Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Benedict XVI

I have a theory that the Catholic church just may be the only relevant Christian body today. The choicce of this Ratzinger for pope confirms this for me. During the dying and death of JPII I (unfortunately) watched a fair amount of FOXNews. Thursday after his death, Steve Long, my theology prof said that he thought it was the end of protestantism. His reasoning was that the Archbishop of Canterbury chose to attend the Pope's funeral overagainst the royal wedding.

However, what I saw was what I thought to be the end of Catholicism. Everyone on Fox News it seemed was co opting the Pope. The Pope was the proponent of freedom and a great moral figure according to the Bush squad. But we all know what those terms mean for that troupe. Catholicism was quickly becoming mainstream conservatism, or so it appeared. But let us remember that JPII was not for either Middle East war.

JPII was conservative, let's admit it. In light of this many (including me to some degree) were pulling for a more progressive Papa. One that would revitalize the church, bring it up to speed on issues, and preferably come from the Two-Thirds world. Many on the progressive end wanted to see the church come to them as well. Maybe not such a bad thing, but let's take a look at what Benedict XVI could mean.

The new Pope is a chance for the Catholic church to stand out, to not mold itself into protestantism (conservative or liberal). We can see where a conservative protestantism takes us (rabid capitalism and sponsored empire) but we can also see some of the mess that liberal/progressive protestantism has gotten itself into (look at the difficulty the Anglican communion is having between North America and the rest of the church). The Catholic Church knows where it is in the world (it may not be the ideal place, but it knows its place). I do not think that this is the end of hopes for a political cooperation between communism and Christianity. I think that these two are not ready to cooperate (as we can see from the debate over at the Weblog, the two are not yet as conversant as they need to be).

As of now, we still have two dialogue partners and I think this is ok. The Catholic communion has not been melted into another protestant denomination (as I thought was happening) and I think this is a good thing. So let's watch carefully over the next few months. Let us see what a church that has not been taken over by protestants--the ones who have managed to screw things up--can do with a Pope who knows what a Catholic is right now. The end of Catholicism this is not. It is probably not the end of protestantism either. What it does ensure is that the dialogue partner for the Communist-Christian conversation has not disappeared.