On April 23 George Weigel, author of Witness to Hope, the acclaimed biography on John Paul II, delivered an address entitled “Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church” to students at Christendom College.

The talk took a look at the character of Benedict XVI, some of the challenges he faces, and some personal thoughts on the principal themes of his pontificate.

“The rapid election of the closest intellectual associate of John Paul II, which Cardinal Ratzinger had been for more than 22 years, seemed to me to be a resounding affirmation of the Pontificate of John Paul the Great and his accomplishments,” Weigel, a Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, said. “The cardinals saw John Paul as a model of the Petrine office.”

“This also was a ringing endorsement of Cardinal Ratzinger,” he said. “Three times Ratzinger asked to resign and three times John Paul II said, ‘I can’t do this without you.’”