White smoke, new pope

A new pope has been selected. I wonder how many apopalyptic Protestants are already trying to figure out how his name adds up to 666 (or 999 if you’re really hip) and denouncing him as the capital-A Anti-Christ.

UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for people to start bemoaning the choice of the conclave. Apparently the new pope, who is 78, is too conservative and will continue the Chruch’s teachings on birth-control, abortion, homosexuality, etc. God forbid the new Pope from standing up for tradition and core beliefs!

I’m not Catholic. Indeed, much of my education could be called anti-Catholic, and my doctrinal beliefs are probably the farthest one can get from current Catholic doctrine while still being Christian. I disagree with their doctrines, I’m wary of their rites, and I laugh at their funny hats. This is why I choose to be a Protestant and refuse to get my boxers in a bunch if I don’t agree with the Pope. I suppose this situation is similar to the selection of Dean for DNC chair. I disagree with his doctrines, I’m wary of his rites, and I laugh at his funny quotes. But this is why I’m not a Democrat, and I don’t care he’s the chairman.

UPDATE 2: Behold the latest cover of The Sun. Pretty inflammatory, huh? The Hitler Youth part, which seems to be common knowledge now, refers to the brief time when Ratzinger was in Hitler Youth. But James Na at Guns and Butter Blog points out an article in the Times of India that should make his Hitler Youth stint a non issue. At the very end of the article it explains:

He 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.

“Ratzinger was only briefly a member of the Hitler Youth and not an enthusiastic one,” concluded John Allen, his biographer.

Just remember that when somebody says the Pope is an ex-Nazi. The real story is when he was a teenager he was forced into Hitler Youth, and he got out quickly because he was a man of the cloth. I do suspect this interesting tidbit will fuel the fiery imaginations of the Protestants I originally was wondering about.

On another note, as discussed in the comments, one of the perplexing things about Ratzinger’s appointment is his age. At 78 he seems destined to be a mere placeholder Pope until the rest of the Catholic leadership figure out what they really want to do. However, back in 1958 Pope John XXIII was appointed to the papacy when he was 77. What did he do? He convened Vatican II, which is probably the single most important event in the Catholic Church’s history in the past couple of centuries. Another cool thing that Pope John XXIII did was he excommunicated Castro. So, maybe we shouldn’t be too quick to write off Pope Benedict XVI as a placeholder Pope.

8 thoughts on “White smoke, new pope

  1. The purpose of a 78 year old pope with the same prior beliefs is simple;Provide the church with an interim figurehead while the rest of the cardinals work out their election ballots for the next conclave. Then all they do is pray for lobbyists with deep pockets.

  2. I agree with Dan. My guess is that there is too much rumbling under the surface to pick either a very conservative pope that will live a long time, or pick a progressive pope. Now-Benedict XVI was close to John Paul II, so things will probably stay about the same for the interim.

    I understand the Catholic church’s stance on abortion and homosexuality, even if I don’t agree with it. I have no idea why it is clinging to their stance of refusing to let women become priests, and why it is anti birth-control. These are such simple, progressive ideas, and anything less is simply forcing women to remain second class citizens in the Church. All the more reason to celebrate being a Protestant.

  3. Good thoughts.

    I do think the most perplexing part about this decision is his age, but, from what I understand, the choice of the new Pope isn’t really up to human decisions but is the human acknowledgment of the will of God. So, I guess the conclave thought God’s will was this this guy despite his age.

  4. Well, the Catholic Church is hardly the only denomination reluctant to ordain women priests. Not even all the mainline Protestant denominations do that. There are biblical reasons to not ordain women, and if it comes to biblical vs. progressive, they’ll take biblical.

  5. There are a ton of biblical reasons that have been abandoned because they don’t make sense in context. I think preventing women leadership is one of those…

    My home congregation has had three very fine pastors over the last almost-20 years. Two out of the three were women.

  6. So I was reading USAToday today(yes i read the paper)and there was a blurb about benedict’s service for Germany. It so happens to be that he was a member of the Hitler Youth and the German Army. At first I was flabbergasted, but I read on. He eventually deserted, and enrolled in a seminary, and became a priest. Two months after being named an arch-bishop he was raised to cardinal, and has served Our Lord as a “Vintner in the Garden of God”.

    Any man that has the balls(coarse, I know, but he is a Catholic)to say screw Hitler and leave is alright in my book. I am not a Catholic, and probably never will be, but this simple fact alone makes me support him in all his endeavors.

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