Five years into the papacy of Benedict XVI, biographer George Weigel is struck by the continuity of mission between Benedict and his predecessor, John Paul II, both of whom pursued activist papacies engaging an often-skeptical general culture.
Both popes are products of early 20th-century European Catholic culture, John Paul in Poland and Benedict in Germany. Both were deeply influenced by World War II and its aftermath, and both were partly shaped by Vatican II in the 1960s.
Both popes preach “the centrality of discipleship,” both seek to spread the gospel — Benedict, especially, in Western Europe — and both believe in outreach to the young, Weigel said during a stop here to lecture on his newest book, The End and the Beginning.
Weigel, John Paul’s biographer in 1999’s Witness to Hope, also wrote the forward to Light of the World, a new book-length interview on a range of topics Benedict conducted with German journalist Peter Seewald.