacket>I really dislike labels like this. It seems to me that to try and diminish the life and thought of a person with a mere word is woefully inadequate at best. This is the man that the cardinals, led as they were by the Holy Spirit, chose to lead the Church. And because it is the Spirit of God who is guiding the Church, the Church will continue to be all right and indeed I think She will continue to grow.</flame_resistant_jacket>

Here’s the message from the first Urbi et Orbi blessing of Pope Benedict XVI:

Dear brothers and sisters,

after our great Pope, John Paul II, the Cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in God’s vineyard.

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.

In the joy of the resurrected Lord, trustful of his permanent help, we go ahead, sure that God will help. And Mary, his most beloved Mother, stands on our side. Thank you.


  1. Yeah, I’m kind of curious to see where he’ll lead the Church. I really didn’t expect him to be our next pope. I sort of expected we’d get one of the “unexpected” cardinals chosen, if that makes much sense.

    One thing that stands out to me is his choice of the name Benedict. On CBC people were commenting that Benedict XV was known for peace. If that’s the direction he feels called to lead the Church, I’m interested to see how it all plays out. He’s got a lot of disunity to work with, so I’m sure we’ll be able to keep him busy. :-)

    Also his age. He’s 78, already older than most bishops when they retire. I suspect he’ll be with us for a while, but no where near as long as JPII was. That alone puts a different tone on his papacy.

    In the seminary a couple years ago, I remember watching a video of a talk he gave to some seminarians somewhere in North America. While he was painfully boring to listen to (in part due to not speaking in his native language, I assume) his message carried a lot of heart. Talking about preaching he emphasized the need to truly know the scriptures. One phrase that stuck out was something along the lines of “the word becomes our own because we have become its own.” That aspect of allowing the Word of God to transform us and draw us into deep union really stood out.

    I’m really interested to see where the next few years lead us.

  2. Yeah. I was a bit surprised by his election, since the rumors were that it wouldn’t be him (the whole “go into the conclave as pope, come out as a cardinal” thing for the so-called frontrunners). But, I think in the end he’ll be a good pope. I just get really annoyed by the commentators who try to reduce people to a word or two. “Frickin’ labels.”

    WYD in Germany should be neat this year! :)

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