Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Peggy Noonan in Hindsight

The kind of prose that you find in op-ed columns rarely continues to haunt and inspire a month after the reading. Yet I continue to find Peggy Noonan's columns from the time of Pope John Paul's death through Pope Benedict's election stirring and profound:

On Pope John Paul II:

And then it dawns on you: Maybe--maybe . . . Maybe people, being imperfect and human, live whatever lives they live but deep in their hearts--way down deep and much more than they know--they actually notice when somebody stands for truth. And they actually honor it. Maybe that's why in all the big modern democracies they'd burst into tears when John Paul came by, when he was visiting America and France and Germany. Maybe they knew they were not necessarily living right themselves but they were grateful--they were grateful on behalf of civilization!--that there was a man like him among us. They recognized him and honored him in their hearts. And then word came that he's dead and suddenly their hearts told their heads: Get on the train and go honor him. Because he adorned us. Because he was right. And we can't lose this from civilization, this beacon in the darkness.

On Pope Benedict XVI:

We want a spiritual father. We want someone who stands for what is difficult and right, what is impossible but true. Being human we don't always or necessarily want to live by the truth or be governed by it. But we are grateful when someone stands for it. We want him to be standing up there on the balcony. We want to aspire to it, reach to it, point to it and know that it is there.