German Cardinal Becomes Pope Benedict XVI

Yahoo! News - German Cardinal Becomes Pope Benedict XVI

Some quick thoughts:

I'm glad and a little surprised that the new Pope is not an Italian. This being said, I'm not that concerned about the ethnicity of the Pope. Most countries would like to see one of their own elected. However, the reasoning is usually nostalgiac, and not concerning much thought to the purpose of the office. For example, many wished for an African or South American Pope. Whie I am certainly not opposed to either of these, my opinion is that the ethnicity of the pope should be toward the bottom of the list of "qualities" for choosing someone to lead the church. Of course, an African or South American Pope could energize the population of those continents, and grow the church. At the same time, "growth" is not necessarily what the church needs.

I know a little bit about Cardinal Ratzinger from reading Pope John Paul II's biography. The key word here is "little." Of course, I've heard the popular assessment of him as an orthodox right winger. This is probably a simplification. "Right" and "left" have a different (and I would argue illigitimate) meaning in the Church than they do in popular politics. Pope Benedict may be "conservative" in the sense that he does not want to change church doctrine. This does not equate to being a conservative politically, and certainly not to being politically conservative as defined by the United States political dialogue.

It is somewhat interesting that Cardinal Ratzinger is a German. I don't know much about his background, but I find it interesting/ironic that Pope John Paul II was Polish, and now we have a German. Go Eastern Europe! I'm sure I'll learn more about his background as time goes on.

I am somewhat amused by Catholics that describe themselves as "dismayed" and "disappointed" that Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope. I do not pretend to agree with or understand everything the church teaches or proposes (as JPII said, "the Church should propose. It should not impose.) However, I do not want the Church to change to fit my viewpoint. To me, the Church acts like a lighthouse, pointing out The Way, and helping me to avoid danger. In life, especially in spiritual and religious life, there needs to be constants. I like the fact that the Church rarely changes. If its teachings dismayed me, there are plenty of other religions to choose from. I choose to be a Catholic because I think it helps me to see the Truth more clearly than any other religion. I gladly put the future of the Catholic Church into the hands of the Cardinals as opposed to having a popular election by the world's "faithful." Catholicism shouldn't be about popularity, it should be about Truth.

Pope Benedict has a difficult task ahead of him, and my prayers go out to him.

That's all....for now.

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