Deacon Greg, and Miss Kelly and Sissy Willis are all writing about Peggy Noonan’s very good piece on the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict to the United States (and Sissy has a few words for those who don’t appreciate the full genius of Papa Ratzinger, besides).
Because so many are discussing Noonan’s piece, I don’t have to say much about it other than recommend you read it. I like how she notes that Benedict – unlike most “world leaders” – has no problem praising his predecessor and how she points out his use of the word “supernatural.” Benedict is a man of precise speech, so that is interesting. Noonan also writes:
John Paul made you burst into tears. Benedict makes you think. It is more pleasurable to weep, but at the moment, perhaps it is more important to think.
A Vatican reporter last week said John Paul was the perfect pope for the television age, “a man of images.” …
Benedict, the reporter noted, is the perfect pope for the Internet age. He is a man of the word. You download the text of what he said, print it, ponder it.
Yes, this is what I was writing about yesterday. You saw John Paul – the “mighty organ” and you were stirred and inspired. Benedict – the tinkling piano in the other room – makes you wonder “what is it,” and you seek him out in his writings, and then fall in love.
Noonan is at her best when she is writing about her heroes, whether they be secular or religious or some combination of both – in fact, if you like today’s piece you should really go back and read her 2002 piece, John Paul the Great which is breathtakingly well done, and very moving; a definitive snapshot of that astonishing man, and his effect on us.
To me the only burr in today’s otherwise excellent article was her rather gratuitous-seeming snark at the expense of President Bush, which seemed both uncharitable and out of place, like a pothole (on an otherwise smooth road) that needn’t have been hit.
The trip begins in Washington, and the White House has announced that the pope and the president will “continue their dialogue on the interplay of faith and reason.” (This prompted a long-suffering Bush supporter to say, “I’m seeing the collision of matter and antimatter.”)
It is so easy to go for a cheap laugh at Bush’s expense that I felt the gag was beneath Noonan, and was sorry to see it. For all that Bush has clearly disappointed Noonan and many conservatives, the sincerity of his faith and his obvious respect for Catholicism and for two popes should have been enough to have led her not into that temptation.
Speaking of Benedict and Bush, Rocco at Whispers on the Loggia has a long and terrific piece up on the upcoming meeting. My Li’l Bro Thom sent it my way with the remark: “I can’t imagine Hillary or Obama ever referring to him as ‘His Holiness’ or ‘The Holy Father.’” No, nor can I.
UPDATE: Predictions that Benedict will again anger Islamists, at Ground Zero