4.19.2005

Of eggs, Arnold and a papal pit bull

Well, that was quick.

In just 15 days after the death of Pope John Paul II, the Roman Catholic world has a new spiritual leader. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany Tuesday was elected the 265th pontiff in history.

Not being a Roman Catholic, I may not be the best person to weigh in on this, but here goes nothing ... I spoke with a friend today and said I thought Ratzinger -- now Benedict XVI -- was what I called a transitional pope. This is not a slight by any means. John Paul II was 58 years old when elected by the College of Cardinals. Ratzinger just celebrated his 78th birthday earlier this week.

John Paul II was the leader of 1.1 billion Roman Catholics for 26 years -- the third-longest tenure in papal history. Benedict XVI would be 104 years old to match that ... not likely.

Not everyone though was happy about the selection. According to a published report by Victor L. Simpson of The Associated Press, not everyone, including at least one of Ratzinger's own compatriots was less than enamored with the decision.

"Niels Hendrich, 40, of Hamburg, Germany, jumped up and down at the prospect of a new pope — but then gave only three halfhearted claps when he learned who it was," the report stated. "'I am not happy about this at all,' Hendrich said. 'Ratzinger will put the brakes on all the progressive movements in the church that I support.'"

John Paul II may not have been loved by all, but he was most definitely admired by many from a wide spectrum of faiths and cultures. Benedict XVI will have a hard time living up to that: A radio reporter for WCBS-AM in New York City referred to the German Cardinal as John Paul II's "papal enforcer."

Anyone who was looking for a more liberal clergy is not going to find it was Benedict XVI. I won't go so far as to say the opposite will happen, but I believe things will be tightened up.

One more thing about all this coverage. For those who can remember when John Paul I died suddenly -- at 33 days, you could say he was the William Henry Harrison of popes (and for those who don't know who W.H.H. was, check your American history books), Anyway, when the conclave last gathered in 1978, there was no Internet like there is today and 24-hour news channels weren't in existence.

Given the way the media -- thanks, my brothers -- has been carrying on through all this, you would almost have expected to hear sports announcer Brent Musberger bellow "You're looking LIVE at the Sistine Chapel ... "

Anyway, what do you think? ... I'd like to know.

4 comments:

The Girl in Black said...

As a liberal woman in a red state.... you can *imagine* how excited I am!

PS: Your posting settings are still set to Blogger clients only.

"Igor" said...

I think I got that mess fixed now :)

the girl in black said...

It would appear you did! Posters now have options.

PS: The St. Louis Union Station Hooters girls say they missed you. It was a fun week! ;)

Kansas Brat said...

PPS: that is one clever headline.