It's been a while since we've had to eat our words so quickly, but forget everything we wrote here yesterday about why the
holy Father chose Benedict for his papal name.
You see, I stayed up late last night/early this morning and watched Benedict XVI deliver his first homily as pope. I'm glad I did. Although he heaped much praise on his direct predecessor, John Paul II, it was clear that this pope sees more for his papacy than to just validate the JP2 legacy.
He spoke often and convincingly regarding his direct succession of St. Peter himself. This was smart. He is being referred to as the successor to John Paul II but, more importantly, he is successor to Peter himself. This is what sets apart the Catholic religion from out protestant brothers. Our leadership and the interpretation of scripture and the magesterium and our Traditions are traceable directly and without interruption to St. Peter and, therefore to Jesus Christ Himself. This is His Church that He established and the keys that Jesus gave to Peter are now in Benedict XVI's care.
This is an important message and the pope was wise to deliver it. Just as George HW Bush became President mostly as a gesture of validation for President Reagan's term, one could easily interpret Cardinal Ratzinger's selection as merely a gesture to John Paul II. This is a mistake that should not be made. Benedict XVI sits on the throne of St. Peter and when he speaks on issues of faith and morals he will be guided by the Holy Spirit with the protection of infallibility. This is not about politics or conservatism or popularity, this is about the TRUTH of our FAITH.
How easy it is for American's to get caught up in the media driven, political perspective of these things. I'm embarrassed that I fell for it!