Ross Douthat on PBXVI and JPII: The Better Pope

Ross Douthat had an interesting Op-Ed piece in The New York Times yesterday comparing the last two popes.

The world didn’t always agree with Pope John Paul II, but it always seemed to love him. Handsome and charismatic, with an actor’s flair and a statesman’s confidence, he transformed the papacy from an Italian anachronism into a globe-trotting phenomenon. His authority stabilized a reeling church; his personal holiness inspired a generation of young Catholics. “Santo subito!” the Roman crowds chanted as he lay dying. Sainthood now!

They will not chant for Benedict XVI.

The question is – Douthat more ably puts it – how much does it matter what the crowds chant?

And if you don’t follow Douthat’s blog, perhaps you should.


  1. I think he's being a bit premature. The end of his pontificate hasn't been written yet. I'll have to read the whole thing, though.

  2. Rufus McCain says

    Good article. Douthat is probably the sanest and smartest columnist for the NYT. The rabid reader comments there — and on other news articles about the pope and the abuse scandal — are pretty disturbing, though. This whole mess has made foaming-mouth anti-Catholic bigotry fashionable.

    A couple of other voices of sanity complement Douthat's piece:

    (1) Peggy Noonan's The Catholic Church's Catastrophe

    (2) Fr. Dwight Longenecker's The Kiesle Case (which in turn includes some links that perpetuate further sanity).

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