The dog-bites-man pope.

Check out David Gibson's op-ed in Monday's New York Times, "His Own Pope Yet?":

Above all, in his pronouncements and writings, he carefully accentuated the positive. His first encyclical was titled God Is Love, and charity has become the recurring byword of his apparently irenic pontificate. Christianity, Catholicism, isnt a collection of prohibitions: its a positive option, as Benedict said last year.

By and large, the pontiffs approach has worked. Liberal Catholics were so relieved that Benedict was not issuing daily bulls of excommunication that they took a kind word as a hopeful omen. Indeed, the loudest complaints about Benedicts record have come from his erstwhile allies on the right who are miffed that he has not cracked down hard and fast on those they consider dissenters.

But the Catholic right ought to have more patience, just as the Catholic left and everyone else might want to pay closer attention. The reality is that during these two years, even as he has preached the boundless grace of Christian charity, Benedict has also made it clear that divine love does not allow for compromise on matters of truth as the pope sees it, and that he will not brook anything that smacks of change in church teachings or traditions. Nor is he a caretaker pope who is willing to stand pat.

If you can get behind the TimesSelect firewall, read the rest right here. And when you're done with the pope, you can jump over to Slate to read James Martin, SJ's "Saintly Bad Behavior." (No, the two articles aren't related.) And when you've finished with that, you can hop back to the Times site and read Michael Powell's piece on Cardinal Egan, which includes a rare interview with the archbishop of New York.

When I came here, I told everyone what I would do, and quite frankly, I did it, Cardinal Egan said. I had to deal with the sex scandal, and I did. I had to realign, and I did. I wanted peace in my diocese, and its peaceful.

His smile is broad. Its all been a colossal success, he said.

Grant Gallicho joined Commonweal as an intern and was an associate editor for the magazine until 2015. 

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