April 19, 2005

Benedict XVI

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at April 19, 2005 10:58 AM

So the cardinals chose the ultraconservative Ratzinger. I don't know how this will play in the developing world, but I suspect it will alienate the more moderate Catholics in Europe and the United States. While a decline in an institution that I regard with something less than admiration might ordinarily be something to celebrate, I fear the consequences of continued hardline policies on birth control, etc. The Church's committment to worldwide poverty and disease will doubtless endure a while longer. In the US, we will continue to suffer through clergy and punditry who declare that all Catholic Democrats (but strangely not pro-choice Catholic Republicans) are "bad Catholics".

As cardinal, Ratzinger was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I suggest that his first act as pope be to reinstate the former name of this branch of the church. Certainly nobody would expect it!

UPDATE: Giblets proclaims victory.


Hi Travis,

as may or may not be known, TAFKARS (The Artist formerly known as Ratzinger-Sepp*) grew up not far from where I live. In fact, the local tabloids celebrated the event similar to a soccer victory ("We are pope!).

I do not expect the ideology of the catholic church to change much, however, it will (outside Bavaria / Germany) be received differently, as TAFKARS does NOT have the potential to be a pop-star as JPII did. So this will increase tensions inside the catholic community and reduce the support for the pope among catholic activists.So this could backfire to the ultra-conservatives.

TAFKARS played a problematic role in the discussion on consultations for pregnant women in Germany. Basically, if some other criteria are fulfilled, women need to get professional consultation [confirmed by a certificated from a registered consultation office] for abortion to be non-punishable (although still formally illegal). The German Bishop's found a reasonable compromise for the church to get involved, however, Ratzinger pushed the Pope to block even that. Now the church cannot reach pregnant women this way, which is actually making it more difficult to convince them of their position. Ideology vs. pragmatism.

fw - whose baby will be baptized as a catholic by the end of June

* in Bavarian accent, Joseph gets abbreviated Sepp and first names are put BEHIND last names

Posted by: Frank Wilhelm | April 20, 2005 11:18 PM

Thanks for the Bavarian perspective, Frank! It sounds like Benedict is ideologically fairly close to JPII, but is worse at public relations and maybe less willing to compromise.

I've seen that a number of American conservatives are hoping he'll push the church to the right, although they may be disappointed to find that American conservatism differs in some major respects from European Catholic traditionalism...

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | April 21, 2005 8:26 AM
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