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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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Pope Benedict XVI: A success in the making.


The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, acting, as they believe, under Godís direct guidance, chose Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 78, of Germany to become the 265th Pope.  Cardinal Ratzinger is no more, and now Pope Benedict XVI reigns over the Holy See.  Some may think that the cardinals acted stupidly, choosing an old man and a non-charismatic professor to the papacy.  The press already speaks of a "transitional papacy."  People, however, forget that the last "transititional pope" did more to change and invigorate the church than any other in the preceding 1,000 years.

I speak of Angelo Roncalli, now Blessed Pope John XXIII ("Blessed" is the Catholic term for beatified persons, on their way to canonzation, the declaration of sainthood).  Pope John XXIII convened Vatican II, the council that totally changed the rites of the church, and set the stage for the massive invigoration of the church over which John Paul II presided.  As a reminder, both John Paul II as a cardinal, and Benedict XVI, as a bishop assisting a cardinal, were strong voices in shaping Vatican II.  Now, this alleged "transitional pope" is given the reins of the Holy See, and mark my words, you will see his success.


"Like his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI is a conservative on church doctrine.  The left-wingers who were looking for a Pope to ratify their agenda are certainly sorely disappointed."


Like his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI is a conservative on church doctrine.  The left-wingers who were looking for a Pope to ratify their agenda are certainly sorely disappointed.  However, a conservative pope was, thank God, a foregone conclusion.  None of the cardinals are "liberals."  The mere idea that 115 cardinals who John Paul II appointed would go into conclave and emerge with a pope who would, from the balcony at his introduction would ratify married and female priests, bless gay marriages, and endorse both artifical contraception and abortion, and also threaten to excommunicate every Republican Catholic in America, is facially insane.

The new pope was the number-two man in the Vatican.  Now he is Pope.  Expect no changes to fundamental doctrines.  What should we expect?  We will see that Pope Benedict is a humble man, who will rapidly endear himself to the common Catholic.  Expect him to be well-traveled, but probably not so much as John Paul II.  But donít expect a boring, status quo ante papacy.  The left will be afraid of Pope Benedictís strong stance against their agenda of licentiousness.  I predict that Pope Benedict will pick up the baton that a sick John Paul II could not and face the problems of the United States church head-on.  He will make moves to ensure that the Catholic voice is heard on issues.  Most of what he says and does will flummox and infuriate left wingers.  Some of what he says will not please some of my conservative brothers, either.


"Pope Benedict will not think twice about criticizing war, and will continue the churchís absolute opposition to the death penalty (an opposition with which, although I am conservative in politics, I agree)."


Pope Benedict will not think twice about criticizing war, and will continue the churchís absolute opposition to the death penalty (an opposition with which, although I am conservative in politics, I agree).  One thing people will notice is his consistency and like his predecessor, he is a former university professor.  He will provide a strong intellectual argument to bolster his positions.

Here is my prediction.  Pope Benedict will "transition" the Catholic church to massive growth, and will be both an admired and loved pastor and a strong intellectual force for his faith.  In the end, he will have just as much impact as the last "transitional pope" and be a stunning success.