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Yes, but look on the bright side: The Vatican cafeteria might finally start serving some decent sausages.

Please tell me I didn't just type ... [Editor's note: you did, but I fixed it.]

POACHER!

I heard on the news that Ratzinger has been called "God's rottweiler."

Steve, you're crying wolf on this one.

Yes, I think I had mine up first! The Yahoo story tagline said "4 minutes old" when I put it up this morning. But it's not like anyone owns the news -- I'm happy to share.

I think Steve's comment was a joke.

Hello Dave,
I note with disappointment your first reaction to Pope Benedicts elcection.As with your faith he had to stand for certain values in a world increasingly prone to evil influence and material gain. I hope he will reach out to our Christian brothers and sistrs.I did not always agree with his stance on certain issues but i do believe he should be given a fair chance in his new role.

Thank You,

Nicholas Flynn,
Waterford, Ireland

Nicholas, thanks for the comment. Note that in my next post I linked to Hans Kungs' "let's wait and see" plea, and noted that Benedict XVI sounded ecumenical and inclusive in his first mass.

Never been to Ireland, but I'm presently reading (well, listening to on a CD-book) Cahill's "How the Irish Saved Civilization."

I must agree that hope Pope Benedict will have to to stand for certain moral values in a world increasingly prone to evil influence and material gain. I too, I hope he will reach out to our Christian brothers and sisters, possibly even bringing the Orthodox church or the Anglican Church in communion with Rome. I cannot say that I have not always agree with his stance on certain issues due to the inherent logic in all of them from opposing abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, embryonic stem cell research, and human cloning, as well as various other less important issues. Your statement, "I do believe he should be given a fair chance in his new role." is something that is profoundly logical as well. So far, unfortunately, the mass media , at least in the United States of America, has attempted to portray the supreme pontiff has someone from the far right. The Pope certainly is not a reformist in the way that the media would wish he could be, but that would be impossible. The Catholic stance on various issues is defined by doctrine; doctrine that can not be changed. Doctrine for Catholics is what we believe to be truth, and the truth cannot be changed by anyone. "How many winds of doctrine we have known in these last decades, how many ideological currents, how many modes of thought." The current Pope, as well as every cardinal, every future Pope, and every past Pope has had a distinct problem with relativism. Relativism argues that nothing is definitive. Relativism argues that what is right (moral) is determined only by current beliefs of the society, and in its most radical form the even argues that what is right for one individual varies from individual to individual. Theoretically, relativism argues that if a society finds cold-blooded murder of perfectly healthy adults to be acceptable that that it is right. Obviously, you can see the inherent lies that are perpetuated by relativism. But unfortunately, relativism today, argues that the youngest and the oldest and the disabled and the sickly and the defenseless, can all be murdered. As for giving the Pope a fair chance, I believe that I should provide some information about him considering that at the present time the media has not been completely friendly. It has almost always stated the truth about the Pope, it has frequently misrepresented the views of Catholics, as well as omitting very important about understanding the Pope. It is true that Pope Benedict XVI was for a very short period of time, enrolled in the Hitler Youth. However, this was mandatory for all children of his age (he was 14 in 1941). And he was certainly not a willing participant in this activity. I have never even once heard yet on the news (that I have watched) that the Pope entered seminary when he was 12 years old. This was actually why they let him out of the Hitler Youth, because he was studying to be priest. Unfortunately, the political situation prevented him from up being ordained a priest until June 29, 1951. His family moved five times during the war to avoid pro-fascist sentiment in their town. The family moved at least once due to the introduction of the pagan May Pole ceremony in their town, which was used by the Fascists to promote nationalistic feelings. Pope Benedict XVI family was not at all friendly to the fascist german government. His father was a convicted anti-nazi. Pope Benedict when he was drafted right at the end of the war, like many young boys of his age, he deserted the army, risking death. His family offered the use of their farmhouse as a base of operations to American soldiers, which was in fact used as a base of operations. Pope Benedict XVI has many times argued that the cause of the Allies was just in World War II. He said something to the equivalent of " that the war, and liberation of the countries, not only helped the Allies, but also ultimately the people living within the boundaries of the fascist dictatorship." I know that some parts of the media have so far attempted to portray this gentle and humble man as a supporter of the third reich. But all people should know that he is an amazing the large critic of that government, as well as that system of thought. He is more passionately opposed to fascism then anyone.

Please, I appeal to you all in the name of truth, to give our new holy father, a chance. Do not judge him by media reports, for they are not yet accurate in their coverage. But eventually, they will be, we hope.

But, it is good news, to those of us who seek the truth.

M. Cross is responding to my closing remark on the election of B16: This is not good news, I suspect, for those who were looking for a change from the strongly conservative approach of John Paul II. Whether it is or is not good news, in that sense, will only become evident in coming months and years. B16 may end up surprising everyone.

More generally, I think it is wrong to habitually cloak one's religious views as "the truth." I have no doubt that liberal Catholics consider their views to partake of the Catholic view of truth as much as conservative Catholics do. That rhetorical trick is quite familiar to liberal Mormons, who stuggle against the same tactic increasingly adopted by conservative Mormons. I find that approach to slighting others' religious opinions (whether intra-denominational or across denominational lines) to be no more attractive under a Catholic banner than under a Mormon one.

Max is responding to Dave's remarks.

More generally, I think it is wrong to habitually cloak one's own views as "the truth." We seem to have a problem with anyone arguing that anything is right anymore. You claim that this is a rhetorical trick. But does it not make sense to argue that something is right if you believe it to be? Well , actually not. Something should not be argued that it is right if you believe it to be. I understand that I appear to be contradicting myself. It does not make logical sense, to argue that one's point is right if it in fact is not right. We must only argue that something is right when it actually is in reality. This is a problem that we have in modern society. It has become inappropriate not to accept EVERY viewpoint, on EVERY issue.

Reality dictates that something must be correct, including religious views. We know from science , that something has to be right and something has to be wrong. This is the reason why we do scientific experiments to study the nature of the universe. What would be the purpose of Einstein's theories IF ALL OTHER THEORIES HAD TO BE ACCEPTED. No one argues this relativistic argument in science, because they know that they will be disproven, and appear to be idiotic. But doesn't the same thing apply to religion? Reality cannot include every viewpoint, no matter how much certain people wish it. Someone must be right.

If we argue the the Mormons are right, or the Catholics, or even the Atheists someone MUST be right, due to the inherent nature of logic. I am not saying who is right, but rather just assisting you in understanding that someone must be right.

I fear that in some ways society now almost forces us to agree that every view is acceptable. Describe to me how this can be real. We do not live in a universe in which everything is correct. Many theories will turn out to be wrong, but at least some has to be right. If we believe in probability, we can understand this; much less believe in God. If we have a 0.0000000001% chance of being right on a given issue, that still means something is right and many things are wrong. We learn this from simple mathematics. Although we can argue that 2+2=5; we are still wrong. There must be some certainty, in reality.

I do understand though that many times it is difficult to find the truth, this I do understand well. We can use terminology from basic statistics to understand this. A statistic is a educated guess at what the real parameter is. A parameter is the actual number. I think that this is better described using an example. Imagine that candidate A is receiving 44% of the vote and candidate B is receiving 56% of the vote, that is a parameter; reality. But imagine that a poll was done to determine what percentage of the population were voting for the respective candidates. The poll said candidate A was receiving 40% of vote and candidate B was receiving 60%. Although this is what we would have to assume to be right, because it is the only information given to us; it does not in fact reflect reality.

I will agree with you that liberals and conservatives all believe that they are the ones that are right. But I should also mention that some beliefs of the Liberals must be right and some of the Conservatives must be right. It will be a mixture of the two that reflects truth. Whether or not you believe that Pope Benedict XVI reflects those views, is a matter of opinion.

But I must make the point of that there are not RELIGIOUS OPINIONS. One must be something that reflects reality and another must be wrong. Is there a God? Yes or No. One side must be right. There cannot be both. Using another math term , the probability of them both being true is zero, they are mutually exclusive. If one is right, the other must be wrong. Although you fear that this is an attack on liberalism this is not as so much true. Liberals will find the Pope to be extremely devoted to the poor. Pope Benedict XVI will be as firm on social justice as on social morality, the news has just not covered this much.

One idea of truth must actually be reality and the other or others must be wrong. This is a simple matter of logic. People nowadays believe that any belief is acceptable, and sometimes we all fear that every belief is real. This cannot happen! Relativism is intrinsicly illogical.

As for M. Cross's comments I suggest that we do not attempt to cause division. When you said "But, it is good news, to those of us who seek the truth." You only provoke a hostile response. And I think what you said, did have some mean intent. What it not, be simple enough, and quick enough to the point, to simply say "But, it is good news"? We must not allow politics to contaminate religion. Do not go around saying that they do not seek the truth. If you believe that they do not know the truth right now, then we should try to tell them the truth, not antagonize them by saying they do not seek it. They probably are seeking it, but simply have not yet found it. It is your responsibility to help them find it. I suggest to all of us that we do not attack each other.

I suggest to all of us that we do not attack Pope Benedict XVI, for to do so will only increase hate in this world. What is the reason in attacking him? What do you fear from him? Do not be afraid. To let him into your lives; you lose nothing. He holds no temporal power over you. He does not make policy in the country you live in. His policies on morality and social justice will not hurt you socially or economically. What could you possibly be so afraid of? If Pope Benedict's views are just a matter of opinion, then why not let all opinions be voiced? especially if he might very well be right?

Nice sermon, Max. I imagine most Catholics are willing to give Benedict XVI a chance, so posing as if half the Catholic church has already rejected him seems unwarranted. If I (a Mormon) can withhold judgment and hope for the best, I imagine the vast majority of liberal Catholics are doing likewise. But it's obvious there is a political dimension to selecting cardinals and popes. Those who sympathize with the liberal side of the religious spectrum can be forgiven for some anxiety over the recent choice. Let's hope he brings folks together.

There is also a political dimension to the range of religious opinion one encounters within denominations as well as between different denominations (and I don't see how you can deny the existence of a range of religious opinion). Tolerance favors viewing different opinions with some forbearance, either under the humble view that we all, however confident, may be mistaken, or simply under the utilitarian argument that pretending we might all be fallible (while believing otherwise) makes the world a kinder and friendlier place to live.

It is truly encouraging to view the diverse comments of the previous contributors.As with all organisations political considerations are part and parcel of the system, however flawed the organisation may be. I have issues with the pomp and ceremony that is asociated with most organised religions.I try to remember that Christ entered Jerusalem on an ass refusing the glorious acclamation of the crowd.A touch of humility as featured in Morris West's tremendous novel "The Shoes of the Fisherman" would not go astray. All of us choose our path to the Lord.We are members of different clubs by and large obeying the rules as set down by our appointed leaders.Few , if any religious entities are democratic so it falls upon each of us to live our witness as best as we can , following our conscience and individual values for the common good of all.I would like to see the leaders of all denominations speak as one in favour of reaching out to isolated members of society. It seems such a simple request but I am sure the protectionism and territorial policies of all established churches would kick in and make such an occurance virtually imposible to achieve.Must we wait until we have a global tragedy before we acknowledge our common purpose rather than concentrate on that which divides us? Thanks for the oportunity to air my opinion.

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