Sunday, March 25, 2007

Europe facing oblivion - Pope Benny

Pope Benedict XVI has poured some decidedly icy water on the EU's 50th birthday celebrations. The EU, currently going through a childish phase of ignoring the continent's Christian roots, cannot "not be built by ignoring its people's identities", he warns perspicaciously. He also draws attention to a more pressing problem: catastrophically low European birthrates.
Pope Benedict is, like his predecessor of venerable memory, an intellectual and as such deserves to be listened to.
That said, as a pontiff he strikes a different note to John Paul. His style is more pessimistic as well as being more discreetly intimate than John Paul's was. John Paul was, as everyone knows, a crowd pleaser, he had a sunny Slavic personality and loved the confidence of young people. Benedict, by contrast has a donnish air about him and seems to be the type of person more comfortable with books than people.
There were some interesting observations about Pope Benedict in Robert Mickens' column in a recent edition of The Tablet. Benedict seems to have quite a strong identification with Pope Paul VI. This could signal something quite interesting. I certainly hope so.

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