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Pontifical We

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Apr 21, 2005

Perhaps I've missed discussion of the matter elsewhere, but I was intrigued by the fact that Pope Benedict's first address uses the traditional first personal plural throughout ("In Our soul," not "In my soul"; "We sense within Us," not "I sense within me" -- as in the translations I've seen). Almost inevitably this will be interpreted as a return to an "imperial papacy," &c. -- we can write the editorials ourselves. My own read is precisely the opposite, that Pope Benedict is signaling, "The cult of personality will be minimal. Who I am as Joseph Ratzinger is secondary. To the extent possible I shall try to submerge my ego into the Petrine ministry." Duty, not charm.

On a related subject, there is an exceptionally perceptive analysis of the connection between the personal and the universal in Ratzinger's pre-conclave homily, offered by Tom Kreitzberg at Disputations.

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