wow, been a lively piece of something going on around here today,
couple things: Jesus of Nazareth was the son of Mary, so I expect he looked a bit like her, for she was a humble Jewish girl of Judea and so might have had olive skin and wavy black hair - not like renaissance painters painted in pieces for their patrons, I mean the roof overhead and the food on the table and the kids' education came from the patron's money, so you make the art look the way the patron will want it, including a European looking Christ
Next, Bavarian kids were coerced into the Youth unless they might resist and have their families suspected and 'watched' and even ruined, (how would we feel as parents in such a time?), just like he was drafted into the Luftwaffe as an antiaircraft man ... but his own preferences show in his university career and his Church membership .........
Next, he was not promoted cardinal by John Paul, Ratzinger was a cardinal for over thirty years, and yes he was the head of the doctrine branch, the successor of the inquisition - but his good heart and old fashioned ways made him a cinch to become the closest friend and partner with John Paul. As well as their shared belief that, as John Paul pronounced, the Church is not a democracy: it is a faith of submission and obedience and belief in righteousness. ( I paraphrase because I don't have the exact quote in front of me)
This is a very old fashioned man and conservative, duh!, but those who know him report that he is wise and a good man, perhaps confident and righteous.
I join our president, just saw a clip of his remark, in welcoming his Holiness Benedict to the leadership and to the fold of world leaders, and while I'm not catholic I do pray that our Lord will guide and infuse his Holiness with a 'good and tempering spirit' to enhance his own wisdom, and open his eyes and his heart to the wider world of our modern day, even as I know how old and old fashioned this man is: he his the leader the cardinals want, and he is a good man who wants good and stable times for all. Let us all across the world welcome him and his thoughts and his heart to us and choose this day to extend our hands.