Thursday, May 17, 2007

Remarkable Gentleness

Here is a portion of an interview with Catholic Theologian Richard John Neuhaus concerning Benedict XVI , entitled "Remarkable Gentleness"

Rereading it almost two years later, I am pleased to say that Father Neuhaus' early estimation of B-16 has proven accurate. He is a gentle defender and explainer of Truth. Sunday, June 12, 2005 NEW YORK - B

The editor in chief of First Things, richard John Neuhaus shared with ZENIT his views about the new Pope and what could be expected in his pontificate.

Q: Would you share some of your personal experiences with Cardinal Ratzinger, and what special gifts you think he brings to the papacy?

Father Neuhaus: I have known Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, for more than 20 years, and we have been in conversation about many things.

As everybody knows, he is a master theologian and, I think, might have been recognized as one of the theological giants of the last 100 years if he had not offered the prime of his life to serving John Paul the Great as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As everybody should know, he is a person of remarkable gentleness and serenity, combined with a keen intellectual curiosity in engaging alternative viewpoints.

As for personal experiences, in 1988 I invited him to deliver our annual Erasmus Lecture here in New York, which was followed by a conference of several days with Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox theologians.

The public lecture, held in midtown Manhattan, was rudely disrupted by gay activists who waved their pink triangles while screaming pleasantries such as "Sieg Heil!" "Nazi Ratzy!" and "Inquisitor Go Home!" I finally had to call the police to clear the protesters and restore order.

Throughout, the cardinal was the very picture of tranquility. When he got a chance to speak he prefaced his lecture, which was on the subject of biblical interpretation, with a moving reflection on the 1968 student rebellion in Europe that helped him to understand more deeply the indispensability of civility in human relations.

On this and other occasions, it was obvious to me that his tranquility is rooted in a tried and tested faith. The next day the tabloid headlines blazoned, "Gays Protest Vatican Biggy." He chuckled at his new title of Vatican Biggy.

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