Monday, December 19, 2005


In case you didn't know, Time magazine picked Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates as its "Persons of the Year." Nehhhh. I don't know, too many "ands" in that equation to interest me.

Besides which, it just seems so contrived - was Bono thrown in there to attract the attention of the younger readers? Mr. and Mrs. Gates to make the selection more serious and "respectable"? They were ostensibley chosen because they made charity "strategic," "smarter," and "re-wired." Now, while Bono does seem to be very sincere in his charity work, I will really start to feel like giving Mr. Gates praise for his efforts when he stops crushing every little company that might threaten Microsoft. And Mrs. Gates? I guess she just goes along with Mr. Gates. "Honey, you can't be on the cover of Time unless I get to be, too. I helped!" Not to mock her contributions, of course... ehh...

Anyway, in other end-of-the-year news, Papa Benedetto was chosen as "European Newsmaker of the Year." Surprise. From the article:
The new Pope's mission is the same one that has driven him since he was ordained in his native Bavaria. But Ratzinger's essential beliefs were rarely seen more clearly than during — and after — his predecessor's final hours. On the evening of April 1, a veteran aide to Ratzinger recounted how, that morning, his boss had gathered together employees in the doctrinal office for a reciting of the rosary, and then informed them of his visit to see John Paul. "I've never seen him that emotional," the Vatican official said. Ten days later, it fell to Ratzinger to lead the service for John Paul's funeral. It may have been the most-watched such ceremony in human history, with over 1 million faithful and dozens of world leaders jammed in and around St. Peter's Square, and tens of millions more watching on television. Ratzinger was a study in serenity, guiding the elaborate liturgy with poise, and delivering a moving, plainspoken homily. It was the first public proof to the faithful — and to voting Cardinals — that he was a man who could shepherd a worldwide flock. In the days that followed, Ratzinger was called upon to lead a series of closed-door, preconclave meetings with his fellow Cardinals, who would later speak of his attentiveness and multilingual skills, and even a sense of humor. For the good of the Church, there could be no angling for the papacy while he was called upon to be the sole pilot for an institution that momentarily had no one in charge. Rather, there was an assumption of responsibility. "After John Paul died," a Rome-based Cardinal recalled recently, "Ratzinger seemed to be carrying the entire Church on his shoulders." Hours before the voting was to begin, he gave his last speech as Cardinal, an impassioned defense of orthodoxy in which he denounced "the dictatorship of relativism." The next day, he was Pope. Beaming from the loggia above a drizzly St. Peter's Square, Papa Benedetto XVI told the world that the Cardinals had elected "a humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord."
Not the sweet final paragraph:
But for all his learning and his sense of mission, the great surprise of Benedict's papacy so far — at least to those who didn't personally know him — has been a quiet humanity. At the end of a general audience in August, the Pope had set aside time for a long line of the ill and elderly to personally greet him. A girl, perhaps 9 or 10 years old, approached, holding her mother's hand and gripping a teddy bear. Her hair was cut short and her face was puffy from medication. The Pope looked straight in the little girl's eager eyes, and brushed his hand with a blessing across her forehead. And then, without missing a beat, he reached over and blessed the teddy bear in the same way. Among those for whom doctrine is key, Benedict's unshakable convictions will earn him both fans and foes. For those of us less sure of our faith — and even those with none at all — the new Pope reminds us, simply, that a missionary's work is never done.

Full article.

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