I don't know, I guess I read too many Catholic Internet things. I got to feeling for our Holy Father these last few days. Is bad press increasing or just my amount of reading?
I first came to admire "Ratzinger" when in the seminary. He was that amazing bright light of the ecclesiastical world who gave me (and many others) confidence that the Church would speedily show its teaching to the world, when the world was convinced - and so many Catholics with it - that everything in the Church was up for grabs.
So I started reading him. First his Introduction to Christianity - an innocuous title of a book whose contents are nothing like introductory. Then I read the shorter stuff put out by Ignatius Press - Milestones, The Nature and Mission of Theology, etc., The Ratzinger Report... I even read a bit of his doctoral thesis on Bonaventure and history. Later I read his On the Meaning of Christian Brotherhood, various essays, and then various books on him, like the great one by Aidan Nichols, O.P. More recently I read the Holy Father's amazing Jesus of Nazareth and his book on the Church Fathers - which I am planning on using next time I teach Patristics. I'm not a big fan of the theology of the liturgy, I'm sorry to say, so I have really only picked through perhaps the works of his that are most read - The Spirit of the Liturgy and Feast of Faith. But I've read more than once his In the Beginning, which is probably the one I like the most. And, he wrote the most valuable and important Church document since Veritatis Splendor, Evangelium Vitae and Humane Vitae. I mean, of course, Dominus Iesus.
I don't know anything about the papacy on an existential basis: what it's like to be around His Holiness, what it's like to live his life, what kind of person he is, how he deals with stress, how his faith activates his hope, etc. I don't know if he is having a hard go of it right now or if he is rejoicing while he observes the unfolding of the divine plan. How does he take the insults cast at the papacy by England, by BBC, etc.? How does he take the in-fighting of the Cardinals, the imprudence of Cardinal Schonborn, the abuse scandal? His Holiness doesn't deserve any of this but it's certain that he knows that it's part of following in the way of His Lord Christ.
As a theologian and a lover of history it's actually really neat to be a part of his papacy. We are living through the papacy of a Doctor of the Church.