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parrot_knight [userpic]

Habemus papam

April 20th, 2005 (01:39 am)

current mood: tired

I hadn't been at all certain that Josef Ratzinger was the 'favourite' for the papacy - and on the basis of his conservatism, I thought that he would choose the name Gregory XVII, though this wasn't really a prediction based on serious consideration of the activities of the sixteen Gregories. Benedict XVI is an interesting choice. I at first thought of Pope Benedict XV and his attempt to mediate between the powers during World War One - his predecessor Pius X had been the first pope to refuse to bless the Austrian army at the start of the conflict - and then of the Benedictine order, of which I know little. The papers have informed me that St Benedict is the patron saint of Europe, and that the choice of name reflects Ratzinger's desire to desecularize Europe. There is even a suggestion that he talked John Paul II out of some of his conservative statements, and resisted the idea that John Paul II's teaching on birth control should be made infallible. I don't expect a humanist pontiff in the modern sense, ever; and a humanist pope in the vein of the fifteenth century's Pius II would just be dangerous - but dialogue with the secular world, as apparently envisaged by John XXIII, is surely essential for the Roman Catholic Church.

I'm writing as an agnostic of Methodist descent who once had a list of popes on his bedroom wall, many years ago now... and who has never formally studied the papacy or Catholicism in any depth. Still, it interests me as an enduring institution - and just consider how the composition of the college of cardinals has changed in the last century or so, following the extension of papal influence around the world. The last 78-year-old to be elected pope was Clement XII in 1730, and his interests included a failed conquest of San Marino and sabre-rattling towards Parma and Modena. Benedict XVI's horizons are much wider, but his intentions (one assumes) more pacific.


Posted by: Na'Lon (na_lon)
Posted at: April 20th, 2005 07:24 am (UTC)

I know that my family (German Lutherans by descent for the most part and actively so in my father's case) were apprehensive about Ratzinger being made Pope. But what you imply here sounds like there is potentially hope that he's not as hardnosed as people seem to fear.

I sometimes wonder if part of the reason a conservative pope was elected was due to the Catholic Church in some ways not being able to afford being liberal in this secular 'day and age'.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: April 20th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC)

I think you're right on the latter point, particularly as a reformist pope could split the Catholic Church more than a conservative. One just has to look at the breach the ordination of Gene Robinson has made in the Anglican communion to imagine what some African Catholic clergy would make of the ordination of women or altered attitudes towards homosexuality.

Posted by: Penny Paperbrain (pennypaperbrain)
Posted at: April 20th, 2005 12:54 pm (UTC)
Tatsumi smite

I'm sure you can imagine the kind of things I would say almost as well as I could say them myself.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: April 20th, 2005 01:45 pm (UTC)

Almost, perhaps, but not as well...

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 20th, 2005 02:39 pm (UTC)

"Benedict XVI is an interesting choice. I at first thought of Pope Benedict XV ... and then of the Benedictine order, of which I know little. ... St Benedict is the patron saint of Europe ... the choice of name [may] reflect Ratzinger's desire to desecularize Europe."

The BBC website is annoying me by saying vaguely "Benedict comes from the Latin for 'blessing'" (no - it's the English form of Benedictus, which is Latin for blessed).

If I were a Catholic, I would be depressed by this choice of pope, but then I can't imagine being a Catholic.

Neuromancer (a liberal Anglican - say it loud, I'm woolly & I'm proud ;).

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2005 08:05 am (UTC)

Unfortunately many of the sub-editors of today would answer your second point with 'so what'?

Fascinated as I can be by the papacy, I too see why I couldn't be a Catholic, though this is stated from a vaguely humanist perspective.