Habemus Papam!

AP photo of Pope BenedictPrior to becoming Pope Benedict XVI, Carninal Joseph Ratzinger said the following in a homily.

"Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and ‘swept along by every wind of teaching,’ looks like the only attitude acceptable to today’s standards."

"We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires."

Compare this to John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor (101).

"In the political sphere, it must be noted that truthfulness in the relations between those governing and those governed, openness in public administration, impartiality in the service of the body politic, respect for the rights of political adversaries, safeguarding the rights of the accused against summary trials and convictions, the just and honest use of public funds, the rejection of equivocal or illicit means in order to gain, preserve or increase power at any cost – all these are principles which are primarily rooted in, and in fact derive their singular urgency from, the transcendent value of the person and the objective moral demands of the functioning of States. When these principles are not observed, the very basis of political coexistence is weakened and the life of society itself is gradually jeopardized, threatened and doomed to decay (cf. Ps 14:3-4; Rev 18:2-3, 9-24). Today, when many countries have seen the fall of ideologies which bound politics to a totalitarian conception of the world – Marxism being the foremost of these – there is no less grave a danger that the fundamental rights of the human person will be denied and that the religious yearnings which arise in the heart of every human being will be absorbed once again into politics. This is the risk of an alliance between democracy and ethical relativism, which would remove any sure moral reference point from political and social life, and on a deeper level make the acknowledgement of truth impossible. Indeed, ‘if there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism’"

"Thus, in every sphere of personal, family, social and political life, morality – founded upon truth and open in truth to authentic freedom – renders a primordial, indispensable and immensely valuable service not only for the individual person and his growth in the good, but also for society and its genuine development."

As William Donahue said, "The Catholic League is delighted. Those who are not need to do some real soul searching.". Amen. Long live the pope!

Comments 8

  1. Jerry Nora wrote:

    A good op-ed from the NY Times:

    I’m glad that Benedict can take joy in seeing “C&E” come to church and wishes to always reach out and evangelize. I don’t want him to fudge on teaching in the name of getting more people to come, of course, but in the midst of maintaing orthodoxy, the Founder of our Church, Whose body we are now part of, was prophesied (Isaiah, methinks) that “the bent reed he will not break, the smoldering ember he will not crush”.

    Again, more evidence that Benedict is a far more dynamic, caring individual than we’ve been led to believe.

    Another good article with some insights into Benedict’s character, also via Drudge:


    Posted 21 Apr 2005 at 4:05 am
  2. Tom Smith wrote:

    As Eric pointed out, the reason Ratzinger always looked like a hardliner was basically because his job was to tear heretics’ arguments apart. He did a fine job of it, too. John Paul II had a good public image because he basically leaned on the Holy Office and the other Curial congregations to do his dirty work, leaving himself above the trenches warfare.

    If anything, I’d say he’s done a great job of *not* being swayed by his surroundings; it’d be ridiculously easy for him to go out and say things that aren’t controversial.

    Posted 20 Apr 2005 at 9:33 pm
  3. Kevin wrote:

    I have a great deal of hope for Pope Benedict XVI. I must admit I was suprised by the selection, espiecally considering his age I figured the Cardinals would want him to stay on CDF. But I have to tell you, the more I read about him, from CNN, Fox News, and the New York Times article that Jerry linked, the more I frankly really like the selection. He seems cut from the same cloth as John Paul II, and helped to craft much John Paul’s policies.

    I guess the biggest question mark about him is his ability to transfrom from a more behind the scenes man into the frontman of the church. Frankly, he must feel like Truman must have felt after FDR died. John Paul’s shoes are huge ones to fill, he was possibly one the greatest Popes the church as scene. As to how good a Pope Benedict XVI, only time will tell that one. As for now, I am extremely hopeful

    Posted 20 Apr 2005 at 7:15 pm
  4. Sean wrote:

    I liked the way John Pall II stated his piece, I don’t agree with all of it but it makes me think and helps me understand where he is coming from, his compassion shines through. Whereas honestly Benedict XVI’s quote rubs me the wrong way to put it mildly. I’m being polite since I know you are celebrating, but if he had been elected Pope while I was still Catholic, I don?t know how I would have reacted.

    Posted 20 Apr 2005 at 6:46 am
  5. alektra wrote:

    I think that there is a huge difference in a man who seems to be led by God inwardly (Pope John Paul II) and a man who seems to be swayed by his surroundings (Cardinal Ratzinger, since Pope Benedict XVI hasn’t had time to do much yet as Pope).

    Given the history of the two popes, I am praying that this Pope has a great deal of divine inspiration.

    Posted 20 Apr 2005 at 1:26 pm
  6. Tom Smith wrote:

    I was overjoyed at the election of a new Supreme Pontiff. (Media people who might be reading this: simply calling the Pope *the pontiff* is too vague. The word pontiff comes from Latin, and just means *bishop*. One of the Holy Father’s titles is *Pontifex Maximus*.) It really didn’t matter who was elected, as I would’ve been happy to be out of the sede vacante, but finding out that it was the Ratzinator was the icing on the cake.

    Posted 20 Apr 2005 at 4:31 am
  7. Jerry Nora wrote:

    Sean, I can understand your hesitation, but Ratzinger’s writings and personal life reveal someone much more dynamic and likeable than many of the media reports would reveal. Check out:


    Posted 20 Apr 2005 at 1:52 pm
  8. Funky Dung wrote:

    Sean, I’d also point out that the bit I quoted from Ratzinger was from homily that was not published in full (to my knowledge). Homilies are by necessity much shorter and less fleshed out that encyclicals and this one was scavanged by the media for sound bites.

    Alektra, how is Ratzinger swayed by his surroundings any more than Wojtyla was? He strikes me as a man very much driven by inner convictions. It’s also worth noting that John Paul II trusted and respected him as a friend, a priest, and as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Speaking of which, it was Ratzinger’s job as head of CDF to be JPII’s enforcer of orthodoxy in the Church. JPII had his wishes carried out while remaining a likeable guy. Now Benedcit XVI will have the same opportunity to give the role of enforcer to someone else. Anyhow, before you judge Benedict too harshly, remember that the things he did in the CDF were initiated, guided, and approved by John Paul.

    Posted 20 Apr 2005 at 2:12 pm

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