April 19, 2005

The New Pope

So despite a little snag trying to read the smoke signals this morning, we now have a new Pope. Joseph Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI. He's pretty much the opposite of what I wanted in a new Pope:

Ratzinger, who turned 78 on Saturday, he has been head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith since 1981. In that position, he maintained strict discipline on church doctrine, including disciplining church officials who differed on church policy.

He has been the driving force behind the Vatican's crackdowns on liberation theology, religious pluralism, challenges to traditional moral teachings on issues such as homosexuality, and dissent on such issues as women's ordination.

E. J. Dionne (Who pretty much defines liberal Catholic thought for me) has some of the best stuff I've read today:

Ratzinger now carries on his battle without the charismatic support of his friend. He is proposing that the church take one aspect of John Paul's synthesis -- the battle against relativism reflected in doctrinal rigor -- and make it the late pope's central legacy. The cardinals who marched solemnly into the Sistine Chapel yesterday afternoon will be deciding if that is the right fight for the future.

The Cardinals made their choice. No movement on any doctrine seems to be what they wanted. No women Priests, no pluralism, no movement on contraception, no movement on anything. Nobody pays attention to me. Well the man is 78 years old, so we might have to do this all over again soon.

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