Will the real Ratzinger please stand up?
John Allen’s “The Real Ratzinger Revealed” is free on the Tablet‘s Web site. Were you expecting a “fundamentalist” pope? If so, how are you coping with having the expectation confounded?
If the danger of the John XXIII and Paul VI era was throwing the baby
out with the bathwater, the chief risk in today’s politics of identity
cuts in the opposite direction, towards rigidity and exaggerated
defensiveness – a sort of “Taliban Catholicism” that knows only how to
excoriate and condemn. To be sure, one can see the stirrings of such a
spirit in today’s Church. Potentially, Benedict XVI’s legacy may lie in
pointing a way around these shoals. Given all that he represents,
Benedict is in a unique position to illustrate that one can embrace
Catholic fundamentals without becoming a fundamentalist, that reason
and faith are not opposed but inextricably linked. That, in fact, was
the argument he was trying to make in Regensburg, although the uproar
over the quotation occluded his effort.