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Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI
by Bonjo
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.
The leader of my church was once asked about being "too old" to lead the church. He said:

"Isn't it wonderful? To have a man of maturity at the head, a man of judgment, who isn't blown about by every wind of doctrine?" - President Gordon B. Hinckley, interview with Mike Wallace, 60 Minutes April 7, 1996
It seems to me the Catholics have a winner.
7 Comment(s):
Am I the only one who is a little uncomfortable with a former Hitler Youth member as Pope? I know it was very difficult in Austria not to be a member, but that past is still there. 

Posted by theprisoner6
"Ratzinger joined the Hitler Youth aged 14, shortly after membership was made compulsory in 1941... He quickly won a dispensation on account of his training at a seminary."

compulsory: coerced, mandated, required.

A 14 year old boy, whose father was an anti-nazi and frequently moved his family around because of his efforts to rein in brown shirts, is forced to join Hitler Youth because it's required by law. He then gets out as soon as he can, thanks to his seminary training.

Sure, the past is still there, and there are those (like you) who will remind him of this in an attempt to undermine his papacy. But it seems to me that he did what anyone would have done at his age and in those circumstances. 

Posted by Bonjo
To his credit, he did desert from the German Army later on (after working deathcamp train security). My hope is his experience in Jewish dehumanization will discourage any non-Christian persecution and continue the global unity theme of the previous pope.

How radical do you really believe I am? "Undermine his papacy"? He's already 86! I doubt he'll be around long enough to undermine.

I just thought your post lacked detail. That's all. 

Posted by theprisoner6
Lacked detail?

Perhaps what you want is a news service. The purpose of this blog is not to deliver news, it's to offer commentary on things that we see important, relevant or interesting.

The main point of my post was regarding his age. A detail which I should have posted for your benefit is that the new pontiff is 77, not 86. He'll be 78 on Saturday.

I do not believe that age is a disqualification for effective church leadership. That was the point of my post, something I believe I made very clear in a very succinct manner.

This guy could easily live 20 years. You think that's not being "around long enough"? 

Posted by Bonjo
You got me there... He is 78. One of the oldest popes since 1740. John Paul II lasted until he was almost 85.

Although Paul II had Parkinson's, etc, if we give the new pope 10 years, he'll be 88. Which is much more likely than 20 years.

I had hoped for a younger pope from Africa or another developing country who brought to the foreground those countries' issues such as AIDS and poverty, but what was I thinking?

Posted by theprisoner6
Well, get yourself made a cardinal and then you can vote for a pope that you find satisfactory. 

Posted by Bonjo
Though I am Catholic in ritual, I don't support the Church, nor believe that the pope is anything but a human being blessed with no greater connection to God than I have.

So, no, I won't become a cardinal, nor do I care about the pope except how it affects world politics. 

Posted by theprisoner6
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