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You don't hear them saying, Let's fall on our swords ...

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 30, 2005

It reads like a parody, but I swear it's not. John Allen interviews the newly-pallium'd quondam presidents on their new dignities and the new Pope, and they discuss Benedict XVI in terms of his electability as secretary of the Mishawaka High School student council:

National Catholic Reporter: What are your early impressions of Pope Benedict XVI?

Abp. Wilton Gregory: I made 13 trips to Rome during my tenure as president of the conference, and each time I met with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, either individually or as part of a group. It was always the easiest meeting on the schedule. We would send ahead a list of the points we wanted to discuss, and he would come to the meetings with a folder. In it was the letter we had sent, his notes in response, and then his own list of points he wanted to raise. I always felt that there was nothing we couldn't bring up. He would not get offended or unhappy. Now he has a new responsibility, and he's rising to it. He's no longer a university professor, nor a doctrinal prefect, but the Holy Father, and that's bringing new dimensions of his character to the fore.

Abp. Joseph Fiorenza: Most lay people didn't know much about what he had done at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and among them I think the initial reaction was positive, simply because we had a new Holy Father. His first moments in the public eye were also important, because he came out smiling and connected well with the public. For the most part I think priests feel that way too. Some are cautious, wondering, 'What is this going to mean? Will there be a crackdown?' But even they tend to say, 'He's the pope now, let's give him a chance.' You don't hear them saying, 'Let's fall on our swords.' "

Note: We have it on unimpeachable authority that Pope Benedict himself is hugely impressed with the leadership of our bishops conference.

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