A johannine pope

The Moynihan Report offers an intriguing insight into the new path of our Emeritus Hero:

John was not the “rock” upon whom Christ built his Church. But John was one disciple who stayed with Jesus to the end, even remaining with him at the foot of the cross. Interestingly, it is the Johannine vision of Christ that most intrigues Balthasar, the Pope’s old friend, the one whose book he is now reading. That Johannine vision is the vision set forth by St. John in his Gospel. In that Gospel, John writes: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father” (John 1:14). As Joel Garver, a professor at La Salle University on Philadelphia has written: “For John, the cross and the glorification of Christ are inseparable realities — coming from the Father, the Son’s whole life is one of glorifying the Father through obedience moving relentlessly toward his ‘hour’ of glorification in powerlessness upon the Cross.” The Pope’s hour, at present, is the hour of his powerlessness… Garver continues: “It is in the formless, the deformity (Ungestalt), of the Cross that the very form of God’s glory (Ubergestalt) is revealed as the boundless, self-giving love that characterizes the very life of the Trinity. “This form of glory unseats all worldly aesthetics and all classical notions of beauty as proportion and harmony, making way for a new theological understanding of beauty in the Trinitarian dynamic of cruciform love seen by the eyes of faith. And that is the fundamental point that Balthasar expresses in his aesthetics.” What Benedict is saying by his decision to divest himself completely of all power, and to live, powerless, “hidden from the the world,” a life of prayer and worship of God, is that there is a humble “Johannine mission” which can complement and complete the awesome “Petrine mission” he carried out with such devotion and suffering until yesterday evening…

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