Thursday, April 21, 2005

B16: qua Theologian-Pope, the best in centuries

The other night, I was reflecting on our new pope, and what an outstanding theologian he is. Thinking about that, I began to think about him with regard to his predecessor, JPII, and the other popes he has followed. That reflection led me to the following conclusion: we haven't seen a pope with the theological acumen of Benedict XVI in centuries, perhaps prior to the Reformation... perhaps even longer ago than that.

I know how bold of a claim that is, considering B16's immediate predecessor: John Paul the Great. But it's pretty clear to me that JPII was a greater philosopher than he was a theologian. That's not to downplay or deny his own theological talents; like many others, I think much of his papal theology will serve the Church for centuries. And it may very well be that that corpus will outshine whatever Benedict is able to do as pope. But that's not my point.

My point is simply that if you consider the raw theological power of those who have been elected to the papacy, I can't think of one greater than Benedict XVI in the last few centuries, if not longer.

Of course, that's not to say that his papacy will outshine his predecessors in like manner; in fact, I definitely think that's not the case with regard to JPII. So don't take my claim for more than it is.

Still, though, in and of itself, it's still very impressive, no?

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