I've posted CNN's video of Pope Benedict's address to Americans and the text of his comments over at CalmEagle's Blog at Gaia (my other blog.) On April 19, 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as the 265th Pope. He chose the name of Benedict XVI, in honor of St. Benedict, the founder of Western monasticism, and of Benedict XV, who had presided from the Chair of Peter during World War I and was an ardent promoter of peace. In the choosing of his name the signals were already being sent by this extraordinary man.
Pope Benedict XVI stepped forward onto the balcony overlooking St. Peters Square calling himself " ...a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord." The applause was uproarious. The joy filled not only that Square but the hearts of millions throughout the entire world who had prayed for this moment. He continued " ...that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means consoles me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers. In the joy of the risen Lord, trusting in his permanent help, we go forward."
Then the questions began. All of them related to one singular question "Where will he lead us?"
Back to the future, back to Tradition and the 'baby that was thrown out with the bathwater ' in the overly zealous days following Vatican II. I believe that we are witnessing the beginnings of the coming full communion of the Church, East and West, as the "two lungs" on the One Body of Christ begin to breathe together again in order to animate this new missionary age. We are beginning to witness the recovery of the Catholic academy through the rebuilding of some institutions almost lost to the Church and the building of new ones. We are seeing the flourishing of good, solid theological and philosophical work along with a flourishing of the arts and human culture, led by the Church, as it has been in ages past. He, like his namesake, is helping as well to bring the Christian influence back to Europe and beyond. Why, it is even possible that the current hopeless state of Novus Ordo Catholic church music - a terminal case of kumbayah and third grade level saccharine singalongs - may be changing for the better.
Here comes the Pope!