Love it. Writing like this. Great word pictures and picturesque phrases. Diarmid McCulloch, of course, prince of present historians. Writing about a recent speech of our brother in Christ Benedict XVI:
"It's difficult from this to know what the pope might count as "the best" of modernity's requirements, but apparently even those can be transcended, and plenty of errors and dead ends just get avoided – a bit like a sacralised version of Lara Croft dodging through the nasties. You could hardly get a more defensive vision of the council than this. It sounds for all the world like that most unfortunate and embarrassing of Pope Pius IX's public statements, the Syllabus of Errors of 1864, which famously culminated in the proposition that it was wrong to believe that the pope "can and ought to reconcile himself with progress, liberalism and modern civilisation".
What it does mean is that the pope has put himself at the head of the small-earthquake-in-Chile-not-many-dead view of Vatican II?"
Check the whole here.