Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI

The College of Cardinals has elected Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI and in doing so they extended the digit of contempt towards Catholic Progressives. His outing as a member of the Hitler Youth (thus showing that even the Vatican isn't immune from Godwin's Law) has thus received short shrift as a obnoxiously blatant attempt to kneecap the leading Papabile going into the Conclave. The traditional and more subtle method of leaking the obscure speeches and writings by the candidate to portray him in a poor light could not be used against a Cardinal who was already known as "The Enforcer", "God's Rottweiler" and "The Panzer Cardinal".

It hasn't taken long for the wailing and gnashing of teeth to emerge about how the Pope will be a dogmatic divider who will cause people to leave the Church in droves. I might have more sympathy for this argument if it weren't for Pope John Paul, who was just as dogmatic, drawing the largest ever crowds for his funeral.

However I do not believe that Pope Benedict will be regard his duty as holding the course set by John Paul II. For all his vocal condemnations of deviations from the Vatican line, hardly anything has been heard about matters in which he might have disagreed with John Paul II. In my experience, such silence is evidence that a person knows when to keep his mouth shut rather than evidence of Great Minds thinking Alike. A good example is the modernity controversy around the beginning of last century. Pope Pius X's reign was marked by a great purge of those he suspected of having Modernist's Beliefs. His eventual successor thought Pius was taking matters too far but during Pius's reign, he refrained from criticism and so avoided dismissal or worse. When the successor was elected Pope, he tempered the excesses of the anti-modernity crusade. The name of this successor? Pope Benedict XV.