T Nation

Pope Benedict XVI

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany is now Pope Benedict XVI. The article I read in yahoo says he plans on strictly enforcing the conservative values of the church.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050420/ap_on_re_eu/pope

He’s got his work cut out for him. Issues ranging from Islamic relations to sex scandals to the changing face of today’s Catholic are on the table. I wish him luck.

With all due respect, I think he is a bad choice, sending all the wrong signals. A missed opportunity.

Makkun

I’m starting a new thread in case anybody wants to talk about this, seeing as how my “Kick 'em while they’re down” thread got sidetracked by starting a sun-worshipping cult and going to the titty bar for beers with a few of my overseas friends.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050420/wl_uk_afp/vaticanpopebritainpressreax_050420062736&e=3

Here we have an article that mirrors the feelings I had in the other thread. This was a good opportunity for the Catholics to get modern, and let go of some of the dogma that’s holding them back, so to speak. But unfortunately, they are going to be locked into their time-worn policies for a little while longer.

I think it would have been great to see a South American become the new pope. I mean, half of the Catholics in the world are in South America… doesn’t that just make sense? And it’s not like they don’t have any decent candidates from there.

Thoughts anybody?

[quote]lothario1132 wrote:
I’m starting a new thread in case anybody wants to talk about this, seeing as how my “Kick 'em while they’re down” thread got sidetracked by starting a sun-worshipping cult and going to the titty bar for beers with a few of my overseas friends.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050420/wl_uk_afp/vaticanpopebritainpressreax_050420062736&e=3

Here we have an article that mirrors the feelings I had in the other thread. This was a good opportunity for the Catholics to get modern, and let go of some of the dogma that’s holding them back, so to speak. But unfortunately, they are going to be locked into their time-worn policies for a little while longer.

What do you mean by “get modern”? I do not see any dogma holding Catholics back. “Time-worn” policies?

I think it would have been great to see a South American become the new pope. I mean, half of the Catholics in the world are in South America… doesn’t that just make sense? And it’s not like they don’t have any decent candidates from there.

Thoughts anybody?[/quote]

The Pope is chosen to lead the Catholic church in the direction it best sees fit. Makes no difference where the majority of Catholics live. I fail to see your correlation, sir.

[quote]Legolas wrote:
What do you mean by “get modern”? I do not see any dogma holding Catholics back. “Time-worn” policies?[/quote]

You know… that old silly “don’t put a condom over your schlong” speech they’ve been spouting since we invented the damn things, that whole goofy “homosexuals are perverted and going to hell” spiel, the chic and medieval vow of celibacy for the clergy… the list goes on.

[quote]The Pope is chosen to lead the Catholic church in the direction it best sees fit. Makes no difference where the majority of Catholics live. I fail to see your correlation, sir.
[/quote]

I see what you’re getting at, but I’ll bet you ten to one that I can produce an entire continent of folks who will disagree with you. Imagine what an embracing and powerful statement they could have made by naming a Latin American as pope. Imagine how “un-disenfranchised” they would feel to have someone from the dirt and poverty of the third world to represent them. I think that this would have meant something along the lines of “we understand you now” to the poor and Catholic nations, and it would have been an incredible boost to the downtrodden to see one of their own as the leader of the most powerful religious sect in the world.

Make sense?

A former member of the Hitler youth and staunch right winger, dark days are ahead for catholicism. He claims rock music is inherently evil amongst other things like anti-gay anti-women. God how did they pick him?

Interesting to see the disappointment out there.

I think it a little far-fetched to expect a 2000 year old church that acts as steward to the fundamental religious truths of its faith to make a commitment to accommodate alternative ideas and lifestyles.

There seems to be quite an outcry that this papal selection isn’t ‘progressive’. But I am not convinced that the job of the church is to make sure that it morphs with every generational attitude so as to make its members feel better about themselves. Universal truths, which the Catholic church certain believes in, govern, not situational morality.

If one cannot live within the central tenets of the faith, then don’t be a Catholic.

I understand that religion is treated like a big buffet: take what you want from it and leave the parts you don’t like behind. That’s fine; I think we all do that to some degree. But to expect the Catholic church’s top spiritual leader to come out and give formal endorsement to lifestyles and actions outside the traditional strictures of Catholicism - ie, homosexuality, women priests, abortion, etc. - all in the name of ‘tolerance’ is a pipe dream.

I was a little dissapointed in the choice but am willing to give him time.

Sometimes the Pope can be a suprise. Look at John and Vatican 2. We’ll have to wait and see.

I happen to think he is a wonderful choice. Leading up to the selection there was a great deal of talk about how the Cardinals must select a modern Pope who should take a modern look at issues like women clergy, contraception, abortion etc. Now Pope Benedict XVI is being called “God’s pitbull” and “God’s rottweiler”, for his unbending belief in a Dogma some don’t agree with. These people don’t seem to grasp that the Dogma of the Catholic Church is the way it is on purpose and isn’t going to change just because popular opinion among some constituency feels it should. The Catholic Church is traditional and not progressive, you don’t have to like it and you don’t have to agree with it. An institution that changes the rules whichever way the wind blows looses credibility in my eyes.

So no women clergy is a good thing? Living in the dark ages is a good thing? How? The church will simply lose nearly all its members in future years.

The very early christian church there was no problem with women clergy so why now? The fact that women get no say in the selection of a new pope or anything to do with catholicism in general is what Jesus would have wanted? Imo christianity is the most hypocritical religion, they take the life of Jesus then do almost the opposite of what he taught. Especially using the old testament more than the new it seems when using it to gauge the religious standpoint on social issues.

The bible is the basis of all christianity but how can people put so much faith and base their life on a book which is so clearly full of hypocrisy and falsehoods? If its the direct word of god then hes not very omniscient is he?

I, for one, am in a joyful mood about this most perfect decision.

You can let your morals decay, while I embrace the truth of God.

Don’t like it? Then don’t be a Catholic. See ya…

Lothario, I’ve heard you spout this whole “condom usage” silliness repeatedly. And, honestly, I want to see what you mean by it. Hell you could even be the guy that gets it changed. I just want to see how you would integrate birth control into the Catholic views on sex. I can’t grasp 1) the redefintion of sex 2) its implication to “perverse” (Of which I’ll partake in a few more) acts.

And how you’d rework the church’s views on sex to allow active homosexuality.

[quote]jackzepplin wrote:
I, for one, am in a joyful mood about this most perfect decision.

You can let your morals decay, while I embrace the truth of God.

Don’t like it? Then don’t be a Catholic. See ya…[/quote]

How would my morals decay by having a woman priest?
How would my morals decay by issueing condoms to help prevent disease and unwanted pregnancies?
How would my morals decay by a little more progressive leadership in my church.

We aren’t talking about rewriting the bible here to suit our needs, we are talking about some changes every 1000 years or so to accomodate some of the changes that have concurrently affected/changed in our society.
So what are you saying, you are a better Catholic because you believe it should never adjust never move forward.
I hope you understand Latin.
I for one agree with Makkun and lothario here, a golden opportunity was passed on.

I have heard several people say that Benedict XVI was chosen because as an interim pope. Jean Paul was too beloved, and electing a very progressive, younger pope would’ve been too much of a shock. Benedict will tow the line for the five or ten years he has left, and then they’ll be poised to elect a more progressive pope.

Also, celibacy has not always been required of the priesthood.

A few thoughts on the new pope:

  1. I think its grossly premature for anyone, especially the media, to be blasting the man. He hasn’t even been pope for 48 hours yet! He hasn’t even made his first trip!

  2. By all accounts of those who have met him personally, he is a brilliant scholar and theologian, is extremely humble, and has a wonderful, even shy personality. Everyone wants to blast him for being “combative” and “rigid” in the past. Hello, he was combative because of his job… thats like saying a general running for president is “uncommitted to peace” because he fought in a war. People have no semblance of logic left! The man’s job was to lead what amounts to the modern version of the Holy Inquisition. His mission was to keep Catholic professors teaching at Catholic schools, Bishops, etc, in line with the Church. Church “law enforcement” so to speak. That job DEMANDS one be rigid and combative. That has no bearing on how he will be during his papacy - in fact I expect him to be humble, personable, loving, and gregarious.

  3. This whole modernization argument baffles me. I’ve got news people - gay marriage will NEVER be acceptable to any Christian church in its right mind (and yes, I realize the Episcopal Church is out of its mind). You see, there’s this book called the BIBLE that says its wrong. That doesn’t mean gay people aren’t welcome, it means PRACTICING homosexuality is a sin, and no Christian church will want to say its OK. Just like Christian churches say premarital sex is wrong. The fact something is popular doesn’t make it right and doesn’t mean a Church has to say its ok. As for abortion, I don’t know the details of where the church stands (I’m not Catholic) on things like medically necessary abortions, but in general, I think most Christians agree, even if it is LEGAL, abortion is something to be avoided if AT ALL possible.

So I don’t see the Church ever wiggling too much on that issue either. The one area of doctrine I find a bit baffling is birth control - especially condoms - but regardless of Church teaching this is to some extent in the conscience of the individual anyway. A priest isn’t going to break into your house and haul you away because you used a rubber when you did your wife the other night.

Religion is by its nature SET on certain things - thats what makes it religion. The Church is NOT going to change all its doctrine with the winds of the secular west. If people cannot deal with the fact that the Bible says homosexuality is wrong then they need to fess up - and ADMIT THEY DISAGREE WITH THE BIBLE. Not try to force the Catholic Church (or any church) to say “oh don’t worry its ok.” No one forces you to be Catholic, or even Christian of any variety. You are free to feel the bible is wrong. But don’t expect the Church to stamp your beliefs with its approval.

So, in conclusion, I think Benedict XVI will be a wonderful pope. He has all the qualities of a good leader, is extremely intelligent, and is a masterful theologian. All things I would think you would want in a pope. To all the people who think gay marriage is ok and abortion on demand is acceptable - well frankly, I don’t think any pope is going to make you happy. You are in the wrong religion because the “Constitution” of Christianity, that is, the bible, fundamentally disagrees with your take.

I’m always amazed at how much misunderstanding there is about the catholic church! Although I’m a protestant, theology and religious history is something that interests me(and I am probably going to be marrying a catholic, so I better learn!).

The primary thing that nobody has talked about here or in the media is that the church has really been forced into it’s current papal selection.

How?

Before Vatican II in the 60s came, of course, Vatican I. Here they laid down what was already informally accepted: papal infallibility. Now, this doesn’t mean all Catholics have to accept the pope’s position on everything, but that if the pope sets down a ruling and invokes the seal of infallibility, then they must accept it as doctrinal truth. This is obviously one of the things that bugs non-catholics.

It also creates a unique problem for the modern church. There’s in inherent danger in this thing, for what if a pope were to invoke the seal of infallibility and state something obviously untrue? It would destroy and undermine the legitimacy of the faith, so the election of a progressive pope at this time in history poses a great difficulty. Were the new pope to approve of birth control and abortion and put out on encyclical removing all burden of sin from these practices, how do catholics reconcile that with previous papal rulings?

I personally see much more room for progessivism in the area of celibacy and women in the priesthood. Obviously not in this papacy, but since women were involved in the early church, possibly as priests, and certainly earlier priests were permitted and even encouraged to marry, there is more room for these to change without threatening the legitimacy of the church. However, since Birth control and abortion have always been forbidden by the church, it’s going to be a much longer road before we see any budging on these positions from any pope.

Finally, I’m always bothered by those who look at a church and discredit it by showing how it disagrees with all their own views and sensibilities. Perhaps we’d be better off looking for a church that agrees with God’s views and sensibilities and then moving our own views in that direction. Just a thought…

Well, he is 78, they’re probably hoping he won’t last that long.

As for Catholic Dogma, it is the way it is because the more militant literalist Christians got in good with the Emperor in 312. They then proceeded to destroy the other various Christian sects (Gnosticism), leaving them with the power to decide what was canon and what was not.

The Catholic Church has changed its views over time. For instance, 800 years ago it was perfectly fine for the Pope to approve the slaughter of men women and children, including those seeking shelter within a church, because they were, or may have been, the wrong kind of Christian. The saying “Kill them all, God will know his own.” was said by an Abbot of the Catholic church during the decimation of a town in Southern France. It referred to the fact that the majority of the citizens were in fact Catholic, but there was no easy way to tell the Catholics from the heretics. So, kill them all. So much for the Prince of Peace, huh?

[quote]nephorm wrote:
I have heard several people say that Benedict XVI was chosen because as an interim pope. Jean Paul was too beloved, and electing a very progressive, younger pope would’ve been too much of a shock. Benedict will tow the line for the five or ten years he has left, and then they’ll be poised to elect a more progressive pope.[/quote]

This is my impression. The man is 78 years old! I don’t expect him to be around for the next 25 years.

Non Catholics often bring up infallibility. This is a strawman argument against the church.

The popes in the Church history have only twice spoken ex cathedra, i.e. making an infallible pronouncement. The first time was by Pope Pius IX when he declared the doctrine of Immaculate Conception, and the second time was by Pope Pius XII to declare the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin.