By Peggy Noonan
April 11, 2008Excerpt:
Benedict, the reporter noted, is the perfect pope for the Internet age. He is a man of the word. You download the text of what he said, print it, ponder it.
Now he is the man at the window. What do we see? This is what I saw as his popemobile came close by in the square: tall man, white hair, shy eyes, deep-set. He is waving, trying to act out pleasure at being the focus of all eyes, center stage. He is not a showman but a scholar, an engaged philosopher nostalgic for the days – he has spoken of them – when he was a professor in a university classroom, surrounded by professors operating in a spirit of academic camaraderie and debate. But, his friends tell you, he enjoys being pope. He has become acclimated.
There is a sweetness about him – all in the Vatican who knew him in the old days speak of it – and a certain vagueness, as if he is preoccupied. the rest-don't miss this! imageFirst Things: Listening to Benedict
By Richard John Neuhaus
Friday, April 11, 2008
That’s the main thing—to listen to what he says. I expect the texts for the public events will be posted promptly on numerous sites. Raymond Arroyo and I will be cohosting the live coverage of all the events on EWTN (check your cable listings). And I hope that, between events, I’ll be able to do some daily postings here.
Visits by John Paul II were typically grand public extravaganzas and, since any pope is, after all, the pope, there will no doubt be extravagances in the week ahead. In Rome it is commonly said that crowds came to see John Paul, while they come to hear Benedict. There is a modicum of truth in that, although it underplays the way in which people beyond numbering listened with rapt attention as John Paul set forth in great detail such complex subjects as the “theology of the body” in his Wednesday audiences.
And yet there is no doubt about the contrast. Benedict is a soft-spoken teacher less given to dramatic gestures and inviting an intellectual attentiveness appropriate to his precision of expression. In a message given prior to his visit, he announced the theme of the visit: “Christ Our Hope.” The entirety of his being is animated by the desire to propose to the Church and to the world that Jesus Christ is, as he said of himself, “the way, the truth, and the life.” the restEWTN to Interview Bush on Papal Visit