The pope’s new book is getting a lot of Catholic press these days: little trickles about condoms, worthiness for the priesthood, and such. One of the almost-daily reviews on Zenit highlights Benedict XVI as “a Pope who walks with us.” Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi, SJ:
The Pope seen up close, known better not only as Pontiff but also as a man, attracts the sympathy of a great number of people, who appreciate his kindness and sensitivity, his humility and humanity, and the attentiveness to those he meets, small and great.
(Pope Benedict) lets us see that he walks with us, brother and friend, with feet well planted on this earth of ours — fascinating but dramatic — and thus he helps us better to look ahead, with simple and firm faith, and lively hope.
The cynic in me wonders if this is all old territory. Since the mid-80’s the man was giving interviews, publishing books, and having books published under his name. What’s new in this book? Is it the blog and the Facebook page? Has the office changed the man or his perspective? Instead of being a theologian, a teacher, or the head of the most powerful department of the curia, he is now a pastor. Though he’s not completely divorced from any of those roles.
Father Lombardi is responsible for the public relations front for the pope and the Vatican. So I can understand why he would want the best possible face put on the pope and his new book. Will musings on condoms drown out everything else in the book? I suspect it will. Let’s have a re-do on Africa, eh?
I have to confess my curiosity on this book. Anybody else read it yet? What are you seeing in the pages there?