Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Birthday/Anniversary to Pope Benedict XVI

April 16 was Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI's 83rd birthday and today, the 19th, is the fifth anniversary of his election as Bishop of Rome. I wish him many more years and much joy in the Lord.

All Western Christians, not just Roman Catholics, are blessed to have this humble and faithful servant of Christ as the head of the Western Church at this moment in history. Under John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI, the Roman Catholic Church has been steered away from the shoals of liberalism and relativism upon which so many of the Protestant denominations have made shipwreck. They have managed to prevent the Roman communion from splintering or drifting into heresy. But more than that, they have held up the person of Jesus Christ and the splendor of truth grounded in Him as the standard for Western civilization and for the world. They have preached love and life and steadfastly opposed the culture of death.

Robert Royal has a nice tribute to the pope here and we have a nice story about how today was proclaimed a Day of Prayer in Italy here. I agree with Rod Dreher that Western culture would not survive the disintegration of the Roman Catholic Church and that it is the institution that matters most for our hope of avoiding decline and death as a civilization.

Thomas Peters makes the sensible point that the hatred Benedict receives from certain quarters is the best proof possible that he is doing his job well. It reminds me of a a story (I forget where I read it) to the effect that when he was Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger said that if he did not read a denunciation of himself in the newspaper at least once per week he felt he was not doing his job properly. It is a lot easer to be an armchair critic than to lead a Church of 1.2 billion souls.

May the voice of the great opponent of the "dictatorship of relativism" ring out forever.

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