This evening was the John Allen / Cardinal Ouellet double lecture I had mentioned earlier. The room was packed, with people from all backgrounds in attendance. If you’d like to get a good sense of how it went, may I suggest reading John Allen himself on the topic? (note: If you get an edition of his column later than March 3, just snoop through the archives)
It was interesting to get to know a bit more about Pope Benedict, and to enjoy the company of many fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I also appreciate the value of putting forward an important corrective to the knee-jerk negative public perception that is sometimes out there, as it can help remove some very human barriers to communion with (and within) the Church. Still, I’m personally wary about building a “cult of personality” around any ecclesiastical figure, even the Pope. The topic for the evening was roughly “what we can expect from Benedict XVI”, and I’m forced to say to myself that none of us can really know what to expect from anyone. When George W. Bush was (sort of) elected in 2000, the public had certain expectations of him — right up until September 11, 2001, when those expectations changed massively. Who could have forseen that? So personally I prefer to put my expectations of tomorrow aside, and live and work today for the “hastening of the coming of the Day of God”. And I suspect Benedict XVI would probably agree.