Pope Benedict XVI's Perfect Game

A reflection on five years of his pontificate.
by Thomas A. Flynn, LC | Source: Catholic.net

Any avid baseball fan will tell you that all you need are five innings for a game to be complete. Which is why on the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, we find ourselves in an opportune moment to see just how the Pope is pitching for his universal team; and how the secular media can’t seem to read him yet. 

The first pitch came back in 2005, where from the mound of Regensburg, Pope Benedict threw a fast ball by pointing out that the Muslim faith had a few issues they needed to clean up in regards to violence. Newspapers around the globe twisted this into a story about a Muslim-hating Pope who sought to discriminate another religion. That is not what he said and in seeing his actions of outreach towards the leaders of the Muslim faith, it appears that that’s not what he believes either. Swing and a miss for the mass media. 

Strike one. 

The second pitch came from an interview on a plane while the pope headed towards Africa. When asked a question about the problem of Aids in Africa the Pope calmly explained that condoms are not cutting it. Contrary to what many think, the distribution of condoms is not the best way to rid that continent of this vile disease. The Pope explained that teaching and practicing abstinence is the safest and most effective way. Again, it was a fast ball right down the middle of the plate. Yet, the media swung too low and called the pope inconsiderate for not caring about the victims of Aids. Doctors were interviewed and quoted to say that the pope’s ideas were infantile and that he wanted to ban the use of condoms in Africa, thus making STD’s spread like wild fire. But, that’s not what he said, nor is it what he believes. He only pointed out that while countries are flooding Africa with condoms, Aids continues to spread. Wouldn’t it be better if we teach people the importance of saving sex until marriage? 

Strike two. 

Then came a document that the Pope signed inviting Anglicans who had been knocking at the door to come into the Catholic Church. It was a gesture of generosity where the Pope made special arrangements so that they could continue to have their same pastors and in many circumstances their same church. Cannon laws were tweaked in order to make the adjustment easier for the Anglicans. The media saw it coming, and began to swing. They called the Pope a pirate who was stealing from another church. He was not happy enough with his own flock, and like a wolf in the night he went out to embezzle others. I hate to say it but the media had blundered once again. Pope Benedict received several letters from Anglican bishops and clergy who petitioned entry into the Catholic faith. It was fast ball, no curves, no tricks. But, like mighty Casey, the media had reached their end. 

Strike three. 

Showing their true colors and unsportsmanlike conduct, now the media has chosen to charge the mound. They have resorted to name calling, questioning the pope and his teaching, and now they have threatened to incarcerate him when he plans to visit England. They are frustrated because they just can’t connect with the Pope. After five years of pontificate and of leading God’s team from the Vatican hill, we should be grateful for all he has done. Few would be willing to stand up against the secular media with such stamina and courage as he has done. Pope Benedict, on your fifth anniversary we thank you, and we congratulate you! 

Thomas A. Flynn, LC stuedies for the priesthood in Rome.  He can be reached at

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