The ubiquitous, fair-minded Rome correspondent of the left-leaning National Catholic Reporter, John Allen, contributed this truly insightful observation in his weekly online/e-mail column The Word From Rome.
.The emerging heart of Benedict’s papacy is about truth — his belief that modern men and women must find their way back to objective truths about human life, imprinted in nature by the Creator. Even if the fallen human mind needs the “purification” of faith to perceive this truth, Benedict believes that it nonetheless responds to something deep in the human heart.
As such, Benedict feels little need for razzle-dazzle. His aim seems to be to subtract himself from the equation as much as possible, so the message may shine through more clearly.
… Under John Paul, reaction to the pope sometimes broke down along conventional liberal/conservative lines, and sometimes it scrambled those categories, but few were indifferent. Under Benedict XVI, it’s possible that the most important division will be between those who are paying attention and those who aren’t, since the force of the pope’s personality may no longer be sufficient to command the world’s interest.
I think Allen “gets it”.