The response from the "Angry Left" is expected, but it's also stunning when you actually see it.
Given the recent decision by the EU to explicitly remove any mention of Christianity in Europe's history, your closing observation seems about right to me, too.
And I think others are making this observation. In a discussion on "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS, Father Fessio, who studied under Cardinal Ratzinger, makes the following points:
You see one of the things which is important is his name; he took the name Benedict. St. Benedict was a saint of the 6th Century who, when the Roman Empire was invaded by barbarians, was declining, was corrupting from within.
Benedict left the city of Rome, went out into the countryside, Subiaco, and prayed. Others joined him, he founded a monastery, by 1200 there were 40,000 Benedictine monasteries throughout Europe.
The Benedictines, through prayer and worship and praise of God, through leaving a corrupting superpower, actually gave Europe its culture, created Christendom and I think that Ratzinger, just as Father just said, wants to go back to that root, that origin which made Europe great and gave it great art and great music and literature and history and philosophy and theology.
He wants to go back to that and re-evangelize Europe. Also very important: He didn't publish many books the last years because what he published was many collections of talks, collections of articles he'd written, but he did publish one book called "The Spirit of the Liturgy."
And that was his vision of what it member to worship God in a beautiful and profound and reverent way. And he believes the way to transform human society is to transform the heart, and that every heart is made for God, to worship God privately but also worship God publicly.
And so I believe that because Benedict founded monasteries whose work was the work of God, worship and prayer, that he is going to bring fruition to a great renewal of the liturgy, which the Second Vatican Council promised.
Read transcript of entire discussion here:
Why is there surprise that the College of Cardinals, the majority of whom were picked by a conservative whose outlook was shaped by experiences in WWII, picked as Pope a conservative whose outlook was shaped by experiences in WWII?
Why is there suprise that, based on his doctrine, a Roman Catholic was picked as Pope instead of a Unitarian or liberal Presbyterian?
Here's an idea to help keep your sanity when listening to NPR.
Spiritual Depth Charge
1 oz. Benedictine, in shot glass
12 oz. Bavarian lager, in beer mug
Drop shot glass into beer mug. Drain mug.
Prepare some sauerkraut, drop some bratwursts on the grill, and make a party of it. ;^)