Hugh Hewitt is raising an eyebrow as he links to the LA Times’ review of John Allen’s new book on Pope Benedict XVI. I think the review is as fair as anything written in the LA Times can be – they will always throw their bones to the left and make sure they get in a jab here or there.
Allen’s book is entitled The Rise of Benedict XVI The Inside Story of How the Pope Was Elected and Where He Will Take the Catholic Church, and I am sure, since it is John Allen that it will be researched to the last dotted eye and crossed t, and it sounds like it will be reassuring for any who are “afraid” of this pope who seems very brilliant, very shy and extraordinarily pastoral.
But since we’re talking about Benedict XVI, I thought you might enjoy reading this really rather exquisite piece written shortly after his elevation, by a young medical student in the UK, and which asks the question: WHY ARE WE AFRAID OF BENEDICT. Not only does she capture the installation mass beautifully, and remind us of how beautifully the Holy Spirit seemed to be stirring the whole world, but she looks around at the world and sees just why he is so “frightening” for so many. Hint: He addresses it himself, in his homily, as this writer, Victoria, points out:
Who do you want to be associated with? Those who believe in love, gentleness, abnegation, or those who believe in lies, power, and fear?
[Pope Benedict says:] “We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God.”
I’m sure the secularists of this world must be seething at this not-so-veiled anti-evolution, pro-life message.
[Pope Benedict says:] “And the account of the 153 large fish ends with the joyful statement: ‘although there were so many, the net was not torn’ (Jn 21:11). Alas, beloved Lord, with sorrow we must now acknowledge that it has been torn! But no – we must not be sad!”
He acknowledges that the Church has its problems, and it has reached mass exodus in some areas. But nets can be mended.
[Pope Benedict says:] “Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us?”
This is what all post-modern people, myself included, feel about rules and regulations: that it takes away your freedom by imposing limits to it. And we’re just too used to having them.
[Pope Benedict says:] “Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great.”
I can’t believe how honest he is. And how he answers his own question by giving us strength through our choice, if only we make it.
…Where some offer judgementless self-help, he counters with intellectual spirituality.
Where some suggest primacy of the communal, he reminds us of the singular path to faith.
And where some want to have validated their philosophies, their achievements, their world views, he makes them realise they haven’t achieved as much as they thought.
Worse than that, their prime of life is slipping away before they have had a real chance to change things. To reform, to reinvent, to make their own. It’s clear to them, their window of opportunity is being shut. For the Me-Generation, he represents the ultimate They. The They long-since thought overcome.
And of course, it will come as no surprise to you that John Allen’s book is at the top of my Bookshelf (scroll down the sidebar). If you order it from Amazon via my site, all monies realized from the sale of books, DVD’s etc are donated to the hospice which took such loving care of my brother in his last days. I thank you for how great you folks are about buying thru my site!