To the Editors:

Anthony Grafton respectfully dances around Benedict XVI’s manners and abilities with undue reverence [“The Pope and the Hedgehog,” NYR, May 27]. He fails to read in Benedict’s deliberations the disastrous effects on the Catholic communion in the midst of this century’s increasing embrace of secular humanism.

The fastest growing religion in the world is Islam. The antithesis of secular humanism. Perhaps Fr. Giuliani visits Western Europe too often and thinks it's the whole world or, despite its suicidal birthrate, a world with a future.

In the meanwhile the Pope has succeeded in offending the world of Islam,

Doesn't take much to do that, and they deserve it a lot more than they get it. They need to be confronted. When he quoted a besieged Byzantine emperor, who noted Islam's use of the sword to convert, Muslims validated the criticism by acting out violently!
he has reintroduced into the Good Friday Liturgy a prayer identifying the Jewish people as culpable in the death of Jesus,

Simply untrue. A stupid mistake, or a calculated lie? I have read the texts in question, in the original Latin, and there is no ground for saying this. Praying for the Jews to be saved thru Christ is simply honest and nothing about blame is mentioned.
he has insulted the Anglican communion with an invitation to the disaffected to join the Roman Church,

The Anglican communion is busy self-destructing. And might it not be said that the Anglicans insulted both Rome and Constantinople by ordaining women? Disaffected Anglican groups asked for a way to have communion with Rome and the Pope obliged. How could he not? He's the Pope, not the public relations officer for the (moribund) Ecumenical Niceness Committee.
and he has demoralized the Catholic community in his divisive attempts to undermine the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council—despite Grafton’s adulatory comment on Benedict’s beautifully performed Mass, as if performance were the intent of liturgical worship!

I have been to Mass at Father Giuliani's church. He might want to rethink that remark about performance...
The priest sex abuse crisis is not an isolated concern of the Catholic faithful. Both Benedict and his predecessor, John Paul II, despite the Vatican Council’s clear call for regional episcopal self-governance, have recentralized authoritative administration in the Vatican. Further, and perhaps more devastating, has been their condemnation of the Liberation Theology movement in Latin America, a proven dynamic catechesis for Gospel renewal among the Latino faithful.

Gee, a Pope who grew up in a real, soul-killing, freedomless Marxist country was unhappy about a kind of Catholicism which rendered it subservient to Marxism...

Only when Benedict passes on his miter and staff to another will we Catholics not “despair.” Only when the new pope is elected by the voice of the universal church will we not despair.

He seems to think that "the universal church" will echo the sentiments of his own little very uppermiddle class very Caucasian suburban Eastcoast liberal group. In his imaginary world democracy, he might be very surprised indeed by how folks are outside Fairfield County.

Only when a person of contemporary intelligence cognizant of the inherent spirituality of secular humanism consequently works with and not against the universal concerns of all peoples, believers and not—only then will we not despair. (bolding is mine)

The inherent spirituality of secular humanism? The universal concerns of all peoples? WFT? This boy may be "despairing" for a long time.

Benedict may be “a great scholar,” but the Catholic Church is crying out for an arch pastor with generous human sensibilities capable of healing the divide into which we Catholics have descended.

Someone like himself, maybe? Father, it's not 1968 anymore. Hasn't been for a long time.

Reverend John B. Giuliani
The Benedictine Grange
Redding, Connecticut

Why do I care about this? Whilst in NY at a friend's house, I read the NY Review of Books and was overwhelmed with the voice of the Eastern Liberal Establishment. And believe me, they are not friendly to religion and certainly not to Catholicism. And here's a priest giving them fodder for their prejudices.

(Given my own history several decades ago, I could be accused of hypocrisy. Well, all I can say is that I was young and impassioned and I have since grown up a bit. Fr. Giuliani, ordained in 1960 and hence no child, should know better. But he represents a species of Catholic liberal who out-Schliermacher Schliermacher by really preferring religion's cultured despisers to the benighted orthodox in their own traditions. Liberalism, the ideology of Western (and in this case, Catholic) suicide.