Andrew Doran on Benedict face to face with Islam:
In 1095, in a carefully crafted speech before prelates and nobles in Claremont, France, Pope Urban II called Europe to action: A Crusade to aid the Christian empire of Byzantium. Emissaries of the emperor in Constantinople had come to Urban to ask for aid against the advancing Muslim Turks, who were mistreating conquered Christians, desecrating shrines, and pressing on toward Constantinople. The response was sensational and spread immediately across Europe. Knights, clerics, and peasants all heeded the call and marched to the East—toward Byzantium, Antioch, and Jerusalem.
Also today, George Weigel on the legacy of Benedict XVI:
At his election in 2005, some thought of him as a papal place-keeper: a man who would keep the Chair of Peter warm for a few years until a younger papal candidate emerged. In many other ways, and most recently by his remarkably self-effacing decision to abdicate, Joseph Ratzinger proved himself a man of surprises. What did he accomplish, and what was left undone, over a pontificate of almost eight years?