T Nation

Pope Benedict XVI

i think nephorm makes a very good point. for myself and anyone else born in the late 70s- early 80s, john paul was THE pope. he was the face of the catholic church. at least for me personally, it would be a shock to have a younger, progressive pope. it’s still strange to see a new pope period. from what i’ve read, it seems like benedict has all the tools necessary to be an excellent pope. granted, he will not be the well-travelled pope of the people that john paul was, but writing him off as bad choice as we speak is absurd. he was a close confidant of john paul. this is as close as we get to continuity.

[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]

A condescending attitude by a Catholic? I’m in shock!

As for the interim pope argument, no one can know for sure how much that entered the Cardinals’ minds, but personally I think they chose him more based on his formidable qualifications (his resume so to speak) and his personality. While his papacy will certainly be shorter than John Paul II’s, he seems to be in very good health (he looks about 10 years younger than he is to me), so it seems to me he could easily have a papacy lasting 10, even 12 years. While 10-12 isn’t an ultra-long papacy, it is at least average, so I’m not sure we can say for certain Benedict’s will be a “transitional” papacy.

Further, I do not expect this will be a pope who will sit in the Vatican. I expect he will travel much like JP2, evangelize, publish, continue dialog with other faiths, and otherwise have an active papacy. Granted overriding policy will likely continue on the path started by JP2, but everything I have heard about the man suggests that Benedict will USE the power of his office - he will not be a placeholder pope. I suspect he will do an excellent job. Perhaps not as flashy as JP2 could be, but a worthy successor nonetheless.

Finally, let me say I was not trying to talk down to anyone in my previous post - rather, I was merely pointing out that it is not the Church’s job to ratify everyone’s personal views.

As pointed out earlier, in the other thread - no one expects the church to radically change to embrace homosexuality, abortion and free love. No one, on the other hand can credibly proclaim that scripture cannot be interpreted in different ways (that’s why there’s such a thing called “theology”), and that the organisation has an (albeit) limited choice in how it conducts its affairs. Christianity is very plural and divided because of the possibility to interpret its basic texts. And in my view that is actually a good thing.

What the moderate critics - and quite a few people within the church - bemoan, is how under JP2, the range of interpretation on many moral issues has almost always been on the conservative side. If we were talking about an isolated smaller sect, that would not make much of a difference. But the catholic church is a mighty and rich organisation that has a lot of influence beyond the confines of its constituency. As it interferes with measures of health education and disease prevention, as shown in the other thread, it deservedly becomes the target of criticism of non-catholics and non-christians. And the pope has to answer these concerns. Voting for Ratzinger, who is undoubtedly brilliant and able, raises valid questions about church policy and views especially from his (mostly catholic and German) critics, as he has a track record of being a hardliner.

Again - no one would have expected the new pope to be a heart-bleeding liberal, but someone less hardline would have been desirable. But, even though I am not happy with him, let’s give him a chance. Perhaps he too, will change from Saulus to Paulus… :wink:

One thing I have to point out in his defense - if Ratzinger is 78, he was born in 1927. That would have made him 12 in 1939, when it was made mandatory to join the Hitlerjugend, not exactly an age when you can understand or rebel against an oppressive regime. As much as I am not happy with him as pope, trying to paint him as a nazi (have a look at the UK press) is unfair. Having grown up in a dictatorship that mobilised its children from an early age for (para)military service is not his fault.

Makkun

[quote]Sniper99 wrote:
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.

[/quote]

if anybody can give me even one logical reason that withstands rational debate why homosexuality is wrong, i will hand over all my possessions and future earnings to the catholic church immediately.

T-Chick:

That is an entirely separate debate, one that has been beaten to death, and one I frankly don’t want to get into for the millionth time. Even if there is no “rational” reason that homosexuality is wrong (and I do not concede this point, I’m just going here for the sake of argument), the fact is the BIBLE still indicates it is. Insofar as Christianity (and thus Catholocism) are based on the bible, you can’t expect them to stand up and say “sure, you can be a Catholic AND practice gay sex AND marry someone of the same sex too, its all OK by us!” Now, you are welcome to disagree with the Bible all you want - but you can’t “expect” the Catholic church, or any other Christian church to agree with you.

Just like someone may hate guns and think they should be banned. Yet, that belief doesn’t mean they can expect a judge to say you can’t own a gun. The Constitution prevents that. Just like a judge interprets the Constituion, a pope and religious people in general interpret the bible. And just like there are some things in the Constitution that are abundantly clear, there are some things in the bible that are abundantly clear. Things you can’t “interpret around” in good conscience. Homosexuality is one of those things. You can’t believe the bible is 100% correct and at the same time believe active practice of homosexuality is just fine. So, maybe you disagree with the Bible. But you can’t expect the Catholic church to join you in that disagreement.

[quote]Sniper99 wrote:
T-Chick:

That is an entirely separate debate, one that has been beaten to death, and one I frankly don’t want to get into for the millionth time. Even if there is no “rational” reason that homosexuality is wrong (and I do not concede this point, I’m just going here for the sake of argument), the fact is the BIBLE still indicates it is. Insofar as Christianity (and thus Catholocism) are based on the bible, you can’t expect them to stand up and say “sure, you can be a Catholic AND practice gay sex AND marry someone of the same sex too, its all OK by us!” Now, you are welcome to disagree with the Bible all you want - but you can’t “expect” the Catholic church, or any other Christian church to agree with you.

Just like someone may hate guns and think they should be banned. Yet, that belief doesn’t mean they can expect a judge to say you can’t own a gun. The Constitution prevents that. Just like a judge interprets the Constituion, a pope and religious people in general interpret the bible. And just like there are some things in the Constitution that are abundantly clear, there are some things in the bible that are abundantly clear. Things you can’t “interpret around” in good conscience. Homosexuality is one of those things. You can’t believe the bible is 100% correct and at the same time believe active practice of homosexuality is just fine. So, maybe you disagree with the Bible. But you can’t expect the Catholic church to join you in that disagreement.[/quote]

The bible also teaches love and acceptance. It tells us not to judge others. So if your religious convictions tell you homosexuality is wrong, fine. Don’t be gay (in terms of the actions that define it, not the emotions, which appear to be beyond human control). However, it does not give you the right to persecute homosexuals, or otherwise discriminate against them. I think a lot of christians would do well to read the bible every now and then.

Love your neighbour, leave the judging up to God.

I am sinning by having premarital safe sex. Ouch for me. Likewise, circumstances where abortion is necessary (I obviously count them few) make my stomach churn with uncertainty. Well, that’s what my church says.

I like celibate priests.

I don’t like women or gay priests.

I don’t like gay anything. I’m tolerant, and I will vote for gay marriage to avoid looking like George Wallace, but I won’t be smiling when I do it.

Ratzinger was no Nazi and damn smart, and an understudy of JP2.

I am happy to have a conservative pope selection as a conservative pope wouldn’t throw out the baby (first item) with the bathwater (other items).

Benedict XVI is a fine selection in whom I have the utmost confidence.

If you are Catholic and don’t agree, have faith. If you aren’t Catholic, get a life.

[quote]T-chick wrote:
Sniper99 wrote:
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.

if anybody can give me even one logical reason that withstands rational debate why homosexuality is wrong, i will hand over all my possessions and future earnings to the catholic church immediately.[/quot

christianitys stance has nothing to do with logic or science. The bible forbids homosexuality period and for christians thats the ultimate authority. So if it said chicken was forbiden in the new testament, chicken would be out whether or not you could find a reasonable argument to support chicken eating. Wait a minute I am an athiest…christians am I understanding you correctly? your stance on homosexuality is based on the bible correct?

First off, homosexuality is only mentioned in the old testament. the most noticable mention of homosexuality is in leviticus, and to that it only gives a few lines.
leviticus 18:22
“It is disgusting for a man to have sex with another man”
that’s it, that is all that is written
never once does jesus ever mention homosexuality directly in the new testament. find it, go ahead, find one direct quote from jesus, you can’t. you can take a bunch of words and try to interpret them to mean so, but he doesn’t say it once.

If you want to know why this is even mentioned in the bible, look to leviticus 18:24
“Don’t make yourself unclean by any of these disgusting practices of those nations that I am forcing out of the land for you”

Some of the tribes of isreal’s major enemies at the time practiced homosexuality as part of their culture. The greeks and romans thought that the only way a man could achieve true sexual enlightenment was with another man, for only men were on the same intellectual and spiritual level as other men. To not do so would have been a good way for the isrealites to seperate themselves from those other cultures, as is clearly stated above. Same as with circumcision, a good way to seperate one’s culture from others.
Most men who hate or lable homosexuals as amoral sinners do so for fear and insecurity of their own sexuality. Instead of constructively dealing with those desires and feelings, even if the man predominantly identifies himself as heterosexual, these individuals instead lash out with hate and anger which is really nothing more than fear. They then quote one obscure passage from a part of the bible to which their faith puts very little value in anyway, the jewish laws of leviticus.

read leviticus one day, from cover to cover, like I did.

It is funnier than any episode of seinfeld. some pretty goofy stuff in there!

deep sigh of resignation
sorry, i did hijack the thread somewhat going off on a tangent about homosexuality. Just pisses me off that people wrap this impregnable cloak of ignorance around themselves and call it ‘faith’.

Aleksandr:

You are absolutely correct. I have no problems with gay people as people. None at all. I simply believe the active practice of homosexuality is sinful. Just like I believe premarital sex is sinful. Some of my closest friends have had and still engage in premarital sex. It doesn’t make me less accepting of them, I don’t love them any less - I simply feel they are making wrong and sinful decisions in that department.

One area people go wrong is to make active homosexuality seem like the ultimate sin - it isn’t. It is no worse and no better than any other sin - including premarital sex. Just like premarital sex it is a sin one can get past.

So, gay people should be welcomed with open arms into the Church. That does NOT mean the Church thinks active practice of homosexuality is ok. The Christian view is that the people are to be loved, but are to be helped past the sin. Hate the sin, not the sinner, as the saying goes. Accepting gay marriage has nothing to do with loving homosexuals AS PEOPLE. It has everything to do with making homosexuality itself ok. It is not about individual gay people - it is all about making being gay “mainstream” and “ok” and “acceptable.” I love a homosexual person as much as any other. But I hate homosexuality just as I hate any other sin.

[quote]T-chick wrote:
deep sigh of resignation
sorry, i did hijack the thread somewhat going off on a tangent about homosexuality. Just pisses me off that people wrap this impregnable cloak of ignorance around themselves and call it ‘faith’.[/quote]

T-chick, no offense, but if you don’t believe how can you call it ignorant? I think it is VERY presumptuous of you to dismiss people of faith as ignorant - we aren’t. Also note that being against homosexuality has nothing to do with being against homosexuals as people - see my post in response to Aleksander on that point.

There is a saying - to a believer, no proof is necessary; to an unbeliever, no amount of proof is enough. That is the case here. If you don’t believe the Christian faith then obviously you are going to dismiss it as irrational. But don’t presume to know everyone who believes it is ignorant.

First off, it is amazing the disrespect shown to religion anymore(particularly the Catholic religion). It is as if many in humankind have already made sense of the universe and have all the answers…I will gladly come and learn from you if this is true. However, I doubt that some smartass atheist has much to offer me in terms of making sense of life.

As far as all of these issues swirling around Ratzinger, here are a few thoughts:

1.Using Hitler Youth past againts him is a disgraceful, evil cheap shot by some especially vile people. I see it this way…Ratzinger was abused by the Nazi’s
conscripting him into service(he later deserted by the way). Certainly the bleeding hearts are against the abuse of juveniles, are they not?

2.It comes up from time to time that the last pope is responsible for the scourge of AIDS in Africa and elsewhere. This line of crap will surely be laid at Pope Benedict’s feet as well. There is no logic in this argument and any rational person can plainly see this. First of all, no one can dispute that there has been a massive effort to provide protection(ie condoms) from std’s to the people of Africa. If anyone chooses not to use them, how can you blame the church? Because the church preaches abstinence you say? Well, that strategy in and of itself certainly works does it not?(Please argue that point) Maybe it is very hard to follow and it tends to deny human nature, but you can’t say that the church has spread false information. In addition, it almost reeks of bigotry to say that so large a swath of the population in Africa can’t make rational decisions like “if I have sex I am taking a risk. If I have sex with many, many partners, I am taking a greater risk and if I do it without protection, I am taking a supreme risk.”

3.The church does not have to bend to your will, whatever that may be. It is an organization headed by a supreme figure who guides its doctrine. It is not a democracy. If you don’t like the way the church is headed, you can leave and find something that fits your tastes. I know that the Church represents great political power because of its wealth, size and the influence of its members. I also know that it is a target of what we have lovingly come to know as global liberalism. The election of Cardinal Ratzinger to the papacy clearly shows the direction the church intends to head, and that is all there is to it. Find another target because this one just got harder. I personally would like to see a loosening of certain church rules, and I think this may cost the church in the US in the long run,
but so be it. Part of me is very happy just to see how angry this makes some
of the radicals.

4.Lastly, the issue of homosexuality,
as much of the opposition to the church is driven by this world-wide lobby and its supporters. Church doctrine does not have to accept homosexuality. Period. Sniper laid it out well. The
Bible makes passing reference to this,
but centuries of theological study and writings have brought the Church to its solid stance. From my perspective, I have absolutely no problem with someone living their life any way they choose as long as there is informed consent among the parties. Now, we can argue about the whole marriage topic or the child-rearing topic, but that is not needed at this point. Muslims should not eat pork. That is a religious tradition. Catholics should not engage in homosexual activity(or any sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage for that matter.) I have never heard a Catholic leader say anyone who deviates from their teaching should be harmed in any way, so what is the problem? If you dont agree with the Church and its members, ignore them and live your life.

If disenchanted Catholics slamming this Ratzinger guy are looking for a ‘modernized,’ or ‘progressive’ Christian faith, just become Episcopalians. We have gay unions, divorce, women priests, approve contraception, and don’t give a rat’s ass about abortion. Fact is, the only thing we stand for is trying really hard not to piss off anyone, anywhere, anytime. We may not claim immutable truth like the boys from Rome, but at least, if we offend your politically correct sensibilities, we’ll change our interpretation of our religion for you. How’s that for embracing diversity?

MicroSlash - “Embracing diversity ever since switching to Gibson guitars in 1978…”

[quote]Garrett W. wrote:
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.[/quote]

Rock on, Garrett. Any pope who wanted to could declare that the fact that condoms prevent disease overrides the fact that they MIGHT be used for premarital sex. The onus is still on the sinner to follow the Catholic Way.

As to sex only for procreation, I could imagine that a progressive pope could also define sex as an act which is approved by God due to its very nature of bringing two married people closer together, and reaffirming their love for one another and the bond which they made in the eyes of God. If they want to use a condom then to be responsible and prevent conceiving a child that they may not have the means to feed or clothe or properly take care of, then it’s okay. That’s called coming out of the Dark Ages, my friend. Don’t breed 'em if you can’t feed 'em. This is the modern world. We have ways of preventing more and more impoverished children if the folks are interested.

This is even easier. As another poster pointed out, the bible is filled with Jesus preaching love and acceptance. Nowhere does Jesus say “cast out those who are homos”. So the hard-line policy of “suck the dick, lose the kingdom” (apologies to Sam Kinison) is really invalid if we are going to take the New Testament into account.

I have been on so many religious threads around here, and so many times the religious folks will come face to face with some point that the Old Testament is weird in some fashion, and that’s when they always say “the NT supercedes and replaces the OT”. Well… put your money where your mouth is. Stop castigating the fruitcakes. It’s what Jesus wants you to do. Let’s get some positive stuff going on in here.

[quote]JD430 wrote:
First off, it is amazing the disrespect shown to religion anymore(particularly the Catholic religion). It is as if many in humankind have already made sense of the universe and have all the answers…I will gladly come and learn from you if this is true. However, I doubt that some smartass atheist has much to offer me in terms of making sense of life.[/quote]

Not that you have an open enough mind to grasp any of this, but this smart-ass atheist has something for you:

  1. Make your own sense of life. Consider that stuff just happens, and that miracles aren’t real in the sense that some supernatural force is responsible for them. Practice saying “I don’t know” for a while.

  2. The tough one… Consider for a moment that there is a possibility that when you die, you die. Consider that there just might not be an afterlife.

The rest is up to you. Scary, huh?

[quote]As far as all of these issues swirling around Ratzinger, here are a few thoughts:

1.Using Hitler Youth past againts him is a disgraceful, evil cheap shot by some especially vile people. I see it this way…Ratzinger was abused by the Nazi’s
conscripting him into service(he later deserted by the way). Certainly the bleeding hearts are against the abuse of juveniles, are they not?[/quote]
Totally agree.

Rather than repeat a bunch of stuff, I’d like to just direct you to the “Kick 'em while they’re down” thread where folks like makkun and myself have answered each one of these points.

[quote]3.The church does not have to bend to your will, whatever that may be. It is an organization headed by a supreme figure who guides its doctrine. It is not a democracy. If you don’t like the way the church is headed, you can leave and find something that fits your tastes. I know that the Church represents great political power because of its wealth, size and the influence of its members. I also know that it is a target of what we have lovingly come to know as global liberalism. The election of Cardinal Ratzinger to the papacy clearly shows the direction the church intends to head, and that is all there is to it. Find another target because this one just got harder. I personally would like to see a loosening of certain church rules, and I think this may cost the church in the US in the long run,
but so be it. Part of me is very happy just to see how angry this makes some
of the radicals.[/quote]
Okay, hearing you there. But make up your mind first. Does it not bend to your will, or do you personally like to see a loosening of certain church rules? The fact that a few of us see how a different Pope choice could have resulted in some positive changes and some positive reactions doesn’t mean that we are attacking you or your religion. We are just entertaining the “what ifs” here.

[quote]4.Lastly, the issue of homosexuality,
as much of the opposition to the church is driven by this world-wide lobby and its supporters. Church doctrine does not have to accept homosexuality. Period. Sniper laid it out well. The
Bible makes passing reference to this,
but centuries of theological study and writings have brought the Church to its solid stance. From my perspective, I have absolutely no problem with someone living their life any way they choose as long as there is informed consent among the parties. Now, we can argue about the whole marriage topic or the child-rearing topic, but that is not needed at this point. Muslims should not eat pork. That is a religious tradition. Catholics should not engage in homosexual activity(or any sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage for that matter.) I have never heard a Catholic leader say anyone who deviates from their teaching should be harmed in any way, so what is the problem? If you dont agree with the Church and its members, ignore them and live your life.
[/quote]
Good stuff there too. But once again, we are just entertaining the what ifs. IF the Catholics changed their stance on this, THEN there would be a positive change in the world. If y’all want to cling to the dogma instead of opening your eyes, then I can’t help but see you guys as the groundhog that sees his shadow and runs back into his hidey-hole. Well, looks like Winter is going to be here a little longer.

[quote]MikeShank wrote:
First off, homosexuality is only mentioned in the old testament. [/quote]

Sorry Mike, that’s inaccurate.

Try Romans chapter 1:26-27 (NASB)
" 26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,

27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error." – I think that’s pretty clear, but if you actually need the word…try these:

1 Corinthians 6:9 "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, "

1 Timothy 1:9 “realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers
10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,”

You may make whatever call you like on homosexuality (for which I may disagree), but saying that the only mention of it is in the OT is certainly inaccurate.

Just a thought,
Matthew

I’m not Catholic (or Christian for that matter), but I don’t get people thinking there should be a “progressive” pope.

What’s he to say? “Forget all that shit we’ve been spewing for 2000 years, turns out that it wasn’t true.” The Catholics I’ve talked to (all Hispanics) since the new guy was picked are thrilled he is a hardass. Makes sense to me. What kind of Catholic would want a Pope who says their beliefs are bullshit?

[quote]doogie wrote:
I’m not Catholic (or Christian for that matter), but I don’t get people thinking there should be a “progressive” pope.

What’s he to say? “Forget all that shit we’ve been spewing for 2000 years, turns out that it wasn’t true.” The Catholics I’ve talked to (all Hispanics) since the new guy was picked are thrilled he is a hardass. Makes sense to me. What kind of Catholic would want a Pope who says their beliefs are bullshit?[/quote]

Dude, the church has changed many times without throwing everything away. It’s time for it to happen again.

Case in point: the Earth is round. Think about it.