Ratzinger's It

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 10:41 PM

In case you've been in a cave all day, German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (78), has been chosen as the new pope under the name Benedict XVI. He is the first German to serve the office since the sixteenth century. It is a bit of irony, I suppose, that the last German pope, Andrian VI, presided just after the beginning of the Reformation schism and I believe the last German pope before that, Victor II, was the first pope elected after the Great Schism of 1054; take that for what you will. The new pontiff does not look to be too much a of friend of ecumenism, having previously criticized the Protestant churches that have established dialog with Rome. On the other hand, his orthodoxy is a good thing in many ways as opposed to electing someone who might have been inclined to lead the church in too liberal of direction.

Ratzinger has previously served as prefect of the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” better known by its old name: the Inquisition.

On a Lighter Note
And, timely enough, a theologian friend of mine passed on a little humor concerning the Cardinal turned newly elected Pontiff. The story goes that Cardinal Ratzinger dies and goes to Heaven. When he arrives there he waits with two other theologians to talk to God. The first one goes to see God, and comes back weeping. “How could I have been so wrong for so long,” he sobs. The second theologian is nervous but goes in and comes back out weeping and exclaiming “How could I have been so wrong for so long?” Then the Cardinal goes in to see God. Soon after God comes out weeping and says “How could I have been wrong for so long?” :)

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9 comments posted so far.

Re: Ratzinger's It

I actually think this is a good idea. They need an “interim pope” before bringing in a younger guy to make changes. JPII has some tough shoes to fill.

Posted by kevin - Apr 20, 2005 | 9:12 AM- Location: Milwaukie, OR

Re: Ratzinger's It

Yeah, I think the whole “caretaker” pontiff idea makes sense, although that doesn’t mean Benedict might not do some interesting things. Of course, John XXIII was suppose to be that kind of transitional pope and he called Vatican II… On the other hand, I don’t see Benedict XVI as probably being one to do that kind of drastic reform.

Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Apr 20, 2005 | 3:36 PM- Location: MO

Re: Ratzinger's It

Your joke falls into the “secretary puts God on hold” category. The inflexibility of some is always funny until you stand before them seeking some favor. The US military is a really good place to experience that. Within NATO, inflexibility is the US trademark, just like German humor (i.e., lack thereof), and British civility, etc.

Posted by Ed Hurst - Apr 20, 2005 | 5:19 PM- Location: Rural SE Texas

Re: Ratzinger's It

I read a bit about the new pope yesterday, and I think he’s got several things speaking both in favour and against him. He definitely doesn’t seem like the benevolent avuncular kind of pope that JPII was, but on the other hand it might have been hard to culture that sort of image while you’re head of the inquisition. He’s said some really good things about the importance of doctrines and I think he was perceived as quite radical during the 2nd Vatican council, but on the same time people who know more about him seem hesitant. It will be interesting to see what he’ll do during his pontificate. Oh, and I found it a bit amusing that he’s one of the few Cardinals that JPII didn’t ordain. Ratzinger was appointed by the first JP, who only served as a pope for a couple of months before he died. That’s a transitional pope for you :wink:

Posted by Flip - Apr 21, 2005 | 5:36 AM- Location: Sweden

Re: Ratzinger's It

“bringing in a younger guy to make changes.”

Kevin - I’m curious, what changes do you have in mind?

Posted by Mark - Apr 21, 2005 | 10:17 PM- Location: MA

Re: Ratzinger's It

Flip: That is _definitely_ a transitional pope. :grin: It is interesting that the first JP appointed him, I did not realize that.
Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Apr 22, 2005 | 5:09 AM- Location: MO

Re: Ratzinger's It

I might have been wrong. When I read on Wikipedia later, it said Ratzinger was made cardinal by Pope Paul VI, who was the pope who preceded JP the first. Oops :oops:

Posted by Flip - Apr 22, 2005 | 6:48 AM- Location: Sweden

Re: Ratzinger's It

Mark: I’d like to see the church revisit the celibate priesthood and social action. I agree with JPII that liberation theology typically takes things too far, but that doesn’t mean social justice is not important.
Posted by kevin - Apr 23, 2005 | 3:10 PM- Location: Milwaukie, OR

Re: Ratzinger's It

I suspect the celibate priesthood issue is going to be forced on the church soon, given that the amount of priests entering into ministry is continuing to drop… although, despite it being a “new” idea compared to some (11th century, I believe), I imagine it would be hard to do away with, even if the pope reversed the position.

I’m curious, though, Kevin, about the social justice issue. It seems to me the Catholic church is still quite active in social justice, for the most part. Do you think they need to do more, or just make it more of an “official” priority?

Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Apr 23, 2005 | 4:49 PM- Location: MO

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