The Pope of Hope

You may have seen this already, but Fr. Fessio was on Hugh Hewitt for an hour last week, talking about Benedict XVI. Here's a transcript. The interview was on the same day the Mark Steyn piece on the demise of Western Civilization appeared in Opinion Journal, so natch, the topic of Europe's imminent demise came up:
But unlike John Paul II, who spoke of a new springtime, and a new evangelization, and seemed to talk sometimes as if there was going to be a tremendous transformation of the world, including Europe, Benedict XVI, even before he was Pope, has talked about the remnant, the fact that we as Christians, if we are truly faithful to Christ and His word, we're going to be a minority, and a minority which is becoming more and more marginalized, and even oppressed. So I don't think, I don't think Benedict XVI is thinking that we're going to have a new Christendom, in which Christian principles permeate all of society. I think he probably is more, his vision is that we must be faithful to Christ, and He will support us and strengthen us, and we can't predict what our role will be in society. But it's probably going to be as a minority.
With due respect to Fr. Fessio (and with due caution as well since he's a Benedict pal and I've never met the man), I think he may be reading a bit of his own melancholia into the pope's ideas. As I've written here before, I think the "Pope sees Christian minority" meme is exaggerated. What he's said, rather, is that it is always "creative minorities" that are responsible for evangelization and "movement' in the Church. That's a little different than saying "Woe is me, soon there will be only a few Christians left." His message is rather: "Well, if that's what's coming, let not your heart be troubled. Christ will still be with us and the Church will keep doing what she's always done." It's not that Benedict is a Pollyanna; no, the Pope is a realist, and he can read the same stats Mark Steyn is reading. But I don't think anyone reading Benedict closely will come away as gloomy as Mark Steyn. Hope: it's a beautiful thing.
Don't forget to get all the wonderful Christmas season addresses Benedict has given here.
UPDATE: Ahem, I rest my case, with respect to Fr. Fessio. From Zenit's translation of the Pope's homily (Italian) at the baptisms he presided over in honor of the feast of Christ's baptism:
None of us know what will happen on our planet, in our Europe, in the next 50, 60 or 70 years, but there is something of which we are certain: that the family of God will always be present and that those who belong to this family are never alone, but have the sure friendship of him who is life.