When I was writing a book about John Paul, I'd ask those who'd met him or saw him go by: What did you think, or say? And they'd be startled and say, "I don't know, I was crying."-- Peggy Noonan, "Something Beautiful Has Begun" Wall Street Journal. April 11, 2008.
John Paul made you burst into tears. Benedict makes you think. It is more pleasurable to weep, but at the moment, perhaps it is more important to think.
A Vatican reporter last week said John Paul was the perfect pope for the television age, "a man of images." Think of the pictures of him storm-tossed, tempest-tossed, standing somewhere and leaning into a heavy wind, his robes whipping behind him, holding on to his crosier, the staff bearing the image of a crucified Christ, with both hands, for dear life, as if consciously giving Christians a picture of what it is to be alive.
Benedict, the reporter noted, is the perfect pope for the Internet age. He is a man of the word. You download the text of what he said, print it, ponder it.