On April 18, those of us who consider ourselves conservative or orthodox would not dare hope and dream that Joseph Ratzinger would be elected Pope because of all the available candidates, we knew that he was the one most likely to bring about the renewal we were looking for. He was not a liberal or heterodox or even moderate or centrist. He was not even merely conservative. He was the conservator.
Less than a month after his election and suddenly he’s being labeled a liberal and one who casts away the traditions of the Church and for a rumored appointment. That’s right, a rumor. Sure, it’s got lots of backing from a lot of different sources, but it’s still a rumor. (And until it’s official, Pope Benedict can still change his mind ...)
The question becomes: If not Benedict, then who? If you don’t like this Pope, then who could possibly fulfill your expectations? If St. Peter himself came down from heaven to take up his office again, would we be happy with his curial appointments?
Pope Benedict will do some things that will make us ecstatic. He will do other things that make us scratch our collective heads as we try to figure out his reasoning (which he’s under no obligation to reveal to us). And he will do other things that will downright disappoint us. And that’s okay.
The Holy Father is a man, fallible like you and me. He will make mistakes and he will do the right thing, and the best we can hope for is that the latter outweigh the former by a substantial amount. Praying for him is the best way we can make that happen.