Pope Benedict's last "Ratzinger" book (see title link) is now available: The Europe of Benedict, in the Crisis of Cultures. The rationale of the essay is the ongoing transformation of European culture--not a brand new thing, by the way--from an intrinsic if not always successful Christianity to a brittle and anomic secularity.
That's why he's "Benedict," as some observed upon his accession. He sees the confrontation with secular nihilism as the great campaign for the future of civilization, one that must be advanced in the place where the rebellion against an integral and spiritual worldview is rooted: continental Europe. Some quotes featured in the article:
**He speaks of the "cynicism of a secularized culture that negates its own roots."
**"It's not the mention of God that offends the followers of other religions, but rather the attempt to build a human community absolutely without God."
**Society is "becoming virtually insensitive to abortion. ... Maybe because in abortion you don't see the face of who will be condemned and never see the light. ... You become blind to the right of life of another, the youngest and weakest who doesn't have a voice."
AND BY THE WAY:
Again, this annoying mantra from the Chronicle's article: "ideological watchdog." This is now trite, folks. Get rid of it and describe the Pope's former position accurately. Facts are never trite; ideology is.
More irrelevance from the fishwrap: "His first weeks as new leader of the Roman Catholic Church have been closely watched for signs of potential doctrinal change." DUH....