As you must all know by now, we have a Pope, as is said. No doubt much will be said about him in the coming weeks and months. I have heard that his reputation is that he is such a serious thinker that he may have no equal. We think we know that John Paul II knew that. Here is Michael Novak (on NRO):
Ratzinger is on the same theological wavelength, of a more quiet German, Benedictine style. Munich is the city of the monks, and Ratzinger the scholar is never happier than in the monastic life of study and prayer and quiet. For him, service to the church is onerous labor. He has taken heart in the past from the image of a bear being turned into a beast of labor. He several times tried to resign from Rome and go back to teaching. By all reports, he is a superb teacher, open and challenging, deep and memorable, and everlastingly accessible to his former students. They all still meet yearly--or when they can.
He is a shy man, who draws back when others approach. He speaks very softly. He smiles easily, but his habitual look is that of someone in thought.
E.J. Dionne, writing before Ratzinger became Pope, argues that Ratzinger’s emphasis on "the dictatorship of relativism" is too hard-line, too conservative, might even be neo-conservative. There is no question where Ratzinger lined up in the culture wars, in short. I think Ratzinger is a great choice.