Sunday, April 24, 2005

Fact, Fantasy & Equivocation.

Here are links to editorials about the election to Pope of Benedict XVI from last Wednesday's, NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post, and (from our very own left coast), Star Tribune.

Each editorial has some Facts. From paragraphs one.

NY: "...cardinals met...choose new Pope Benedict XVI...1.1 billion Catholics..."

La: "The Roman Catholic church did...Tuesday... The last two conclaves..."

WashPost: "An adult faith(quoting Benedict XVI)...Benedict concluded last sermon...Cardinals held conclave..."

StRib: "...1.1 billion Catholics...greeted Pope Benedict XVI on balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square on Tuesday...Millions drawn to election..."

Fantasy & Equivocation.

NY: "There is no reason to expect any change, of course, for the church when it comes to matters like birth control, priestly celibacy or homosexuality. Those are issues of faith, properly left to the faithful. On matters of public policy, however, all of us have reason to be concerned about the opinions of the leader of more than one billion Catholics." The NY Times' Big 3 are not issues of faith. Those are issues of public policy. The NY Times has no business determining what stance the Catholic Church should take on matters of faith. Especially as I doubt they have much faith to begin with, too hip for faith at the Times. And another thing. The Vatican is also a state. A very small country in Europe. They have every business in the world becoming an"unnecessary wedge" (paragraph 2 of the Times) in the affairs of Europe. Just because the Times didn't get a vote in the conclave, they want to take the ball and go home. Even though it's not their ball, and they don't even know how the (Catholic Church) game is played.

LA: see post below.

WashPost: "It is not for us to comment upon matters of Catholic doctrine...but as the multinational, flag-waving crowd in St. Peter's Square yesterday proved once again--the leader of the Catholic church has extraordinary political and moral influence around the world. There are areas in which the new pope could have tremendous impact, ...for better or for worse." Cue the ominous music. The WashPost then outlines all those matters of doctrine, uh faith, uh policy, uh stuff! the Catholic Church need to work on. Sandwiching a hope for coming down hard on "child abuse by priests" between hoping "he'll weigh the possible benefits of new medical technologies" and cease to "impede the distribution of condoms in Africa",(see post below), the WashPost tried to imply these are all problems of policy. The terrible behavior of priests is not a policy problem. The illicit sexual behavior of people will not be corrected by changing the doctrine opposing it. Like it or not, think it is a crazy doctrine or not, the WashPost doesn't get a vote. The Catholic Church believes what it believes. Same with "new medical technologies". Like it or lump it!

StRib: "Millions of others were drawn to the spectacle...desperate(-ly) hope(-ing) that a religious figure, any figure, might emerge to heal the world's agonizing conflicts being waged in God's name." The StRib then gives as its example a butcher in Uganda, confusing the head of a crime gang, who cuts off ears and lips,with the child in William Blake poem, "little child who made thee, does thou know who made thee?", coloring all the faithful with their inky smears. Next conflict in God's name, ( the sub-plot thickens), Amerika!! "America's religious conflict is far more conservative religionists ( -ists!) tear away at the precarious wall separating church and state. "(And when that wall goes, hold on to your lips!!!) And, "Catholicism...continues to lose ground in some of its strongholds..." What, is this a war of attrition? Strongholds!? And the enemy: "...evangelicals in Latin America...apathy in Europe." "Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia." " Then the Big 3 again: "Greater roles for women, a more welcoming posture toward gays and lesbians, and a moderation of views on sexuality...none of these is likely to gain ground under Benedict." The church is "losing ground" to Evangelicals and apathy, and they can only "gain ground" through "greater roles for women..." etc... Wow! What a plan? Abandon your beliefs and instantly thousands, nay, millions, will convert to the new Church of the Universal accommodation. Otherwise "If he were elected, thousands upon thousands of Catholics in Europe and the United States would roll their eyes and retreat to the margins of the church...a Notre Dame theologian, had predicted earlier this week." Oh no! Not roll the eyes! Then StRib plays the humility font. But now we'll see. Despite his crisp phrasing, Benedict (again StRib omits the XVI) is said to possess a warm, soft-spoken personality of the sort he showed the world on Tuesday...It was a reference, perhaps, to St. Benedict, the sixth-century founder of Western of reflection, scholarship, and physical work. Whether Benedict XVI adopts those kinds of pastoral values or remains a Vatican enforcer is the question of the hour."

Let's recap somewhat. In paragraph 1 StRib was clamoring for someone "heal the world's agonizing conflicts being waged in God' name." Hinting about Rome's need to change from Church to sex and death club in paragraph 7, and maligning the faithful by comparison with murdering Ugandan maniacs in paragraph 2. It would take several thousand yards of white-out twine, three or four Theseus clones, and Ovid as expert guide to unravel the Labyrinthine homilies of St.. Rib and his fellows, Saint NewyTimes, Saint La Tiempo, and Brother WashPost. And they are only in the first circle.

As to the "question of the hour" for Benedict XVI? I like enforcer. He is surrounded with Italians . "Eh, Tony, Vito, there's a problem in South Bend."

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