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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Benedict XVI.

Initial impressions:

1. Two days?! I thought less than four, actually. But more than four ballots, to be sure.

2. That'll work.

3. Holy crap--who would have imagined this two years ago?

4. My dog has been barking incessantly since the Pope walked out on the balcony. Puzzled, I went outside to try to figure out her problem. After going around the yard, I was able to discern an almost imperceptible, high-pitched keening sound coming from the southwest...

5. Well, Chris Blosser's going to be swarmed under for the next several months.

6. If Ignatius Press is publicly traded--BUY!

7. John Allen's going to be able to get the 2006 SUV of his choice.

8. The prophecies of St. Malachy are officially starting to weird me out a little bit. Yes, it's one of those "you can fulfill it yourself" deals, but still. The world's most consistently interesting alleged Renaissance forgeries.

9. One more point about the name: remember who the last Benedict succeeded. Subtext: I am following a Saint.

10. Book Recommendations (his writings may sell as well as, or better than, PJPII's, given that he has a more accessible writing style):

a. Introduction to Christianity: An explication of the Apostle's Creed. One of the minds behind the Catechism, it shows here.

b. Called to Communion: a short primer on ecclesiology, and offers insight into future governance. It won't look like Paris after the invention of the guillotine, folks, at least as far as lousy bishops are concerned.

No matter how much we might want that. But crappy theologians are another matter--Ex Corde Ecclesia may be taken into the shop and given to Q for some "enhancements."

c. The Spirit of the Liturgy: what the new Pope thinks of modern Catholic worship. Hint--needs improvement.

d. Many Religions, One Covenant: Israel, the Church and the World. The Church's outstretched hand to Judaism will not change, though you probably shouldn't rule out a different approach to non-Christian religions.

11. He's not going to be as hopeful as PJPII. A flintier, grimmer assessment seems to inform his worldview. Ironically, that may be the most hopeful thing about the papacy to come. To paraphrase his acceptance commentary, we all have much work to do in the vineyard.

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