Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Meet the new boss...

Papal hopeful is a former Hitler Youth - Sunday Times

Despite question marks over Ratzinger’s wartime conduct, the main obstacle to his prospects in the conclave — the assembly of cardinals to elect the new pope — is the conservative stance he has adopted as guardian of Catholic orthodoxy since John Paul named him to head the congregation for the doctrine of the faith in 1981.

His condemnations are legion — of women priests, married priests, dissident theologians and homosexuals, whom he has declared to be suffering from an “objective disorder”.

He upset many Jews with a statement in 1987 that Jewish history and scripture reach fulfilment only in Christ — a position denounced by critics as “theological anti-semitism”. He made more enemies among other religions in 2000, when he signed a document, Dominus Jesus, in which he argued: “Only in the Catholic church is there eternal salvation”.

Anyone who thought, in this poisonously fundamentalist environment, that the Catholic Church would swing liberal is bogarting some good stuff. This is the joy of religiousity -- it is an inherently destabilizing process, because the level of polarization increases like the price of the Virgin Mary on grilled cheese on eBay. How long do you figure before he calls a Jihad on the U.S. Supremes? He may be in the neighborhood, since he is has been

ordered to appear in a court in Texas over a sex abuse scandal. He was named in a suit brought on behalf of three men now in their 20s who claim they were sexually abused as children. The cardinal is accused of obstruction of justice in relation to a Vatican document that emerged in 2003 instructing Catholic bishops to deal with cases of sexual abuse "in the most secretive way."

I read of the new Pope's rabid intolerance and think of Dostoyevsky's Grand Inquisitor. I look at the multitude of religions that claim to embrace the New Testament and wonder, "which would execute Jesus fastest?"


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