"Basically, what we are in the grip of at the moment, and Benedict is one of the engineers of this, is what I would call a strong re-assertion of traditional Catholic identity,"
-John Allen, quoted by a Reuters story entitled, "Is Pope Benedict turning back Catholic clock?"
Father Reese of America fame chimes in in the same article:
"This is the Pope being the German professor who is going to clarify language in his classroom," said Father Tom Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. "And he thinks the world is his classroom."
"The problem with that is that he defines what a church is and by doing so takes any discussion of what a church is off the table in dialogue (with other religions)," said Reese, a leading U.S. Jesuit author.
"His intention is not to insult people but many times that's the way it come across," Reese said. "He uses words the way he defines them whether people like it or not, whether it upsets gays, women, theologians, Protestants or Muslims."
George Weigel, a prominent U.S. lay Catholic theologian, author and leading conservative commentator:
"Christian communities which maintain a clear sense of their doctrinal and moral boundaries can not only survive the encounter with modernity, they can flourish within it. Whereas Christian communities which fudge their boundaries tend to wither and eventually die,"
And of course Mr. Allen gets the last word:
"The Vatican's calculation is that the retrenchment we are going through now may result in a smaller church but it will be a church that is more focused, more energetic, and in the long term that will pay off,"
Have fun as pundits, guys. I know I didn't reading you. :/