German Doctrinal Overseer Ratzinger Elected Pope
Tue Apr 19, 2005 12:56 PM ET
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the strict defender of Catholic orthodoxy for the past 23 years, was elected Pope on Tuesday despite a widespread assumption he was too old and divisive to win election.
But he sounded very much the candidate before going into the conclave on Monday, defending orthodox Catholicism and warning the other 114 cardinal electors against following godless modern trends.
“We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one’s own ego and one’s own desires,” he declared at a pre-conclave Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Ratzinger’s stern leadership of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the modern successor to the Inquisition, delighted conservative Catholics but upset moderates and other Christians whose churches he described as deficient.
Some of us had hoped for a progressive, someone who could help shepherd the Church through a time turbulence and change toward a more enlightened relationship with the technological and social dynamics that shape the 21st Century world in which its 1.1 billion members live.
I guess not. Not only is Pope Benedict XVI a conservative, he’s the conservative, the pit bull who’s been charged for the last couple decades with enforcing theological doctrine – which is to say, whipping Cardinals who believe in an evolving tradition back into line with ancient, unchanging dogma.
This is unfortunate, unless there resides within the heart of the 78 year-old a late-blooming spark of reform-mindedness.