Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI

The former Joseph Ratzinger of Germany has been elected Pope Benedict XVI. He who enters the conclave as Pope, leaves as...Pope, apparently.

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.


Jack said...

A short FYI: I was the one who put up the post about the future of dissent on The Moderate Voice. I act as a guest-poster for Joe Gandelman, and since I'm located in Europe and can occasionally post breaking news when Joe is unavailable, I do so when the occasion merits.

I cannot speak to whether Joe himself is concerned regarding the future of dissent within the Roman Catholic Church. I merely found the prescient NPR Morning Edition audio story interesting.

N.S.T said...

Does Andrew Sullivan ever write anything you wouldn't expect him to anymore? Does E.J.? You're right, Schraub, to give the guy a chance(though the Nazism stuff isn't exactly heart-warming). And I think that no one else should judge without cause at this point.

Anonymous said...

I'm somewhat struck by the political reaction toward the conclave. I almost wonder if the growing politicization surrounding the Papacy came from John Paul's stunning, though not explicit, political achievements. And while dramatic in helping the lives of thousands, it seems to me such actions have left the papacy open to the same criticism expected of political leaders. I'm really disappointed by it all and its the only way I can make sense of such disrespectful criticism of a church and its leader. Admittedly, I say this as a conservative Catholic, upon the selection of a conservative pope, but I would be just as willing to accept whatever faithful man the Cardinals elected. What other religions would face such trite and trivial criticisms? Contrary to some bloggers and media, your treatment on the matter has been tactful David, as it is on all issues. Thats why I keep reading your blog -of course I wouldnt mind if you swung right a little more often!

-Joe Sheehan