Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A fair dinkum Pope

Thu, 24 Jul 2008

In the wash-up to this remarkable gathering, perhaps aided and abetted by the sort of relaxed friendliness and ambience that so becomes our Australian cousins, it is being said that in Sydney the Pope began, finally, to reveal the hallmarks of his papacy.

To date, he has been, possibly unfairly, characterised by the most pronounced public qualities of his former self: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a cool and austere intellectual German theologian - and an arch-conservative one at that.

But in the company of so many tens of thousands of smiling young pilgrims, and blessed by five days of clement Sydney winter sun, he reportedly showed a sense of humour and common humanity, allied to a genuine personal warmth. There were even flashes of charisma.

In the vernacular of the land, the Pope seemed to become, if not a superstar, a fair dinkum good bloke.

But World Youth Day 2008 was not simply a prayer party. There were serious matters for the Pontiff to attend to, not least the legacy of sexual abuse which he has inherited. Such "misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation", he said. the rest


At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Brendan said...

I think he's grown into the role - and he's done a rather good job of it. After all, he's the first "new" pope of the 24 hour news cycle. His predecessors were allowed to get their footing without the constant public scrutiny.

Imagine being a shy 78 year old -- and a lover of quiet, intellectual conversation, good music, and, well cats -- and suddenly find yourself thrust into the world spotlight as the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion people and, arguably, the public face of Christianity.

It's just got to take some getting used to.


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