What draws me to His Holiness Benedict XVI has been that he understands what it is to feel adrift in the postmodern world. From his introduction to the YOUCAT:
You need to know what you believe. You need to know your faith with that same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer. You need to understand it like a good musician knows the piece he is playing. Yes, you need to be more deeply rooted in the faith than the generation of your parents so that you can engage the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and determination. You need God’s help if your faith is not going to dry up like a dewdrop in the sun, if you want to resist the blandishments of consumerism, if your love is not to drown in pornography, if you are not going to betray the weak and leave the vulnerable helpless.
And given that so much of the coverage of his retirement has focused on various scandals, I find this next paragraph particularly moving:
You all know how deeply the community of faith has been wounded recently through the attacks of the evil one, through the penetration of sin itself into the interior, yes, into the heart of the Church. Do not make that an excuse to flee from the face of God! You yourselves are the Body of Christ, the Church! Bring the undiminished fire of your love into this Church whose countenance has so often been disfigured by man.
It pains me that he has been so frequently misunderstood and mischaracterized, when he is in reality a man of great humility who sees the Church and the world exactly as they are. I’m really going to miss him.
But, as beautifully illustrated in this photo and story from Jenny Uebbing of Mama Needs Coffee:
The Church is, indeed, alive.
Related: You can follow along with the top-rate team of “first responders” at ElectingThePope.net as we talk about Catholic symbols, traditions associated with the papacy, the basics of our faith, and other questions that students, journalists, Facebook friends, etc. may have. Subscribe to the RSS feed to see the latest posts and view the full list of questions that have been answered so far. I’m so thankful for all of those who stepped up to work on this site!