A Defense of the Pope by a Non-Catholic

There’s been a lot of media attention focused on the Vatican in the last few days since Pope Benedict XVI announced he would resign at the end of this month.  It seemed like everyone immediately started to criticize all the decisions he has made throughout his papacy. There’s been a lot of talk about how he’s attempted to “turn back the clock” on the Catholic Church.  I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject.

Although I’m not Catholic, and don’t agree with the Pope on everything, I feel like the press has been unfair to him.  I admire how he continues to proclaim the importance of Christianity in an increasingly post-modern era.  He doesn’t compromise on his beliefs just so he can attract more followers to the Church.  Take, for instance, his anti-contraception stance.  I disagree with him on that.  However, if that’s what he honestly believes, he shouldn’t change it in some misguided attempt to “modernize”- he should only change it if he  reconsiders his position and comes to a different conclusion.  Doctrine should always come before modernization.

In addition, I read the first part of his biography of Jesus a few years ago.  It remains the book that, with the exception of the Bible, has most influenced my faith.  He is an extremely gifted researcher/writer.  I enjoyed reading it so much, that I plan to read the second part during the Lenten season.

It’s possible that I’m totally misjudging him.  I don’t know what role, if any, he played in the whole child sex abuse coverup scandal.  Maybe I’m being misled by the whole elderly nice-guy image.   Assuming that’s not the case, I wanted to share what I perceived to be his strong points.

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