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Luke Coppen's Catholic Herald Blog

Benedict XVI ranks high on world’s top thinkers list

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Foreign Policy magazine has ranked Pope Benedict XVI as the 17th most important thinker in the world today (Richard Dawkins is 18th).

The citation reads:

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s election as pope in 2005 was a surprise to everyone, including himself. ‘God’s Rottweiler’, so-called for his purges of liberal reformists, was older than most candidates, bookish, and very conservative.

As pope, Benedict has certainly moved the church closer to its form prior to Vatican II’s sweeping modernizations. This traditionalism has garnered excitement in some circles, but it has also sparked controversy, particularly this year when he tried to reinstate excommunicated bishops from the Society of St. Pius X – one of whom was a well-known Holocaust denier.

But it hasn’t all been anti-Semites and Latin masses. Benedict has also been outspoken about the perils of reckless capitalism in the aftermath of the financial crisis; he has positioned the church prominently and unexpectedly as an advocate for the environment and warned against the perils of climate change. And, despite early stumbles with the Muslim world and anger over what many saw as an attempt to lure disillusioned Anglican conservatives to the church, the pope has worked hard for interfaith dialogue.

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Written by Luke Coppen

December 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm

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