April 19, 2005

Habemus Papam

I'm not Catholic, heck, I'm not even a Christian as I understand the term, but the early Big Media reviews and the outright hostility and ill will generated by the Angry Left over the elevation of Cardinal Ratzinger to Pope Benedict XVI is stunning and profoundly depressing. What is wrong with these people? I seriously worry about the reeducation camps being just around the corner if the Angry Left ever assumes power. With apologies to Jerry Jeff Walker, it'll be, "Up against the wall red-state mother!"

As to Pope Benedict XVI, I wish him well. He has a difficult job that would tax any man, much less one who is already 78 years old. The most interesting comment I read about his selection today, though I cannot remember where it was, is that a European was selected because Europe is where the fiercest battles for Christianity will be fought in the next decade. Seems about right to me.

DOWNDATE: Listening to Sylvia Pujoli describe Pope Benedict XVI as divisive again this morning on Morning Edition, I began to wonder that had there been a Cardinal with a mean streak of anti-Americanism who favored the ordination of women, gay marriage, abortion on demand, euthanasia, stem cell research, the Kyoto Accords, and confiscatory tax rates; and further if that Cardinal had been elected Pope; would we be hearing that the new Pope might be a divisive figure for all those who suddenly gave up on the church as a hopelessly relativistic institution that fell for anything because they stood for nothing? Or is the infallibility of Big Media on politics less subject to challenge than the infallibility of the Pope on Roman Catholic dogma?

DOUBLE DOWNDATE: And with no apologies to Jacques Chirac, Andrew Sullivan and many others missed an opportunity to keep quiet.

Posted by Charles Austin at April 19, 2005 10:38 PM

The response from the "Angry Left" is expected, but it's also stunning when you actually see it.

Given the recent decision by the EU to explicitly remove any mention of Christianity in Europe's history, your closing observation seems about right to me, too.

And I think others are making this observation. In a discussion on "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS, Father Fessio, who studied under Cardinal Ratzinger, makes the following points:

You see one of the things which is important is his name; he took the name Benedict. St. Benedict was a saint of the 6th Century who, when the Roman Empire was invaded by barbarians, was declining, was corrupting from within.

Benedict left the city of Rome, went out into the countryside, Subiaco, and prayed. Others joined him, he founded a monastery, by 1200 there were 40,000 Benedictine monasteries throughout Europe.

The Benedictines, through prayer and worship and praise of God, through leaving a corrupting superpower, actually gave Europe its culture, created Christendom and I think that Ratzinger, just as Father just said, wants to go back to that root, that origin which made Europe great and gave it great art and great music and literature and history and philosophy and theology.

He wants to go back to that and re-evangelize Europe. Also very important: He didn't publish many books the last years because what he published was many collections of talks, collections of articles he'd written, but he did publish one book called "The Spirit of the Liturgy."

And that was his vision of what it member to worship God in a beautiful and profound and reverent way. And he believes the way to transform human society is to transform the heart, and that every heart is made for God, to worship God privately but also worship God publicly.

And so I believe that because Benedict founded monasteries whose work was the work of God, worship and prayer, that he is going to bring fruition to a great renewal of the liturgy, which the Second Vatican Council promised.

Read transcript of entire discussion here:

Posted by: Jon at 10:23 AM

Why is there surprise that the College of Cardinals, the majority of whom were picked by a conservative whose outlook was shaped by experiences in WWII, picked as Pope a conservative whose outlook was shaped by experiences in WWII?

Why is there suprise that, based on his doctrine, a Roman Catholic was picked as Pope instead of a Unitarian or liberal Presbyterian?

Posted by: Kevin Murphy at 12:40 PM

Here's an idea to help keep your sanity when listening to NPR.

Spiritual Depth Charge
1 oz. Benedictine, in shot glass
12 oz. Bavarian lager, in beer mug
Drop shot glass into beer mug. Drain mug.

Prepare some sauerkraut, drop some bratwursts on the grill, and make a party of it. ;^)


Posted by: Jon at 04:55 PM