That's from Austen Ivereigh's Godspy article, "The Monk under the Mitre". It's an excellent, article, and if I were to quote all the gems in it, there'd barely be anything left unquoted. But here are a couple of the choicest of them:
- In 1978 John Paul II inherited a Church that was unsure, after the battles under Paul VI, what it believed. In 2005 he left no one in doubt. It falls to Benedict to make clear why the Church believes what it believes, to show that what it teaches sets us free. Benedict's task is to convey the beauty of belief, and that believing must involve belonging.
Benedict, as his choice of name made clear, looks to the counter-culture of European monasticism in the early Middle Ages, which served society precisely by being quietly—but no less awkwardly—in contradiction to it. Hence his emphasis, in Cologne, on fostering vital cells of church life which emphasise quality not quantity ("Form communities of faith!" he urged). Gone is the triumphant city on the hill; Benedict's is the era of leaven in the mass, of small but vibrant faith groups in parishes, of movements and associations which operate like underground cells, attracting believers and supplying the vitality which the Church needs above the ground.
Pope Benedict has a style. And he has a strategy. If we find them hard to make out, it could be that our eyes need to adjust. We are so used to waiting for a flag-waving crusade that we fail to notice the flap, flap of a monk's cowl.