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April 19, 2005

Da New Pope

Well ladies and gents, looks like we have a new Pope. German frontrunner Joseph Ratzinger was chosen today, taking the name Benedict XVI. So who is he? Well we've got this profile from the Washington Post, which says:

He wrote a letter of advice to U.S. bishops on denying communion to politicians who support abortion rights, which some observers viewed as a slam at Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry. He publicly cautioned Europe against admitting Turkey to the European Union and wrote a letter to bishops around the world justifying that stand on the grounds that the continent is essentially Christian in nature. In another letter to bishops worldwide, he decried a sort of feminism that makes women "adversaries" of men.
...
He is a lightning rod for church liberals who see the hierarchy as reactionary. Ratzinger was active in stamping out liberation theology, with its emphasis on grass-roots activism to fight poverty and its association with Marxist movements.

He once called homosexuality a tendency toward "intrinsic moral evil" and dismissed the uproar over priestly pedophilia in the United States as a "planned campaign" against the church.

The apparent rationale for choosing the 78-year old Ratzinger is that he can act as a short-lived (literally) transitional pope, consolidating John Paul's gains while not creating an radical upheavals of his own. That view's backed up by Erica Walter's TNR piece arguing for his ascendance on the grounds that he's humble. I found her piece unconvincing, but your mileage may vary. In any case, this isn't exactly the guy I'd like to see get the job, indeed, I fear he'll just continue the rightward politicization of the Vatican. But then, nobody asked me, and I'm not even a Catholic, so my thoughts on the matter don't much count.

Update: EJ Dionne has some thoughts, Andy Sullivan is markedly unhappy, The Corner is typing so fast that the magazine is going to be sidelined with a staff-wide case of carpal tunnel, Giblets doesn't much like his new Pope costume, Ed Kilgore thinks the "conservative" label is misplaced, and Sam Rosenfeld asks the operative question: Where's Gary Wills?

April 19, 2005 in Religion | Permalink

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» Pope Benedict XVI from hiphopmusic.com
So, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict the 16th. Advance word pegged him as the worst possible choice, so far as any hopes for the church becoming more progressive. I'm gonna go see if there's any good analysis up yet. Ezra Klein notes thes... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 19, 2005 2:00:57 PM

» Benedict XVI from The Q Speaks
There's a ton of commentary on the election of Pope Benedict XVI, so I'll just point you to Ezra Klein's post whose take more or less gels with mine. [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 19, 2005 4:00:01 PM

» Ratzinger, Liberation Theology, and Clerical Power from Freiheit und Wissen
...Ratzinger, to say the least, virulently opposed Liberation Theology.... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 19, 2005 5:07:07 PM

» Ratzinger, Liberation Theology, and Clerical Power from Freiheit und Wissen
...Ratzinger, to say the least, virulently opposed Liberation Theology.... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 19, 2005 5:08:46 PM

» Gay-Bashin’ for God from Shakespeare's Sister
Da New Pope (as Ezra would say) doesn’t like da faggots. As anyone who’s spent more than five seconds hanging around this joint knows, here at Shakespeare’s Sister, we likes da faggots, and so we don’t likes da new pope. [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 19, 2005 5:20:51 PM

Comments

Not surprised, but disappointed.

I'm not a catholic myself, but as they are one of the most important organizations providing aid to Africa, it is truly unfortunate that they're continuing on their reactionary (and anti-contraceptive) bent.

Posted by: battlepanda | Apr 19, 2005 1:56:48 PM

Ezra--when it comes to the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, even the thoughts of devout Roman Catholics who aren't Bishops or Cardinals don't count for much (unless you're a member of Opus Dei). So don't feel too left out...you've got lots of company.

Posted by: DHinMI | Apr 19, 2005 2:00:32 PM

I'm conflicted. As a progressive, part of me wants to see the Catholic church die and this may hasten its death, at least in Europe and America. However, a part of me was hoping for a liberal Pope that would bring the church into the 19th century. Although the world may be better in the long run, now that it has happened I am annoyed to see a conservative win. Maybe I am just sick of that phrase "a conservative win".

Posted by: TJon | Apr 19, 2005 2:15:17 PM

Ezra Klein, you're not Catholic? Shocking, indeed...

Posted by: Jason | Apr 19, 2005 2:19:19 PM

I know. Consider your world turned upside down.

Posted by: Ezra | Apr 19, 2005 2:20:32 PM

Josh Marshall threw in some brief thoughts, adding another contributor to the Pope-blogging-Jew contingent.

Posted by: Haggai | Apr 19, 2005 2:27:36 PM

battlepanda: while it's true the hierarchy condems conodm use to prevent HIV transmission, the priests, nuns and lay people actually on the ground in Africa are a little more pragmatic about it.

Posted by: Jeff | Apr 19, 2005 2:28:31 PM

I'm simply amazed that anyone expected a progressive papacy to emerge at this point in time. The church is decades away from real change, it's the ultimate boys club, grounded in centuries of tradition. Giants take slow steps.

Ratzinger, unfortunately, is par for the course. And, coincidentally, I think Rat-zinger is a rejected hostess product name.

Posted by: Left Behind Child | Apr 19, 2005 3:02:35 PM

I'm looking forward to the debut of the new Pope's panzermobile!

Maybe Bush will give him a white-painted Abrams M1-A1 as an inauguration present. And Michael Dukakis can present Benedict with his left-over goggles and helmet as accessories.

[Cue video of Benedict in tank (ala Tienamen Square) rolling over brave gay protestor who is 'intrinsicly disordered'.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Apr 19, 2005 3:42:35 PM

Garry Wills is on strike over the blogosphere's incorrigible inability to spell his first name right.

Posted by: Patrick Nielsen Hayden | Apr 20, 2005 8:07:47 AM

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 15, 2007 7:41:22 AM

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