It’s been ~eight years that would fill a lifetime. Where were you when it started?


The legacy of Benedict XVI will grow out of his episcopal appointments and the resignations he accepted with all speed. From his incredibly deep but eminently accessible encyclicals that helped us understand that God is love, and He saves us in hope. In the great liturgical revolution that will take place quietly and unstoppably because of Summorum Pontificum and Sacramentum Caritatis. From his Jesus of Nazareth trilogy and the impact it has had on Biblical scholarship. From his tireless efforts at reconciliation with the SSPX, his invitation to Anglicans to come home in Anglicanorum Coetibus, and his dialogue with Islam. From his reorganizing of the curia in some very intriguing and telling ways.

Many things he has done in his seemingly short eight years would be counted a lifetime of achievement for most mortals. Joseph Ratzinger is not most mortals. He has been a force of nature in the papacy, which is good because he followed another force of nature. No one but God knows who will face the daunting task of following Blessed John Paul II (who may well be a doctor of the Church one day) and Benedict XVI (who may well be a doctor of the Church one day), but that man will have both enormous shoes to fill, and a much better led, more enthused, and, I believe, more unified global Church to lead.

But take a moment and look back at how it all started:

This was especially poignant, I believe, being a German broadcast. You can hear them gasp when they hear the German last name come through the thick Italian accent.

I still tear up and smile when watching that. “Annutio vobis gaudium magnum. HABEMUS PAPAM…” “I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope…”

This clip includes everything from that moment except the Camarlengo’s announcement—the white smoke, the crowd going wild, the bell ringing, and then the newly vested Pope Benedict XVI coming out onto the balcony and addressing his flock for the first time:

We’ll hear those words again in the next couple of weeks, and we will have the opportunity to meet our new shepherd.

Nuns in St. Peter Square

Won’t be long now and thousands of women religious will throng St. Peter’s Square once again to greet the new pope.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Tom Crowe is a cradle Catholic with a deep love for and commitment to Holy Mother the Church, colored by a rather interesting life-long relationship with her. Born during the great liturgical upheaval of the 1970s, Crowe was brought up in a parish that continued using the Missal of 1962—the Traditional Latin Mass—for which he developed a love. Crowe learned the faith as a child from the Baltimore Catechism, and didn’t stop learning and wrestling with the Church’s teachings at his Confirmation. Through reading and many conversations with friends and converts far smarter than he, Crowe came to know, accept, and love the Church and what she proposes far more intimately. For three years these conversation took place in seminary before Crowe, with the blessing of the formation team, determined that seminary was not right for him. In the wild and humorous ways of God, Crowe landed on his feet in Steubenville, Ohio, where he manages the online presence for Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he also trains altar servers and is the head master of ceremonies for the Mass in the Extraordinary Form on campus.

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