Today, the Vatican Conclave of 115 cardinals elected a new pontiff, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany. It has been some centuries since a German cardinal emerged in succession as the new Pope. While many world leaders lauded the Conclave's choice, others (as quoted from the AP)" worried about the new pope's deep conservatism, saying he was the wrong choice to lead the church as it grapples with a host of modern problems. Divisions between the wealthy north and the poor south, priest sex-abuse scandals, a chronic shortage of clergy in Western nations and the stream of Catholics leaving the church are among the issues confronting [the new pope's name]Benedict XVI. "
While I do not know this man personally, my understanding of the pontiff is that he does not believe in moral relativism; his own theological leanings are more black and white. At one time he may have been progressive, but as reported on a couple of blogs today, he has denounced gay and lesbian marriage, been vocal against any kind of contraception, including the use of condoms for HIV/AIDS prevention, especially in African and Asian countries, and has condoned priests who have been involved in child molestation.
I am not a Roman Catholic. I admit that I've observed many shortcomings with that demonination as much as I have with the Baptists, the Church of Christ, the Pentacostals, and Unity Church parishioners. Unlike the other faiths I just mentioned, the Roman Catholics permit wine and spirits to be imbibed, but I don't understand how they believe they can easily define life or death based on old teachings, nor do I understand why simple contraception beyond "rhythm method" is still intolerated by the new pontiff. Why is the new pontiff so pro-birth, but anti-virus oriented to keep people alive via the use of condoms? Why would he allow priests to continue in the church if they have sinned against humanity by the molestation of children?
To my mind, there are many control issues. Discipline is good, but to be disciplined to the point whereby many church doctrines do not match modern problems, then situations get out of control, such as young unwed mothers, AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases, all which lead to poverty in many cases.
Like the rest of the world, I wish the new pontiff well. I hope he travels, and most of all, while I don't expect him to change church doctrine, I do hope he will listen. The more he tries to control, the more out of control will occur. My suggestion: take a lesson from our Republican leadership. The more they control, the more the people will take note, and perhaps, there will be a rebellion beyond the walls of Congress.