Television Worth Watching

Jim Fair on the Holy Father’s Visit to the US.
by Jim Fair | Source:
There are days, sometimes weeks when I find very little in the television listings that excites me. The Papal visit changed this.

That’s because a rather shy, truly brilliant and unquestionable holy man came to visit the United States and shed his grace on a nation looking for a taste of truth.

Pope Benedict XVI will always be measured against his titanic predecessor, John Paul II, who had charisma enough to fill a quarter century. The current Pope is superficially less exciting, less dynamic and less impressive.

But you don’t have to scratch very far past the superficial to find a soul of depth and kindness worthy of the shoes of the fisherman. And standing with President Bush, before American bishops, Catholic educators and the United Nations, he did what a Pope ought to do: he spoke the truth with eloquence and clarity.

The Pope can ignite the crowd simply because he is the Pope. After all, this is an office with a bit of history and tradition, as well as authority from on high. But each man who holds the job brings his own personality, his own strengths and, yes, his own weaknesses to the job.

But sometimes those weaknesses can turn into strengths. Following JPII, Benedict was seen by many as too old, too academic and too dour for the task. How would such a man compete with his predecessor?

We now have the answer – he doesn’t compete. He is just himself, a humble servant of Christ and his Church. Warmer than many realized. Stronger than most imagined.

He tells us what we need to hear, even if it may not be what many want to hear. He speaks simply and bravely. And I get the sense that the Church is in very good hands.

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