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Lileks on Benedict XVI

James Lileks has a hard time understanding all the wailing and rending of garments taking place among liberals over the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as pope.

To those who want profound change, consider an outsider’s perspective: the Catholic Church is the National Review of religion. You may live long enough to see it become the Weekly Standard. In your dreams it might become the New Republic. But it’s never going to be the Nation. And if ever it does, it will have roughly the same subscriber base.

Yes, yes, easy for me to say, it’s not my church. New age of oppression and intolerance, and all that. Write me when hot-eyed Jesuits walk into a mosque in Qom with ten pounds of Cemtex strapped to their chest.

In response to those who had hoped for a more "modern" pope, he reminds us:

Habeum pap. Note: every era is the modern era to the people who inhabit it; a “modern” pope in 1937 would have announced that godless collectivism was the wave of the future, and ridden the trains to Auschwitz standing on top, holding gilded reins, whooping like Slim Pickens.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Jesus was a liberal, right? Would he have wanted an elaborate hierarchical structure headed by a man sitting on a throne (obvious implication)? He probably wouldn’t have wanted a stagnant, old, out-of-touch conservative driving home old, tired ideologies unreflective of the global situation.

Seriously, what would Jesus do?

"Andrew" in this case must mean Andrew Sullivan.

I suspect you also agree that a church which believes other churches are "deficient" is out of bounds.

Which is to say: religion is out of bounds.

Jesus was a liberal, right?

Oh, come on. Liberalism was a product of the 18th century, with a healthy dose of 19th century socialism mixed in. Do you seriously think that this label can be usefully applied to someone who lived in the 1st century AD?

For the record, I am equally skeptical of those who try to enlist the Lord in the cause of modern conservatism. However, I must ask--in what respect has the Catholic Church veered from the teachings of Christ? It sounds to me as though "Andrew" thinks that the Church has erred by NOT abandoned those "old, tired ideologies unreflective of the global situation."

Well, at least someone at DailyKos is reasonable and responsible on reporting about the new Pope: (most liberals need some grounding on this whole "Nazi" rant...)

"Here’s an article from the Jerusalem Post:

Ratzinger A Nazi ? Don’t believe it.

Anyone who thinks Ratzinger was a Nazi should read this.

Choice quotes: Ratzinger’s membership in the Hitler Youth was not voluntary but compulsory; also admitted are the facts that the cardinal - only a teenager during the period in question - was the son of an anti-Nazi policeman, that he was given a dispensation from Hitler Youth activities because of his religious studies, and that he deserted the German army.

If he were truly a Nazi sympathizer, then it would undoubtedly have become evident during the past 60 years. Yet throughout his service in the church, Ratzinger has distinguished himself in the field of Jewish-Catholic relations."

Dave - No, I am not Andrew Sullivan. The link on my website should dispel any doubts in your mind about that.

John - I guess when I was saying "Liberal" I didn’t mean to invoke any notions of Socialism/Marxism. Instead, I just mean to use the term as a descriptor of "change." Jesus Christ had to fight against an immensely powerful set of ideologies during his time of teaching. I guess I have a hard time believing that he would have really thought we should embrace a church structure that has basically developed into a monarchical system so engrained in our lives that it seems second nature to us.

I believe that the teachings of Jesus urge us to create a church that can evolve and adapt to a changing environment. Yes, the papacy is a stagnant enterprise. It represents an extremely old tradition with little resemblence to anything in the outside world (examples: thrones, extremely patriarchal power systems). I am not advocating the Catholic Church abandon the teachings of Christ, but I’m advocating they abandon the fluff that they have deemed necessary to enforce these teachings.

And I in no way believe that Pope Benedict XVI was a Nazi/Nazi Sympathizer. I hope no one construed that from my comments.

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