To judge to what degree Benedict XVI was correct or not in this matter is a task that clearly belongs to Catholics only. But we non-believers would act badly to celebrate as a victory of progress and of freedom the failure of Joseph Ratzinger on the throne of St. Peter. He not only represented the conservative tradition of the Church, but also her best legacy: that of the high and revolutionary classical and Renaissance culture that, let us not forget, the Church preserved and spread by means of her monasteries, libraries, and seminaries, that culture that impregnated the entire world with ideas, forms, and customs that ended slavery and, departing some distance from Rome, made possible the notions of equality, solidarity, human rights, liberty, democracy and decisively drove the development of thought, of art, of letters, and contributed to ending barbarism and to advancing civilization.
The decadence and intellectual mediocrity of the Church has highlighted the solitary presence of Benedict XVI; and the sensation of powerlessness that seems to have surrounded him in these last years is, without a doubt, a fundamental factor in his resignation and that disquieting glimpse of how bitter our epoch is toward all that represents spiritual life, preoccupation with ethical values, and a vocation for culture and idea
The English translation of the letter is found here, but I want to highlight the last two paragraphs of this letter written by a non-believer Vargas Llosa,. My boldface type....
The reference to Classical Education and Art, as well as the formation of modern human rights and democracy do come from the heritage of Western Culture, which was created by the Catholic Church.
This is not news. Those of us who grew up knowing the history of the culture, before it was denigrated by Marxists and relativists, loved the history of the growth of Christendom, chivalry, knowledge and virtue which blossomed from the Gospels being lived through the monasteries and convent of Europe and passed down through the great schools, universities and libraries, all Catholic.
When Llosa refers to the recent "mediocrity of the Church", I am so pleased that I can hardly say "right on, mate".
Mediocrity is from anti-intellectualism and laziness in spiritual matters.
The emphasis on Reason and Faith must be carried on with our next pope, or we shall lose all semblance of civilization not only in the West, but in the world.