Communion and witness. In this moment I thank the Lord for the communion he has given to us and gives us. We've seen the richness, the diversity of this communion. You are a church of diverse rites, but who still together form, with all the other rit[u]es, one Catholic church. It's beautiful to see this true catholicity, so rich in diversity, so rich in possibilities, in diverse cultures; and yet, still growing from it, the polyphony of one faith, of a true communion of hearts, which only the Lord could give. For this experience let us thank the Lord, and I thank all of you. It seems that maybe the most important gift of this Synod is that we have seen and realized the communion that binds all of us to each other and is witnessed to through that.
It is this "diversity in communion" that seems to be at the heart of Benedict's theology of the Church. The phrase, "polyphony of one faith" sums up his understanding of ecclesiology, it is not the Roman Ultramontanism of previous Popes. He has spoken of the need to be "both and" rather than "either or". Thus in the Latin Church there has been a real attempt to "gather into one" all who subscribe more or less to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is after all is the document those who want to join the Ordinariate are expected to sign up to, it seems too to be the basis for negotiations with the SSPX, rather than simple acceptance of the Second Vatican Council.
At the beginning of the Pontificate there was an expectation of bared rottweiler teeth, of big sticks, of a___ kicking but instead we had tea with Kung. There has been no great curial clear out, in fact the most noticeable change was the exchange of P for G Marini.
The heart of Benedict's pontificate is professorial dialogue, at least for those who are willing to accept the Benedictine presumptions: that is that Revelation, Scripture and Tradition, is true and although it develops, it is essentially unchangeable and is to be understood in a hermeneutic of continuity, for example this is how liturgy is to be understood.
The problem is where do those who do not have the taste for this dialogue fit in. What about the campaigners for women's ordination, those with a doctrine free understanding of Catholicism, those who are demanding a radical rethinking of marriage, family and human sexuality? In England and Wales this seems almost to be the default position of at least most lay "establishment Catholics". The basic Benedictine position would be to treat them with courtesy and to trust in the beauty of God's Truth to attract them, there is also the assumption that the Catholic faith is both durable and essentially reasonable, that it will ultimately triumph.
There is also the slight sting in the tail with the Pope's constant demand for an educated laity and that little bit in the Pope's address to our Bishops at the ad limina that they should "recognise dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate." There is the presumption that those involved in "dialogue" are actually committed to the mainstream position.