Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: <i>and the winner is...</i> .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

and the winner is...

After a closed-cage grudge match in the Sistine Chapel, Joseph Ratzinger, or as he's known in the 'family', "Joey Rats", emerged the clear winner. His new moniker will be Benedict XVI, which is Middle Age Gallic for "old pucker puss".

The selection of Ratzinger indicates that the church will ignore the 21st century and insist on living in the Middle Ages. Ratzinger has been a hard-liner against reforms and modernization, and his first official act will be to issue the edict that, effective immediately, the Gregorian calendar will begin to count backwards.

Ratzinger served John Paul II since 1981 as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In that position, he has disciplined church dissidents and upheld church policy against attempts by liberals for reforms.

Many blame Ratzinger for decrees from Rome barring Catholic priests from counseling pregnant teens on their options and blocking German Catholics from sharing communion with their Lutheran brethren at a joint gathering in 2003.

Ratzinger has clashed with prominent theologians at home, most notably the liberal Hans Kueng, who helped him get a teaching post at the University of Tuebingen in the 1960s. The cardinal later publicly criticized Kueng, whose license to teach theology was revoked by the Vatican in 1979.

He has also sparred openly in articles with fellow German Cardinal Walter Kasper, a moderate who has urged less centralized church governance and is considered a dark horse papal candidate.

"He has hurt many people and far overstepped his boundaries in Germany," said Christian Wiesner, spokesman for the pro-reform Wir Sind Kirche, or We Are Church movement.

On the brighter side, he's 78 years old, the second oldest cardinal ever elected pope, so the damage he can do should be minimal. Unless he's scored a good source of spiritual viagra, in which case we're all screwed.


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