How does all of this work together?
There is, it seems, something for everyone in this exhaustive interview ”” something to annoy everyone on every side of these issues, that is as recent events clearly showed. The truth is, though, that for anyone who has been following Benedict and read any of his numerous works over many years, none of this is shocking or a surprise, and it’s all quite consistent.
It only puzzles us when we insist on filtering the pope’s words through our own expectations and ideologies, our own understanding of what religion and rationality and morality must be all about. We’re not starting from the same page, which might explain much of the invective directed at the pope by a curious, but often oblivious, press.
The thing is, he really believes the stuff. Really. He believes that God exists and we exist because God loves us. We’re free to love him back, or not. So the basic job of the church is to be Christ in the world, inviting human beings to find love and truth. To find themselves. As Benedict puts it in Light of the World, the church “communicates the light of Christ.”