Towards Epiphany

Like many of my readers, I imagine, my mind has wandered this last week of the Christmas festival with the thought of Pope Benedict XVI, travelling away, to eternity. He was the closest we had, in our time, to a universal pastor, a reliable shepherd of souls. His teachings as Pope, but more completely as a Christian man, harmonized with the most ancient music.

He did not have or use a preachy voice, such as we endure from the present incumbent, who has dangerously confused Catholicism with some experimental form of revolutionary politics — founded in the heretical “liberation theology” of a generation ago. He had rather a philosophical voice, and made his commentary from the crossroad of faith and reason, expounding that strange and miraculous historical triad — the intermingling of the Hebrew Scriptural inheritance, with the vivid fact of Greek reason, with the coalescence of Roman law. All the three strands were woven together in actual human history, and came to maturity as complement to the revelation of Jesus Christ, as BC intersected with AD.

No marlinspike ropework will ever unravel this complex miracle that occurred in the West; no multicultural scheme can replace it with alternative cultural markers; it is the mystery of Catholic Truth. We are not proceeding towards some future, man-made Utopia, but with the rudiments of this organizing truth already laid down as our guide.

Papa Ratzinger — as learned a man as the ages produce — could explain this heritage to those capable of listening, in clear, calm, penetrating language. He has left a broad, astounding record in his published books. His earthly testament of faith and reason has not disappeared; it is open before us.