It is always dangerous to draw too precise parallels between one historical period and another; and among the more misleading of such parallels are those which have been drawn between our own age ... and the epoch in which the Roman Empire declined into the Dark Ages. Nonetheless certain parallels there are. ... What they set themselves to achieve - often not recognizing fully what they were doing - was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness. If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point. ... This time, however, the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers, they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament. We are not waiting for Godot, but for another - and doubtless very different - St. Benedict.
-Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue
It would surely be premature to canonize a man who hasn't been pope for a day. But it does bring to mind that saying of Charles Peguy: "life holds only one tragedy, ultimately: not to have been a saint." May Benedict XVI avoid this one tragedy.