Whereas John Paul seemed most at home when celebrating mass for 100,000 strangers, Benedict is most himself when among fellow churchmen in Rome. Whereas John Paul made all the world an altar, Benedict's sphere of action is the compound of churches and offices surrounding St. Peter's. As a symbol of the papacy John Paul's popemobile has been replaced by Benedict's personal theological library of several thousand books, which were photographed after his election so that they could be reshelved in the same order in the papal apartments.
In short, Mr. Outside has been succeeded by Mr. Inside; and the story of Ratzinger's emergence as the Church's leader reveals the ways in which his pontificate is likely to affect the Church as a whole. In many ways the central fact of the papacy in the modern age is the gap between the pope's growing power in the Church and his diminishing influence on the religious lives of individual believers. This gap is one that John Paul and his predecessors sought to close. Under Benedict the gap is openwide open. He will govern more but matter less than John Pauland will probably matter less to the lives of individual Catholics than any other pope of the past half century.