Pope Benedict XVIAnd now the world has a new Pope. Cue the screaming from the leftist masses, as it turns out to be a "ultraconservative pope." Worse still he's an "ultraconservative European", after all they could have dealt with a conservative if he was from some sort of different background. However, a conservative European, which seems to be a semi-endangered species, outrages the poor lefties of the world. Benedict XVI is essentially the antithesis of what liberals wanted coming out of the papal elections. They wanted a pope who was liberal and south american or african, or at least a liberal. Instead they got the man the Italian newspapers have dubbed the "German shepard", a play upon the guardian roll he's played over his church's doctrine. Benedict XVI is far less likely than John Paul II was to budge on changing church doctrine in any substantial way.
This doesn't effect me terribly much one way or another. However, I have been amused by the beating of chest, the tearing of hair, and rending of garments among the supposedly Catholic left. Apparantly the fact their leader isn't going to enact policies that validate their personal beliefs and wants upsets them. Not previously knowing anything about Benedict XVI if his election reduces Andrew Sullivan to hysteria and outrages the folks at Democratic Underground - the Pope's stock is rising in my eyes.
Apparantly the left everywhere was expecting the new Pope to come out and proclaim himself in favour of all their pet religious causes - after having been given a makeover by the guys from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The chance of that happening when a lot of elderly Catholics appointed by a prior conservative Pope are deciding who suceeds him? Nadda, but evidently hope springs eternal and all that.
But the whole the Pope is a Nazis thing is rediculous. You can't blame the guy for having been born in Germany. He was forced to attend a manditory youth organization. He was later conscripted, and then deserted. He didn't kill anyone, and there is no indication he's even the least bit anti-semetic.
As to his being a NeoCon, and his appointment somehow orastrated by President Bush and Karl Rove... I'm really not going to dignify that with a comment. I think my laughter will suffice.
Regarding all the pet peaves of the left, the lack of female priests, celibacy, abbortions, condoms, and the church's dim view of homosexuality for the most part they're faily silly. If you want to see female priests there are any number of prodestant demoninations that can accomodate you.
If you think its wrong that priests can't marry, unless they are Eastern Rite, how is that any of your concern anyhow? If they could would you suddenly be signing up to be a cleric? No - didn't think so. Although it is strange that the Eastern European priests are allowed to marry while the others cannot.
Abbortions are up to the individual involved. Whether the church approves or not is irrelevant. They may be necessary, but it would be silly to expect the church to deem them morally laudable.
As to the charge that the Pope is causing millions to die in Africa from aids because he tells people that its wrong to use contraceptives, that seems to ignore the fact he also tells them not to have sex outside of marriage. I'm of the impression they problem wouldn't need to be wearing condoms if they stopped having sex outside those paramaters. On the other hand, most people certaintly don't listen to that advice, I'm not sure why the left thinks that everyone in Africa responds robbotically to pronouncements on condoms but not on sexuality in any other way shape or form.
As to whether the church should send out feel good vibes to homosexuals, well they have this thing called the bible which isn't particular keen on homosexuality. Considering that particular book is what they base their faith on, it might be a bit odd to just ignore its stance on the issue.
The great danger in making any of these changes is that the Catholic church would in substance become no different than Anglicans or various other prodestant denominations such as the United Church of Canada. Well, the decorating in the Catholic Church might remain more gothic until the new female priests descided it should be in pastel. But in all seriousness, all of these positions have been adopted by existing prodestant denominations. If you want them so badly - why aren't you in one of those churches? Or better yet - why are those churches hemoraging people?
The argument always presented is that the Catholic church is becoming a relic, making itself irrelevent, and people will stop going unless they do x,y,z and change almost entitely. Every church following that prescription is becoming irrelevent as it is. Thus its difficult to pin down how that's suposed to help.
When religion becomes nothing more than a wishy washy hour or so a week of sitting down and being told some entity loves you and forgives everything you've ever done wrong, it entirely defeats the point. If its morally okay for you to do everything you want to do, what guidance are you suposed to draw out of that? There isn't any, its simply there to soothe your conscience. There's really no point, if you just want to do whatever you want athesim is the logical alternative. If your going to make religion an empty shell, why even bother?
The problem for many on the left is that they suspect that their belief system is actually immoral, and they really want someone else, in this case the Catholic Church to sign off on it for their own feelings of validation. That seems to be something its not prepared to do - good.