Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Joseph Ratzinger is Pope Benedict XVI



amkpantera said...

Is he a unsavory guy or something?

fdtate714 said...

Well spoken, Bruce.

sanforized6 said...

AMEN!! rich

happyb8888 said...

So what's the problem with a former Hitler Youth Pope??  Makes perfect sense to me.

That Happy Chica,
Marcia Ellen

amkpantera said...

"So what's the problem with a former Hitler Youth Pope??"

Okay, I heard about that on "The Daily Show" yesterday.  Now I understand why people don't like the guy.

bmiller224 said...

Well, I guess in this case we should give the Devil his due.  Or, more precisely, the reactionary new Pope.

Growing up in Germany in the 1930s as a (non-Jewish) German, it was effectively required to be part of the Hitler Jugend.  As it happened, some German friends were visiting when the news about the new German Pope.  They weren't particularly thrilled or especially disturbed about Ratzinger.  They're Protestants (Lutherans) who, like most Germans and most Europeans (maybe Poland and Ireland excepted) are pretty secularized.  But one of them mentioned that, for instance, you couldn't even get childhood innoculations unless you were in the Hitler Jugend.

Now, having grown up going (mostly) to legally segregated schools in Mississippi, maybe I'm particularly open to the idea that childhood experiences in undemocratic institutions doesn't necessarily mark a person for life.  On the other hand, I'm also aware that they *can* have a major influence.

But on the other hand, I understand that Ratzinger also deserted from the German Army (which was also compulsory for men) in 1944.  And I think desertion legitimately counts as an act of resistance in that context.

My concern - as I explain in a later post - is the record Ratzinger has built as a major figure in the Church during the last three decades.  It strongly suggests that he will continue to promote authoritarian practices in the Church - which is one major reason that the child-sex-abuse scandal in the Church in American (and also in Austria) reached such serious proportions.  The institution's unwillingness to follow an open procedure responsible to the members and the public, following instead the need to protect the authoritarian institution itself, led to coverups and excuses rather than enforcement of its own rules on priestly responsibility. - Bruce

bmiller224 said...

One more thing.  I'm much less concerned about Ratzinger's involvement with the Hitler Jungend in the 1930s than I am with his close affiliation with Opus Dei in the 2000s.  That is also likely to have political implications.

One of the more recent political interventions that misfired - fortunately, most likely, for the world, for democracy and for the United States - was Opus Dei's cooperation with the Venezuelan coup attempt in 2002, which was actively encouraged by the Bush administration in close coooperation with the old Aznar/Partido Popular government in Spain.  Opus Dei did play a significant role in that one.

One of the weaknesses of the reporting I've seen in the news about the campaign of John Paul II and his right-hand man Ratziner against the Latin American "liberation theologians" was that they often talk about the liberation theologians as being "political" as opposed to concentrating on their religious duties.  What's not said, the emormous stinky elephant in the living room that's not mentioned, is that the Church hierarchy in countries like El Salvador was often supporting both actively and passively the authoritarian regimes and military dictatorships that were opposing the democratic movements and often brutally suppressing their own people.

Ratzinger's position in that situation, shameful as it was in the treatment of individual theologians and bishops like Brazil's Leonardo Boff, was *not* a matter of choosing the "non-political" over the "political."  It was a matter of supporting political reaction and hostility to democracy over supporting democracy and social reform.

Notice than in last Monday's pre-conclave homily, Ratzinger condemned "liberalism" (democracy and individual freedom) right along with "Marxism" and "modernism."  Preventive war and the denial of basic rights to ordinary people didn't appear on the list of modern evils that I saw quoted from the soon-to-be-Pope's rant.