A facebook friend pasted a John Allen interview with Cardinal George of Rome. I can't find it elsewhere online. Among lots of good things, I was especially taken by this part: [Italics are John Allen speaking; bold is my emphasis]
Primarily what Benedict wanted to do was to see to it that the teaching of the Second Vatican Council was recast in ways that would make it vital, but would also be faithful to the whole tradition, which he possessed so magnificently, and which he could synthesize around the concept of love. For instance, charity and love … it used to be said that there was some kind of distinction between the two, as if charity were somehow second best, lady bountiful helping the poor rather than having them fight for their rights.
Some have argued that charity is actually at odds with justice, a means of keeping the poor dependent.
That’s right. He just did away with that whole distinction, theoretically anyway, and he did it again and again, putting everything back into love and the joy that comes from it. He recast the tradition, but in ways that were entirely faithful to it, just as John Paul brought in a more personalist anthropology, so that natural law theory and the rest was recast in a relational form. Benedict has continued that.