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They never had a prayer

A lot of people are expressing their grave disappointment in the elevation of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the Papacy. Some of them are even nominally Catholic. But what gets me is that they sound so surprised.

Let's review a few facts, shall we?

1) Ratzinger was, for about twenty years, the closest advisor, assistant, and confidante of Pope John Paul II, to the point of some calling him John Paul's "alter ego."

2) John Paul II had personally elevated to Cardinal nearly every single man who was voting for his successor.

3) Even before the Conclave, nearly every observer had him pegged as the likely winner, and I don't recall any other Cardinal even being named as a possible rival.

Now that we've dismantled the "shock" of Ratzinger's elevation to the papacy, let's look at their "hopes" for a more "progressive" papacy, and just how realistic they are.

1) Ending of the priestly requirement of celibacy.
Not. Gonna. Happen.
The biggest cries for this "reform" are within the United States. Roughly 900 million of the world's Catholics don't live in the United States. Further, most of the people calling for this "reform" aren't priests, or even Catholics. There is no real pressure from within for this change, so don't bet on it happening any time soon.

2) Ordination of Women.
Not. Gonna. Happen. This is another case where the biggest push for this change is from outside the Church, but not quite as much as the first point. But nonetheless, the Church believes that this has actual Biblical foundation, and they are NOT gonna "change with the times" and suddenly admit women to the priesthood.

3) Acceptance of homosexuality/gay marriage.
Not. Gonna. Happen. The Church's position on homosexuality is quite clearly rooted in the Bible. In fact, Leviticus 20:13 specifically calls for the death penalty for homosexual acts.

4) Acceptance of contraception.
Not. Gonna. Happen. But slightly more likely than the above three. The Church's foundations for this policy are multiple, and the one most unspoken -- Catholics having lots of babies means more Catholics in the future -- tends to trump all others.

4a) Acceptance of condom usage in attempt to fight the spread of AIDS.
The sheer stupidity of this one really, really frosts me. People argue that it's the Church's prohibition of birth control that keeps people (especially in Africa) from using condoms and protecting them from contracting AIDS. The reality of it is that if people were so concerned about following Catholic doctrine, they'd be considerably safer from contracting AIDS. Forget the condom issue -- if they simply followed the Church's teachings forbidding non-marital sex, the AIDS rate would plummet. But it's laughable to think that someone who's already breaking a big Church rule and having sex outside of marriage thinks they're going to lessen God's wrath by not using a condom.

Now, if you happen to be discussing nations that ban the importation and sale of condoms based on Church teachings, that's another issue. But you should take your fight to those individual governments, not the Church.

The gist of most people's objections to Benedict XVI seems to be that he's "too Catholic." If ever there was a disqualifying condition to assuming the Throne of St. Peter and leading the world's 1.1 billion Catholics, that's GOT to be one.

Now, let me repeat, I'm not a Catholic. Which means that my opinions on the above reforms (which I happen to support) amount to a fart in a hurricane. I'm an outsider, and I have absolutely no standing to demand they make any changes to suit me. And if you're not Catholic yourself, the same holds true for you, too.

If you still feel that strongly about it, might I recommend you convert to Catholicism and work from within to bring about those changes? Otherwise, butt out. It ain't nobody's business but theirs how they run their Church.

J.


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Comments (38)

Well I agree on all of it.<... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Well I agree on all of it.

I think the people in the US, see the world through our own little prism and forget that most of the Catholics in the world do not live here or in Europe, and those Catholics are still very conservative (although technically I guess we would call them orthadox).

I think one thing on the condome/aids issue is that Catholic or not Catholic there is a huge resistance to condom use in Africa-the men there do not want to use them period.

They were holding out hope ... (Below threshold)
Jack Tanner:

They were holding out hope
that Hilary Clinton would be Pope

3) You forgot about me, Po... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

3) You forgot about me, Pope Joser I.

Mwahahaha!

You hit the nail on the hea... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

You hit the nail on the head, Jay Tea. Many of the demands are coming from non-Catholics. The Church can laugh themselves silly at those. The remainder of the wailing and gnashing of teeth is coming from people who fancy themselves as Catholic, but don't really want to follow all those "silly" rules. They want to behave as they like and get a free pass into heaven.

Bad news for them: It don't work that way.

Well said, Jay. Short, swee... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

Well said, Jay. Short, sweet, and to the point. And way to bring in Leviticus on the homosexual acts issue. You'll burn in liberal Hell for that one, but it's worth it, isn't it? ;-)

Sometimes it takes another ... (Below threshold)

Sometimes it takes another outsider to put paid to other outsiders, Jay. That was no fart. That was a world-class belch. Well done!

Talking heads on tv this mo... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

Talking heads on tv this morning made an interesting observation...that by changing the rules to allow for a simple majority after a certain number of votes, Pope John Paul II facilitated Ratzinger's election. He was reportedly one of a dozen or so who had support on the first ballot. The second ballot dropped this down to about a handful. After the third vote his numbers increased making him a front runner...and also clearly having strong support and the simple majority.

So rather than go through another twenty or so votes until the simple majority rule kicked in, Cardinals just gave him their votes accepting what they felt was going to be inevitable...hence he was elected quickly.

I agree Jay. People have t... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

I agree Jay. People have to stop looking at the Catholic Church like they look at their political party. The Church ain't gonna rewrite the platfom every so often to garner a popular mandate. The Catholic Church may be considered archaic but they've been around a while and will likely outlive the Republican and Democratic Parties. Although people complain the Church does not change I am sure the Catholic Church of today has a different look to it than it did centuries ago. I think the problem is that it just doesn't change fast enough to keep up with the rapidly changing behavior of the moral relativists. Just another non-Catholic putting in his 2 cents here.

Most important thing you sa... (Below threshold)

Most important thing you said --- if you're not Catholic, butt out.

Jay, you might be better se... (Below threshold)

Jay, you might be better served by citing 1 Corinthians 6:9 as a Biblically-rooted argument against homosexuality. ("Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor ... homosexual offenders ... will inherit the kingdom of God.") Many people will argue that Old Testament laws were merely social laws for the time and are not applicable today.

I even heard one guy argue (in the Minnesota Daily, no less) that homosexuality was outlawed in early times because it would have caused the population to drop (no new babies) and the Israelites would have died out, and that it was un-outlawed later on when they had enough people that it wouldn't cause such a big dent.

They know him over there bu... (Below threshold)

They know him over there but we do not. Anyone watching TV when he came on as the new Pope (I preferred Cardinal McCarrick of DC) most did not like him. I don't like him. In him, there is no warmth, no heart, doesn't have a sense of humor and does not smile.

It will take a lot for him to win me over. "Alter-ego" is the right word, Jay. John Paul had a life overrun by Germans and Auschwitz was just outside his town. His brother was gunned down in the street. Then they were taken over by the Soviets when Hitler fell. This new pope was on the other side of the fence. He was a Nazi for awhile and turned his life around. Total opposites. One a saint, one a sinner. I think he should be impeached. That's my opinion,.

Cindy

Jay, you pretty much have i... (Below threshold)
DaveP.:

Jay, you pretty much have it right: NO candidate the College of Cardinals selected would've pleased the "disappointed over an opportunity lost" losers, because NO candidate would have done the things they wanted to see done. Like I said before, the Church astonished them all by selecting a CATHOLIC to be Pope, and they just can't stand it.

I guess they just hoped, somewhere in their little delusionary hearts, that the Cardinals would have selected a New York Methodist lesbian who ran an abortion clinic on the side, or something...

Cindy, you are full of shit... (Below threshold)
Laura:

Cindy, you are full of shit!

In him, there is no warm... (Below threshold)

In him, there is no warmth, no heart, doesn't have a sense of humor and does not smile.

It must be true what they say -- like does not attract like.

Well I was going to respond... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Well I was going to respond to Cindy, but I think instead I will just say ditto to Laura.

Who cares! They're serving ... (Below threshold)
Homer:

Who cares! They're serving free beer in the pope's hometown in Bavaria and I wish I was there right now.

mmm beer

Cindy wrote:<p... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

Cindy wrote:

I think he should be impeached.

I'm Jewish, so I'm not really knowledgeable about Catholicism, but I don't think it works like that.

Anyone who disagrees with C... (Below threshold)
michigan-buckeye:

Anyone who disagrees with Catholic teaching has the choice of many other "Christian" religions to join. In particular, according to Bishop Gene Robinson, the Episcopal church is open to abortion, homosexuality, you name it! I appreciate that the Catholic Church expects more of us, that we are to strive to become better, that maybe as human beings, we don't know everything.

Cindy,While as a G... (Below threshold)
Kevin:

Cindy,

While as a German youth BXVI was forced to be a Hitler Youth and serve in the Nazi Vermacht. He did so unwilling. He actually disserted the army risking death. He did not turn his life around. He was in seminary training before being conscripted and resumed it as soon as he could. Second Popes can not be impeached. Third Catholics believe that the Pope is chosen by the Lord. If you have a problem with that, that's who you should complain to. The Catholic Church is not a political party, it does not have values, it has truths which have been revealed by the Lord to us here on Earth. Occassionally there's some static on the line but I dare you to show me a close to 2000 year old organization doing so well. (Especially when membership is voluntary)

John Paul had a life ove... (Below threshold)
mcg:

John Paul had a life overrun by Germans and Auschwitz was just outside his town. His brother was gunned down in the street. Then they were taken over by the Soviets when Hitler fell. This new pope was on the other side of the fence. He was a Nazi for awhile and turned his life around. Total opposites. One a saint, one a sinner. I think he should be impeached. That's my opinion.

Well, let's see. Ratzinger became John Paul's close confidante, friend, and colleague. I think I'll trust his opinion over yours, thanks.

Yeah, but there are some of... (Below threshold)

Yeah, but there are some of us who just don't trust that Constantine and his crew had the world's best interest at heart when they chose which Gospels went into the Bible.

As for the Church itself...the fact that Cardinal Law is living like a prince in Rome instead of rotting in a jail cell sort of puts a damper on its moral authority. Hard to be holier than anyone when you've got an accessory after the fact to rape hanging around.

Way to bring in the Bible a... (Below threshold)
Gautama:

Way to bring in the Bible against homosexuals!!! Whats next? Are we going to start stoning adulterers? Or do we adhere to the Old Testament only when the Bill of Rights and the Constitution doesnt say what we like???

Numbers 31:17-18 'Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.' –Moses

Ahhh there's nothing like holding a 2000 year old text as the paragon of morality.

Maybe reaching back into the Old Testament for convenient, and selective, reasons isnt the best way to go about things. Don't gouge my eyes out for stating my opinion...

"The gist of most people's ... (Below threshold)

"The gist of most people's objections to Benedict XVI seems to be that he's "too Catholic." If ever there was a disqualifying condition to assuming the Throne of St. Peter and leading the world's 1.1 billion Catholics, that's GOT to be one."


That would kind of give lie to the age-old rhetorical question: "Does the Pope shit in the woods? Is a Bear Catholic?"

Gautama: Well, the... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Gautama:

Well, the funny thing is, there is a religion that not only stones adulterers, but also crushes homosexuals. Is it okay to openly condemn such a religion?

Or is one limited to calling that religion "the Religion of Peace"?

It is ironic that the faults of the Catholic Church are regularly dredged up (Galileo! anti-homosexual!), no matter when they occurred, but the currently practiced aspects of other religions are somehow not to be mentioned.

And, no, I'm not a Catholic.

Hey Gautama - ever heard of... (Below threshold)
Sean:

Hey Gautama - ever heard of "context"? That was a directive aimed at preserving the Jewish nation at that time, not a timeless moral imperative. Twits like you who don't understand the Bible probably shouldn't try to comment on it.

Timmer: Yeah, but there ... (Below threshold)
mcg:

Timmer: Yeah, but there are some of us who just don't trust that Constantine and his crew had the world's best interest at heart when they chose which Gospels went into the Bible.

Gautama: Ahhh there's nothing like holding a 2000 year old text as the paragon of morality.

Either God intended for the Bible to be His word, or he didn't. If it is, then its age is absolutely irrelevant, and the machinations of men centuries ago have no material impact. (On that latter point: I mean, please: how would we, today, be any better at selecting which Gospels are the best?) Also irrelevant is the fact that it offends anyone's sensibilities today.

If God did not intend it to be so, then it should be ignored. Gautama's example, and there are many, is a good reason why. I mean, let's face it, the Bible is wacky. It's either divinely inspired, in which case it's simply beyond our understanding---or it's horrendous. There really isn't a middle ground.

Just make up your mind and be done with it.

"Yeah, but there are som... (Below threshold)

"Yeah, but there are some of us who just don't trust that Constantine and his crew had the world's best interest at heart when they chose which Gospels went into the Bible."

Some of us don't even trust that Constantine "the Great" (compared to whom?) had anything to do with establishing the Christian scriptural canon.

Excellent thread, Jay Tea.<... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Excellent thread, Jay Tea.

About those supposed "refor... (Below threshold)
-S-:

About those supposed "reforms", no, to the contrary, they are not reforms but profanities of the faith.

People who do not believe and exercise the faith have been trying since long before Christ to falsely convert and to "change...from within..." and yet, continually, they create great human tragedy and the Body of Christ remains. Incorrupt.

You know, you can wrange this and wrangle that for and about humanism and human ego and willful that and willful this (makes the world fit into a willful cubicle, perhaps, disables challenge probably), but the Church remains constant. Jesus said that He built His church upon the rock and so He has.

Should those "reforms" sugg... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Should those "reforms" suggested here ever be considered through to forcing policy within the Church, I'd say that then you'd have the Democratic minority.

And, "working within" the Church (by those who don't believe in the principles upon which the Church is based) suggests corrupting the Church. Been tried by the homosexual community, among others (and by that very process you suggest, Jay) for a while now and look what they accomplished: increased human tragedy.


I never cease to be amazed ... (Below threshold)
Amelia:

I never cease to be amazed that some think the Church is there to accommodate people and should bend and change to suit their wants, whims and fads. The Church just IS and we are free to accept or reject but no one has the right to try to alter, change or modify it. I also think with advances in embryology, abortion is going to eliminate itself as the barbaric deed that it is as we learn more and more about fetal development. It is already so '70's and outdated as we have learned of the pain experienced and the inter-uterine activities of the unborn such as thumb-sucking, smiling, even hiccouping.

Since we Catholics believe the pope chosen by the Holy Spirit acting through the Conclave, we are happy a new one has been given to us. Faith is also a gift from God about which we should all be most thankful and by which we are greatly humbled and for which all who receive it should be eternally grateful.

If anyone is unhappy with our new Pope, I suggest they take it up with the Almighty. Not a bad place to start in any event but I have been completely disgusted with the lack of respect for our Pope many have displayed. God has chosen him so I do not know how some dare to question that. A complete lack of respect for the spiritual leader of over a billion people worldwide is not something I would aspire to attain. In fact, what if we are right and this man is chosen of God? Would that not place one in a very precarious position? And even for non-believers, it is respect for the office that is usually shown those in high positions. I certainly have nothing negative to say about the spiritual leader chosen by any other religion or Christian denomination because it is none of my business whom they choose.

I really don't understand why any non-Catholics care whom we have for spiritual leader as it is not going to have much if any effect on their lives anyway. I think that the Church receiving positive press with the funeral of JPII has some Catholic-bashers seething and just using the new pope as an excuse for a little anti-Catholic rhetoric.

Don't like the new Pope? Don't like the Catholic Church? Don't join, don't participate. We seldom evangelize so I doubt anyone is trying to convert you in any event. You can relax, we are not after you. Membership is voluntary and we even consider it a privilege. How long has it been since a Catholic knocked on your door trying to get you to attend their church or convert? I'd guess for the majority maybe never. So everyone calm down and realize it is only because of our large numbers that this is newsworthy at all. The impact on the lives of non-Catholics is minimal. We don't get to say who is head of other churches so the same applies to ours.

For the record, I'm Catholi... (Below threshold)

For the record, I'm Catholic, and I'm for numbers 1 and 4, and I know a lot of priests who are, as well. Keep in mind that the contraception thing is very recent. Back in "the day," 'natural family planning' was verboten, and non-celibate priests were the norm.

Mark J.:I know a l... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Mark J.:

I know a lot of priests who aren't.

We're all humans, not everyone is called to be celibate and to be in the Priesthood. Some are in the wrong place at the wrong time for the wrong reasons and aren't in the right places at the right time for the right reasons. It's a case of who is working through grace and who isn't.

I realize it's a challenge but to those called and living in grace for that calling, it isn't a challenge, just a joy.

As a non-Catholic, I don't ... (Below threshold)
Abagadro:

As a non-Catholic, I don't care too much who's pope or what he believes. I am however, very, very happy to see a hard-liner and for the church to hold onto its current dogma. If there's one thing that will insure that the next generation of Catholics in America will be even smaller and less devout than the current one, that's it. So, Kudos to the selection committee on the new pope. Long may he reign.

Quick q on the Leviticus qu... (Below threshold)
James:

Quick q on the Leviticus quote: Leviticus says it's OK to have slaves as long as they're from a neighboring country; it says you should be put to death for shaving your above your temples; it says (in the same chapter as the one linked to, no less) that your community should abandon you for having sex during your menses. I'm a (pretty bad) Catholic, and I always wondered how we're supposed to deal with these clearly-insane passages. While I agree that the passage from Corinthians pretty much has it wrapped up on the homosexuality front, how do we reconcile with the rest?

Sean:Hey Gautam... (Below threshold)
Gautama:

Sean:

Hey Gautama - ever heard of "context"? That was a directive aimed at preserving the Jewish nation at that time, not a timeless moral imperative.

You can provide all the context you want to justify that passage. So you're basically saying that since it wasnt declared as a law, readers should not be wary or concerned with the content? That passage is about as wacky as things come, and to me means that the Bible (along with many other texts) should be taken with a grain of salt.

And dont try telling me that I just dont understand the Bible you twit. What a weak statement that was.

Lurking Observer:<... (Below threshold)
Gautama:

Lurking Observer:

Well, the funny thing is, there is a religion that not only stones adulterers, but also crushes homosexuals. Is it okay to openly condemn such a religion?

Hell yes its okay to condemn it. The OT has some scary passages, thats all I'm saying. It's not ALONE in that by any means. The Koran has its fair share as well.

Or is one limited to calling that religion "the Religion of Peace"?

The very phrase "Religion of Peace" might qualify as an oxymoron IMO.

It is ironic that the faults of the Catholic Church are regularly dredged up (Galileo! anti-homosexual!), no matter when they occurred, but the currently practiced aspects of other religions are somehow not to be mentioned.

Why not? There are many modern practices that could, IMO, use reform.

Look, the point is that religion has to change with society, so that it works well with it. Times change, and religions do too. How do you think that Christianity came about???

Relying on the OT for today's world isnt the greatest way to go about things IMO. It served as a basis for western philosophy and law, but we have come a long way since then. We dont go around stoning women who have sex during their period for a reason. I am more comfortable with the Bill of Rights and the Constitution as a guide than I am with the OT. The New Testament is better, but still old and a little outdated in many regards.

Those texts were designed to serve vastly different societies in different time periods.

Leviticus 22: 18-21<p... (Below threshold)
Gautama:

Leviticus 22: 18-21

"For instance, if a man is blind or lame, or has a broken nose or any extra fingers or toes, or has a broken foot or hand, or has a humped back, or is a dwarf, or has a defect in his eye, or has pimples, or scabby skin, or has imperfect testicles--although he is a decendant of Aaron--he is not permitted to offer the fire sacrifices to the Lord because of his physical defect."

Come on you guys, just admit it.




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