Sunday, January 1, 2012

Benedict XVI has not the temperament of a ruler - BBC World Service on Vatican Foreign Policy

At one moment people want the Church to disappear and lose its international profile. Now there is a complaint that Pope Benedict is not sufficiently a ruler - he "has no geopolitical vision" according to Marco Politi in the excerpt from this morning's Newshour from the BBC World Service. I don't know how long this link will be available. I made a recording but it does not appear to be possible to upload it.
The above found at Marco Foppoli
Should Pope Benedict not have discarded the tiara - the sign of temporal power - from this papal shield? Perhaps the next Pope will restore it! Pope John Paul II had it.

One thing we can take from this, however, is that the world does, after all, look to the Papacy for direction. Pope Benedict, of course, was not a diplomat but a pastor and an academic. His domain, prior to becoming Pope, was the Faith. He appears to be putting most of his effort directly into restoring faith within the Catholic Church. He has also appointed non-diplomat priests to certain key nunciature positions. History will judge the wisdom of this approach in the light of the current times in which we live.


  1. I'm not too sure this BBC commentary should be conceded more that the classification of usual wet blanket treatment of Catholicism by the BBC. It does no more than snub one of the greater messages of the Holy Father for the World Day of Peace. Moral of the story: don't expect anything different from the BBC.

  2. I think what Politi, and others, fail to realize is that Pope Benedict sees his role more as a teacher than a ruler – leading by word and example, rather than by fiat. Or, maybe they do realize it, but don’t like that approach. From before he was pope Benedict had an aversion to institutions. When asked if he would prefer a Germanic orderliness to an Italian laissez faire approach at the Vatican, his response was: “It would be a disaster!”

    While one may quibble about ‘PR gaffes’ at the Vatican and voice the oft-recurring lament that “the Curia still hasn’t been reformed”, I think the Holy Father is on solid ground and closely follows Him whose Vicar he is. In Our Lord’s time many expected the Messiah to be a political reformer who would cast out the Romans and restore the Temple - a temporal ruler, an all-conquering king. But Our Lord said His kingdom was not of this world and the reform was to be internal – the converting of hearts and minds to God.

    That is where I see Pope Benedict – and he’s in good company! Then too there is the spiritual aspect of papal elections. The Holy Spirit is at work. We get the popes that He determines – not the ones we might prefer…


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