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Benedict XVI

Apologies to Lauren for jumping in, but this is very important. The conclave has chosen Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to be the next pope. He is going to call himself Pope Benedict XVI.

I have nothing to say. A woman who was watching with me has gone out of her mind, and I’m about to.
Lauren edited to add:
The implications of the name are very important, and Ratzinger has invoked the name of a series of moderate Popes, though he himself is considered to be a fundamentalist. As a Catholic fundamentalist, one of his efforts will probably be an attempt at further codifying Catholicism in Africa and China as he has repeatedly called for, areas of large Catholic growth that have morphed Catholicism into their own pidgin religions. Both regions have unusually high incidences of sexually-spread diseases, and a stricter Catholicism in these areas will likely have dire consequences for educational and medical efforts.

The choice of name is probably in reaction to the war in the Middle East, as the previous Benedict outlined a five point peace plan in reaction to WWII. This is the only reason I can think of that Ratzinger would choose the name Benedict considering his stance on myriad world issues.

The Wikipedia is already updated with info on Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, including his involvement with the Hitler Youth. From WaPo’s profile, “Guardian of Orthodoxy“:

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…

…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.

And aren’t the Italians stoked about today’s papal progress? You would have thought Mick Jagger walked onto that balcony. Norbizness has a prurient theory about their excitement.

8 thoughts on Benedict XVI

  1. Forgive me for my ignorance of the Catholic circle, but your comment sounds like you’re unhappy… What is wrong with this guy?

  2. You call that a theory? I thought I was just makin’ fun of his penis-thumb.

    Lauren: a doctrinal hardliner, although not as nuts as Arinze; would make none of the reforms favored most by most American Catholics (women priests, allowing priests to marry, relaxation on birth control and stem cell restrictions).

  3. Thanks for the update, Lauren. I couldn’t take it any farther, I was having trouble focusing on anything when I wrote the post.

    I think you’re onto something there, norbizness. Follow up and see what you can find out. 😉

  4. I don’t think the Pope is largely relevant to most US Catholics today, let alone any other religion in the US. I could be wrong, and know that I could face some criticism on that.

    But I read (heard?) somewhere that the guy they’ve picked has spent the last something years heading up the branch of the church that used to be responsible for what turned into the Inquisition. So perhaps that can explain the pope-itations and the fear of a conservative traditionalist in a position like this.

    But I also heard that they wanted to pick someone younger, so that there wouldn’t be so much of a long time between popes as last time. I don’t think that happened here.

    If you believe Barbara Walker (Women’s Book of Myths & Secrets) the first pope was really Mary, anyway. Screw all the patriarchs. 🙂 It’s a fair exchange since they always screw us… (ba dump bump)….

  5. Ratzinger was born in Germany in 1927 and grew up under the Nazis. Membership in Hitler Youth was mandatory, and he was a member, but he skipped meetings. He never joined the party. He was drafted into an anti-aircraft gun unit, but deserted without ever firing a shot.

    He’s supposed to be brilliant, and very hard-line (though quiet and personable). He led the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which sets the Church’s orthodox position on doctrine. That made him, in effect, the head of the inquisition and the Pope’s chief enforcer. He was JP II’s right hand man, and helped select many of the cardinals who voted for him.

    Ratzinger helped stamp out liberation theology in the developing world. He is the leading proponent of curtailing any local autonomy and keeping tight reins. He sees the US molestation scandals as an orchestrated campaign against the Church, and he is so anti-gay that he thinks hate-crime laws encourage people to commit sodomy.

    The characterization I’ve read of him that makes the most sense to me is that, growing up with secular totalitarianism, he believes that theocratic totalitarianism is the best antidote to it.

    They are picking him, in part, because he’s 78, so he won’t be around for twenty years (they hope).

  6. Kim, it is not US Catholics that I worry for, but third world Catholics, especially those in Africa. Ratzinger is against any form of contraception, and will never, ever budge from that position, much like his predecessor. He is also incredibly anti-women. Neither of those stances will have much of an effect here in the US, where the Catholic laity are more or less able to make their own decisions, regardless of what the Vatican says, and because we don’t rely heavily on Catholic charities. However, there is a much greater dependence in the third world on charity, and the Catholic Church is one of the largest charity organizations out there. If they are denying condoms to Africans, there are precious few other places to turn.

  7. This guy is scary. On top of the anti-gay, child molestation, Nazi stuff he has also labeled feminists as being antagonistic to men.

    Maybe it’s just me being a hardline, anti-racist, black, gay, feminist but I don’t accept the “I saw Jews led to death, but I didn’t participate” line. I can say (not being placed in immediate danger) that I’d die first. My mom and I had had a huge Saul/Paul Judeo-Christian discussion (read argument) last night. I’m not a Catholic, but I do recognize how much power the church has, especially with the current administration.

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