The new Pope Benedict, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, has been called “a combative watchdog,” and “an intimidating enforcer,” who punishes liberal thinkers, and keeps the Church in the Middle Ages.
Just what this means for the church’s stand on homosexuality and other controversial issues remains to be seen, but the writing on the wall is probably not very good. Consider these tidbits:
Ratzinger was the author of the 2003 Vatican statement that declared gay marriage, “immoral, unnatural and harmful.” He is a staunch opponent of contraceptives and condoms to combat HIV. In Deutschland, The Chicago Tribune reported his fellow Germans are split on his selection: “Many blame Ratzinger for decrees barring priests from counseling pregnant teens on the range of their options.”
He also takes a unique position on abuse of minors. As the priest sex scandal rocked the U.S. Catholic Church, Cardinal Ratzinger told reporters they were deliberately distorting the scope of the problem, and that clergy were no more prone to abusing minors than anyone else.
Ratzinger said, “I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offences among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower… In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1% of priests are guilty of acts of this type…The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information nor to the statistical objectivity of the facts. Therefore, one comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated, that there is a desire to discredit the Church. It is a logical and well-founded conclusion.”
About the new pontiff, my friend Michael writes, “This remark perfectly emulates how the Catholic Church is just not in touch with reality…or the Catholic flock it represents. Little does our new Pope Benedict know it was never about the numbers it was about the cover-up! It was about the Catholic Churches poor understanding of how the real world functions, i.e. people are made to take responsibility for their actions…It was foremost about the church leadership and how they feel they can do no wrong.”
• Next pope notoriously anti-gay?
• Will the next pope be more gay friendly? (Equality Jo’burg)
• Will the next pope be anti-gay? (Bay Area Reporter)