I recall that John XXIII made a comment about the Church “opening its windows” onto the world which largely shaped the debate in and around Vatican II. Charitable commentators said he was seeing the Church as a lighthouse and the “window opening” as a metaphor for getting the Church’s message (Lumen Christi) across to the world. Other less charitable commentators had mentioned all the nasty niffs that entered the Vatican as a result of opening those windows.
I’d just like to say that there were many malodorous presences in the Church prior to VII, they were not just a product of its engagement with modernism. I also feel that our current pontiff is doing a very good job of continuing this lighthouse mission of John XXIIIs. People listen to what he says. We must remember that those who have no concept of church teaching and the Magisterium will take note of the man who is pope. The cult of personality is alive and well. The Seewald book that is about to be released is meant to engage with those who are interested in the person of the current pontiff. If through this book people gain a favourable appreciation of the mission of the Church then all fine and dandy. Catholics are not the primary audience for this book. We ought to be more interested in the official encyclicals, letters and apostolic exhortations from the Church that help guide us to a clearer understanding of the mission and being of Our Lord and Saviour, than in the musings of a pontiff. We do not need to be dragged into the cult of personality too, it will not strengthen our faith.
By the way, there are two framed pictures of Pope Benedict XVI in our house, and we pray for his intentions together every night. I do hope you understand what I’m saying.