Published December 31, 2022
As with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, today’s death of Benedict XVI indicates that the last embers of the generation of leaders whose rite of passage to public status was marked by World War II are now all but extinguished. And as with others of that generation—Raymond Aron, George Orwell, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Czesław Milosz, etc.—Benedict was for a time a key voice, offering commentary, critique, and proposals for preserving the best of the West in the face of mounting domestic secularism and the rise of a confident and aggressive Islam in Asia and Africa.
Before he was Pope Benedict XVI, he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. As John Paul II’s Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he had the reputation of being the pope’s enforcer, doubling down on traditional church teaching on sexuality and contraception while also moving against the liberation theology being promoted particularly by South American priests such as Leonardo Boff.
Carl R. Trueman is a fellow in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life Program, where his work focuses on helping civic leaders and policy makers better understand the deep roots of our current cultural malaise. In addition to his scholarship on the intellectual foundations of expressive individualism and the sexual revolution, Trueman is also interested in the origins, rise, and current use of critical theory by progressives. He serves as a professor at Grove City College.