From around the 'sphere:
Andrew Sullivan is very, very unhappy. Just one excerpt:
And so the Catholic church accelerates its turn toward authoritarianism, hostility to modernity, assertion of papal supremacy and quashing of internal debate and dissent. We are back to the nineteenth century. Maybe this is a necessary moment. Maybe pressing this movement to its logical conclusion will clarify things. But those of us who are struggling against what our Church is becoming, and the repressive priorities it is embracing, can only contemplate a form of despair. The Grand Inquisitor, who has essentially run the Church for the last few years, is now the public face. John Paul II will soon be seen as a liberal. The hard right has now cemented its complete control of the Catholic church. And so ... to prayer. What else do we now have?
The Moderate Voice gives us some background and also appears nervous about the status of dissent in Benedict's reign.
The Political Animal excerpts a portion of the Washington Post's profile, emphasizing his opposition to abortion and "liberation theology."
Professor Bainbridge thinks the coverage is biased.
E.J. Dionne called the pick in advance, so his column came out this morning.
Erica Walter gave the extended defense of Ratzinger a few days back.
I must say, I'm at least somewhat surprised by the profoundly negative reaction by American liberals (and in Sullivan's case, non-liberals too). I, for one, am willing to give Ratzinger a chance. I think it is telling that the Vatican has elected two straight bona fide intellectuals now, which to me is always a good thing. One of my friends asked me why I was so excited about Ratzinger, who after all, is "pretty conservative." I said that I was never all that hopeful for Pope Kerry I, and as long as we had a thoughtful, sensitive, and dedicated Pope, I'd be happy. I won't shy from being critical of the new Pope. But I won't rush to judgment either. He has some large shoes to fill, but he may very well be up to it.