The Private Intellectual
Ecclesiastes-Based Real Estate Advice

Tuesday, February 12, 2013  

The Pope We Didn't Know

I wrote about the long-fixed image of Benedict XVI, how it obscured a more complicated reality, and how despite certain unique advantages he ended up unable to do what the Church needed him to do for the Pacific Standard:

Benedict has been typecast, in a litany of headlines and op-eds—and now in the early postmortems of his papacy, following his sudden, extraordinary announcement of resignation yesterday—as an unbending dogmatic enforcer and an arch-conservative culture warrior. It’s a reputation he largely earned, especially in his many years heading the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. But it’s also a reputation that, particularly in America, has tended to obscure his complications. While staunchly, even aggressively re-asserting Catholic teachings on homosexuality and birth control, he preached a recognizably left-wing version of economic justice. And while reiterating the special status of his church and his faith, he opened his rhetoric—much more than his predecessor did—to the reality of a pluralistic, secular Europe.

Read the whole thing.

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