Gerard Baker has been enjoying the media reaction to Joseph Ratzinger's elevation to the Papacy.
Journalists and pundits for whom the Catholic Church has long been an object of anthropological curiosity fringed with patronising ridicule have really let themselves go since the new pontiff emerged. Indeed most of the coverage I have seen or read could be neatly summarised as: "Cardinals elect Catholic Pope. World in Shock."Dr. Vincent Twomey provides more insights into what sort of man Joseph Ratzinger is. Twomey studied under Professor Ratzinger at the University in Regensburg, where Twomey was a student in 1971.
He is unprepossessing to meet, his intellectual brilliance and extraordinary memory hidden behind a pleasant demeanour, betrayed only by his piercing eyes and occasional witticism.I remain hopeful and see nothing to fear.
Not exactly physically robust, his lifestyle is simple. He never drove a car, and walks to work each day, as he did as professor. He flies economy class. An avid reader, he also enjoys walks in the countryside, and conversation with his friends. He is a man of simple faith and remarkable moral courage, both of which he inherited from his beloved parents.
Joseph Ratzinger is, in the final analysis, a man of prayer - his spiritual writings are refreshing - rooted in the liturgy, the reform of which he has promoted through his recent writings. His celebration of the Requiem Mass reflected both his theory and practice of union with God in Christ.