The Pope Is Coming
And, in fact, the Holy Father is here. The great game afoot here in the nation’s capitol is, “What will he say?” There are some who want (but do not expect) Benedict to address the concerns of the young (for that, read “sex”) and of the press (read “sex scandal”) and outline some plan – anything, really – to “modernize the Church”.
In the past, and most notably in the Second Vatican Council, the Vatican, true to its European roots, has often sided with such modernizers. But during his career as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger sided with the traditionalists, arguing for a more doctrinally pure and more sectarian understanding of Catholicism as the “one true church.” In the world according to Ratzinger, the relativists were the devils, and Europe and America were hotbeds of relativism.
All this to attract the young, who thought of Benedict’s predecessor as “a rock star”.
Amy Welborn at Charlotte Was Both has an exceptionally educated opinion on that, and on what she believes the Pope will address.
[A]rticles like Prothero’s irritate me because they are either obtuse or disingenuous. What is his point? That the Catholic Church should, today, celebrate sex outside of marriage, abortion and start ordaining women, and that then young adults would start coming back to Church in droves?
No, I’m thinking they’d still be working ten hours a day and letting off steam with their friends afterwards, with Church as a faint memory and not a real object of desire or interest. But not because they’re mad about the ordination of women. Rather because they don’t see the connection between whatever spiritual yearnings they have and whatever church they came from. Their own liberal sexual practice (which is true of most of them) factors into that as a self-perceived obstacle, either out of guilt or conviction, but it’s really only a symptom of something deeper.
And that “something deeper” is exactly the problem Benedict has dedicated himself to addressing.
Benedict is an academic, an educator, with a knack for taking the most difficult theological concepts and making them accessible to anyone. Anyone with an ear to hear, of course.
With the bunch of reporters we see today ready to relay what they think they hear and call it news, he’ll need every bit of that talent. When you see them, read his words closely. It’ll be worth the effort.