‘Sweet Christ on Earth’
Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate his fifth anniversary as pope April 19.
It’s clear by now that he won’t get the same treatment on that day that he did for his other anniversaries. For the world’s media, this one will be another opportunity to try to taint his reputation by pinning on him the lion’s share of the blame for the developing abuse scandal.
Many Catholics know that the evidence shows Pope Benedict has probably done more than any other bishop to reach out to victims and root out what he has called “filth” from the Church. Those Catholics are frustrated. Other Catholics, who get their news about the Church from the secular media, are confused or even scandalized.
The question, of course, is why we — people of faith — should let the secular media define for us what a pope is and what our attitude towards him should be. Why should a non-believing journalist on the religion beat be more credible than a cardinal or a pope, or St. Catherine of Siena, who called the pope the ‘sweet Christ on Earth’?
Right now, Catholics are the ones who most need to be reminded what their pope is.
On the rock of Peter our Church is built. To him and his successors — Christ’s vicars — have been entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. The pope is the visible foundation of the Church. Christ prayed for him that his faith might not fail, that he might strengthen his brethren.
Voices in the media tell us that Pope Benedict is presiding over an unprecedented disaster. The truth is that he’s presiding over the greatest success story of all time: The grace of the sacraments and the power of the Resurrection are reaching a billion Catholics worldwide under his pastoral care.
Right now, Catholics are the ones who most need to be reminded how much this pope has done for them. His ministry and his teaching have opened the eyes and hearts of more than 10 million pilgrims at events in Rome, and he has taken it to five continents on pastoral visits. We think that’s a good start.
The big story here is how much God has worked through him in his first five years as Pope. That’s why we began to commission short essays to honor him for his anniversary just a few weeks ago. Those essays are now taking on a meaning and depth we couldn’t have imagined. We’re fortunate to have this man leading us, and these essays tell why.
We stand by that story. And we stand by our Holy Father. So we hope you enjoy reading these tributes as much as we did.
— The Editors
Ahhh…, Catholic media waking-up to the present hit job.
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