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American Catholics support new Pope

A Washington Post-ABC News Poll finds that eight out of ten American Catholics support the selection of Ratzinger as Pope, and about 73% are enthusiastic in their support. There is more. But the point is how could this be, given the extraordinarily unfavorable coverage of this man by the MSM and considering their analysis, and emphasis, on how American Catholics (that is, liberal Catholics, I guess) are not happy with a conservative as Pope given that there are disagreements over abortion, gay marriage, contrception, etc.? No wonder no one pays attention to these guys.

Discussions - 13 Comments

Could it be that many American Catholics are put off by the Teddy Kennedy "eternal adolescent" variety of "party hardy" pseudo-catholicism? (small "c" deliberate)

I am not a Catholic and have no Catholic heritage. Yet for the last month, I have carefully followed the papal coverage on TV and in the papers with fascination, sympathy, and new respect for the (real) Catholic church.

John Paul the Great was a giant, although he may have had blind spots in regard to Islamo-fascism and the Iraq war. The outpouring for and pious recollection of this man warms the heart of all true conservatives.

I believe Pope Benedict XVI is a man of similar caliber -- though the enemy he faces, unlike the enemy John Paul faced, is a long way from being ripe for collapse. The selection of Ratzinger by the cardinals was courageous and far-sighted, so utterly in contrast to the cowardice of a certain kind of "Republican" in the U.S. Senate. Ratzinger makes most of our party’s "leadership" look like dwarves. He is unafraid to speak boldly, and when need be darkly, about the vast challenges of our era. He brings to this an intellect that is far beyond that of any Republican leader we have today. We are learning that he also has the gentle paternal and pastoral side that one expects in a pope.

If Benedict’s health holds up for even a few years, this combination could be disastrous for the cultural left worldwide. They have so few truly effective opponents on a large scale. This stubborn, and deeply articulate, old German is one of them.

Thank God we have him. Defending and promoting this pope should be among the very highest priorities for all conservatives. We have a real friend here, and "they" have a real opponent.
How refreshing.


- the MSM does not influence or control people’s thoughts and opinions nearly so much as right-wing critics of the MSM, such as yourself, believe it does


- if the MSM DOES influence or control people’s thoughts and opinions, then perhaps the MSM coverage of Ratzinger hasn’t been as negative as you assert.

Pablum is never truly satisfying - only, to quote John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor. Our hearts yearn for truth and joy, and our therapeutic culture give us depression.

I will speak for my own views - the MSM definitely has a liberal bias for all to see, though that certainly does not mean that people are not smart enough to think for themselves and reject its message. But, yes, any fool who looks at the MSM knows that their coverage of Pope Benedict has been almost unrelenting hostility.

Wow...after all the attention that the NLT bloggers have given to the passing of John Paul and the installation of Benedict, I notice that it took a reader (Frisk) to make the briefest mention of John Paul’s (fervent) opposition to the war in Iraq - albeit he casually dismissed it as a "blind spot." Too bad you’re not Catholic, Mr. Frisk; if you were, I’m sure you could have, using your theological brilliance and intellectual heft, opened Cardinal/Pope Ratzinger’s eyes on that issue! It’s been amazing how the war boosters here have totally ignored the elephant in the room, that both Popes were unambiguous in their well-considered opposition to Bush’s war.

"All I can do is invite you to read the Catechism, and the conclusion seems obvious to me...the concept of preventive war does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church."

"There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a ’just war’."

It’s fine for folks to be on the ’cafeteria plan’ when citing the Pope to help bolster one’s social and/or political goals, but maybe you should acknowledge the dishes which you decline, as well. There’s no way Ratzinger could be described as some wayward liberal or leftist priest. On many issues, he could be fairly classified as ’conservative.’ To brush off his war opposition as a "blind spot" is rather cheap, and evasive.

(Sorry, I should’ve been more clear - the quotes in paragraphs 3 and 4 of my comments above are from Ratzinger, not John Paul. Quotes of John Paul’s opposition to the war are numerous, and should be easy to find, though...)

It’s true that the Vatican--for serious historical reasons that I respect even if (as in the case of Iraq) I don’t always agree--tends to put a decided antiwar spin on the traditional Catholic teaching about the jus ad bello.

And yet I would note, as does the Catechism (see paragraph 2309) that particular policy questions of war and peace fall toward the "prudential judgement" end of the scale, which means that even on the basis of traditional Catholic thought, there’s considerable room for intra-Catholic disagreement about these contingent matters than there is with regard to the Church’s more apodictic pronouncements on faith and morals.

Benedict XVI’s quote looks like something from a Cardinal Ratzinger press interview--it’s fair to note that he wasn’t presuming to speak ex cathedra or "for the Church" (I’m sure Benedict himself would readily admit this). He even makes an empirical claim (about the indiscriminate destructiveness of modern weaponry) which is true but incomplete, for it leaves out consideration of the degree to which modern precision targeting technologies (of the sort in which the US excels) make it possible to fight in ways that actually reduce side damage to civilian life and property far more than was possible until even quite recently. News footage from the spring of 2003 featured the remarkable sight of US jets blasting Saddam Hussein’s ministry buildings in Baghdad to the point of implosion while the people of that city calmly drove around with their headlights on, evidence that a) our aim was rather accurate, and b) our understanding of how to bring these buildings down in on themselves rather than out on the streets was also pretty good, and c) ordinary Iraqi civilians realized that they weren’t our targets.

So we might say that while some modern weapons are certainly fearfully destructive (and I respect Cardinal Ratzinger and the Catechism for reminding us of this), other modern military technologies may make the sparing of noncombatants more feasible than ever before, and hence could increase the scope within which just war is possible by reducing the evils of "collateral damage."

Of course, one is free to disagree with a contingent prudential decision such as that to go to war against Saddam without any question about one’s commitment to Catholicism. Many Catholics honorably opposed the war. But the converse is also true. The quality of assent that a prudential judgment solicits just doesn’t amount to the quality of assent that an apodictic Church teaching commands: The statement "the deliberate taking of innocent human life is always wrong" is an example of the apodictic mode. The statement "it was wrong, under the circumstances then pertaining, to go to war against Saddam in 2003" is an example of the prudential mode. The two types of statements don’t have the same valence in Catholic discourse, nor are they meant to.

I wonder, can anyone cite a Ratzinger quote where he raises the prospect of, say, "formal cooperation in material evil" with regard to suppport for the Iraq War, as he did when asked about Catholics voting for politicians who support legalized abortion? I tend to doubt that such a passage exists, but if one does I’d like to see it. (And I note that even in the case of the hypothetical question about Catholics voting for pro-legalized abortion politicians, Ratzinger appealed to a form of the double-effect principle to suggest that such voting could be morally licit, even though it’s surely not the kind of Catholic voting that he--or I, for that matter--would personally prefer.)

Mr. Wojciany, calm down. I do not claim that I could open the eyes of the Catholic leadership to the legitimacy of the Iraq war. I believe that Catholic doctrine as such probably does have a "blind spot" in regard to certain questions related to war. I would say the same about the death penalty. I don’t agree with them on contraception, either.

Ratzinger made a clear distinction between issues like war and the death penalty, on one hand, and abortion and euthanasia on the other. It’s phony "Catholics" who pick and choose about the latter -- the top-priority moral issues for Ratzinger -- who deserve the label "cafeteria Catholics."

As for JP II specifically, my impression is that he did not face the Islamo-fascism issue squarely or see it clearly. That would qualify as a personal blind spot. He was still a great man and a great visionary and voice.

David, on what basis are you making the distinctions between what you agree with and what you don’t. The posting sounds like it’s bordering on cafeteria Catholicism when you not only express a disagreement with the application of just-war theory but especially birth control. I’m not saying you are a cafeteria Catholic, but what is the dividing line?

Ah, but I’m not a Catholic. I’m commenting as a sympathetic non-Catholic. I look at the big picture. And there, Pope Benedict is the courageous ally of all true conservatives.

As he himself has said, pray that he may not flee for fear of the wolves.

OK, David. Certainly you’re not bound by Catholic doctrine, although I do implore anyone who disagrees with Church doctrine, especially woefully ignorant Catholics themselves, to read the Catechism and encyclicals when making a judgment. I would be interested to hear more from you regarding JP’s blind spot regarding Islamo-Fascism and the death penalty, if you’re willing or have the time. But, thank you for your respect of the Church and pope as he seeks to know and conserve eternal truths.

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