The Year of Two Popes
January 1, 2006
In this The Atlantic article, Paul Elie reviews how Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI and the implications for the contemporary Catholic Church - especially in the United States. Elie argues that while Pope Benedict exerts greater influence over the Church and its hierarchy than his predecessor, he has less influence over the lives of individual Catholics than Pope John Paul II. Elie's story is buttressed by extensive research and conversations with four sources inside the Vatican (who remain anonymous). Elie concludes that Benedict's fairly restricted understanding of the papacy provides American Catholicism with a opportunity to revisit fundamental questions about the existence of God and the ways God might be made manifest in our lives.