Here’s something you don’t see everyday. Amid all of the British detractors, Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Scott Stephens has written a stunning defense of Pope Benedict XVI. It’s a welcome surprise not only because it comes from a secular source, but also for its accuracy.
Among some of the highlights, Stephens writes, “Surrounded by ill-wishers within and without, Benedict has nonetheless remained unflappable, even resolute. When asked by journalists aboard the papal plane how the Church could become more attractive to Britons in the face of an especially virulent strain of chic British atheism, the pope said ‘a Church that seeks to be particularly attractive is already on the wrong path, because the Church does not work for her own ends, she does not work to increase numbers and thus power. The Church is at the service of another ... she serves to make the proclamation of Jesus Christ accessible.’”
Stephens continues, “Benedict’s pastoral resolve could not provide a more striking contrast to the hysterical posturing and outright mercenary opportunism displayed by his high-profile detractors - of whom Geoffrey Robertson QC is but the latest example.”
“My complaint against Geoffrey Robertson is that he has indicted the wrong man,” writes Stephens. “He seems to have allowed himself to be swept along by the fashionable tide of anti-Catholic jingoism. Had he not, perhaps he would have recognised that, for all of his failings and inadequacies, no one in the Catholic Church has done so much to secure justice and healing for victims of sexual abuse, to punish the guilty and the bishops who were complicit in their crimes, and to lead the Church into sincere penitence and renewal, than has Pope Benedict XVI.”
Hat tip to John Paul the Great University’s professor Michael Barber at the Sacred Page for drawing attention to this article. It’s well worth taking the time to read.