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R.R. Reno on Benedict and the next pope :

Ratzinger fought an intellectual battle for sanity in the long decade of theological insanity that followed the Council. When he was appointed as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by John Paul II in 1981 he was no longer a young turk but instead the Pope’s “rottweiler.” But his early experiences remained. Benedict XVI was formed with an essentially positive view of the Church’s engagement with modernity.

Also today, Joshua Gonnerman notes that Pope Benedict is not Pope John Paul II :

Writing for Fox News, John Moody observes that Pope Benedict XVI was not Pope John Paul II. This seems, for Moody, to be the hermeneutical key in which the entirety of Benedict’s papacy should be assessed. Only at the end of his op-ed does Moody note a distinctive contribution of Pope Benedict to the life of the Church, and it is precisely in his resignation.

In our third feature, John Murdock on the year of Lincoln :

Abraham Lincoln, born on this day in 1809, is enjoying a banner year. Before January had passed, President Obama would place his own hand over the same Bible used by the sixteenth president and invoke Lincoln’s legacy to hundreds of thousands on the National Mall. In the wake of the inauguration, Lincoln’s name rolled just as effortlessly off the lips of pro-lifers gathered on the same ground to commemorate the fortieth sad anniversary of Roe v. Wade . Hollywood is on board too. With its stellar cast, Steven Spielberg’s biopic is a near lock to take home a likeness or two of King Oscar. Not bad for someone 204 years old.

And in our fourth feature, Elizabeth Scalia on rows to hoe in the virtual fields of the Lord :

When, in May of 2011, Vatican representatives arranged a meeting with Catholic bloggers from all over the world, Brandon Vogt was anticipating the release of his charity-benefiting book The Church and New Media. Since then, a shrewd Pope Benedict XVI has initiated the launch of the Vatican’s news site with a mere touch to a tablet, and (on Twitter, as @Pontifex) has answered tweeted questions and mastered the art of dispensing genuine theological insights in 140 characters or fewer.



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