What the Benedict Papacy Meant for Women
Elizabeth Scalia, Catholic blogger for Patheos' The Anchoress, wrote, "Benedict has always been the more accessible tinkling piano, simply inviting one to come closer. His copious writings have been almost avuncular in their gently-voiced but brilliant instruction, and somehow it always felt like he belonged 'to me.'"
Many women crave that personal connection that Scalia describes. We are communicators. We like to hear stories. We like emotional ties. Benedict's theological exploration provided beautiful explanations on the nature of God and the mission of the church.
For non-Catholics, elements of the pope's faith and his role may be mysteries, but Benedict's core beliefs on God are not. He emphasized the church's "new evangelization"—an approach that should resonate deeply with us.
"Christianity is not a new philosophy or new morality. We are Christians only if we encounter Christ... Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we really become Christians," he said in 2008. "Therefore, let us pray to the Lord to enlighten us, so that, in our world, he will grant us the encounter with his presence, and thus give us a lively faith, an open heart, and great charity for all, capable of renewing the world."
He wrote accessibly about Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection, in a book series highlighted by USA Today:
He may have been best known to everyday readers, Catholic or not, by his best-selling trilogy, written in a conversational style, on the life of Christ. The first volume, Jesus of Nazareth, on his life and ministry, came out in 2007 with a humble opening line: "Everyone is free, then, to contradict me…"
Beyond his books, Benedict also wrote three, lengthy encyclical letters. We are lucky to live in an age when you don't have to be a Catholic scholar with special credentials to study the church's latest teaching documents. The encyclicals are posted online, for anyone to access, in up to a dozen languages.
Benedict's encyclical called "Charity in Truth" made headlines as an economic directive addressing a globalizing world, but as Francis Beckwith explained for CT, it was more than that. Benedict explained why doing good for people and loving people requires our faithful consideration of what God made them to be.
"Development, social well-being, the search for a satisfactory solution to the grave socio-economic problems besetting humanity, all need this truth. What they need even more is that this truth should be loved and demonstrated," Benedict wrote.