Just One More Thing

Amy Welborn posts a nice excerpt from an America review of two new B16 bios. Aren't we fortunate to have such a man as pope? Nietzsche said it takes two great princes to change a culture. Perhaps in JPII & B16 we've got 'em?
I experienced Joseph Ratzinger’s rhetorical gifts myself 40 years ago. His lectures at the University of Münster attracted not only students but people from the town, who came to hear him at 8:15 a.m. before going to work. After every lecture one wanted to go into a church and pray. A regular attendant at the lectures was a Protestant student from South Africa. The Catholic students predicted his imminent conversion: “Bei Ratzinger fällt der stärkste Mann um” (“Facing Ratzinger the strongest man falls over.”) Though intended as a jest, the remark was not so wide of the mark. Decades later the journalist Peter Seewald, whose interviews with Cardinal Ratzinger led to the books Salt of the Earth and God and the World, returned to the practice of the faith as a result of his conversations with the cardinal.
And this, which corroborates my view that if you read Ratzinger and find him pessimistic, you're not reading him well.
"The pope,"Allen writes, “realizes that people are not convinced of the Christian message on the basis of doctrinal debates. They want to see that Christianity is a joyful thing, a source of life and hope, that it lights fires of love and self-sacrifice.” And in the 1985 interview which became The Ratzinger Report he said: “The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely: the saints the Church has produced and the art which has grown in her womb.” Need we look further for an explanation of the optimism that pervades both of these modest books?