Ratz

I’ve heard, and Margaret has reported, a high degree of dismay that Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope. For clarity’s sake, I should say that he was very far from being my favorite candidate, and the decision to elevate to the pontificate the cardinal who was Rome’s point man relative to the priest-pedophilia scandal in the U.S. strikes me as an indicator of the Vatican’s characteristic deafness on this issue.

On the other hand, I’m a little perplexed that anyone feels shocked at this turn of events. The Vatican is not a hotbed of liberalism, and the cardinals whom John Paul II appointed reflect his characteristic conservatism (if not his personal magnetism). If the world honored John Paul II with weeks of attention and veneration, in what respect do we anticipate that Benedict XVI — a personal friend and theological soul mate to John Paul II — will be any less praiseworthy? I’m with Hans Küng, who has as much reason as anyone to mistrust the new pontiff: “he compared it to an American presidential election and said people ‘should allow the pope 100 days to learn’.”

5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Don’t forget his age. His papacy may be the best transition to a new deal unless he is particularly long-lived. NTA

  2. Mom, his age seems younger and younger every day. I certainly don’t want to assume that someone in his (or especially her) seventies is particularly close to death!

  3. Fr. Adam,
    The interesting thing for me, is that we know the new Pope by what he has said/done before, but now things are different. There are many examples of people getting into postions that change them, i.e. Federal Judges, and actually previous Popes. Some have seemed to change their character by quite a lot, so I hope for love and understanding, reaching out, rather than retrencment, only time well tell.

  4. Speaking as one of the people who was very disappointed by the news yesterday, I’d like to defend myself against charges of naiteve. 😉

    I don’t think the disappointment stems from how conservative Ratzinger was as much as from the tone he has used in the past to espouse those conservative beliefs. He was a profoundly unpastoral cardinal. I hope against hope that he will be a thousand times more pastoral as Pope.

    But answering the concerns of the doctrinal conservatives — does anyone really believe the Catholic Church would have made any moves toward liberalism with someone like Tettamanzi as Pope? I just don’t see how a moderate pope would have been less effective in that regard…

  5. I had my hopes set on someone from Central America (Rodriguez actually).

    With Bush in the White House and Ratzinger in the Vatican I just wonder what cosmic joke can turn this into a “trifecta.”

    78 gives this good old boy probably or at least possibly another 12 years to share his inner light with the world. There’s an irony that the cardinals over 80 weren’t allowed to vote and all the ones under 80 were vetted for the Polish guy by the German.

    Ratzinger’s opposition to Liberation Theology makes him complicit in the work of the Latin American death squads. His opposition to condoms makes him complicit in the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

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