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Pope Benedict XVI, Yes! National Catholic Reporter, No!
Michael J. Gaynor
National Catholic Reporter's editorial "welcoming" the papacy of Benedict XVI, previously known as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, demonstrates the pressing need for him to resist corruption of fundamental Church teaching and to purify the Church instead of to sacrifice principle for the sake of a useless unity based on hedonism.
National Catholic Reporter asked: "Will he be a pope for everyone?"
But, the truth is that not everyone chooses God.
The Bible reported that one-third of the angels went with Satan.
The key question is: "Will he be a faithful servant of God or a panderer?
The answer is...a faithful servant of God.
Be assured that Pope Benedict XVI will invite all to worship God and to obey God's Commandments, and forgive repentant sinners who turn from Satan to God.
But, he will not reclassify sinful behavior as normal or illicit behavior as licit.
The Hippocratic oath was rewritten to drop the promise not to perform abortions.
And homosexual acts were reclassified as natural instead of disordered by the "official" medical authorities.
But, the Catholic Church under Pope John Paul the Great did not succumb to the temptation to deal with the problem of sin by reclassifying sinful behavior as permissible.
And it will not do so under Pope Benedict XVI or his successors.
Because Pope Benedict XVI well knows, and his successors will know well, what the Bible teaches about that:
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20
National Catholic Reporter reported that the Catholic Church, "thanks to the long and rigorous ministry of Pope John Paul II, enjoys a stature and visibility in the wider world unprecedented in modern times."
Without giving any credit to the man who served since 1981 as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
National Catholic Reporter did identify the Church's major problem:
"scandals and divisions, deep and destructive,...now known in a way that would have been impossible before the global information age."
That describes a Church in need of purification.
Saith National Catholic Reporter of the Church:
"It is a church that, facing deep questions, too often says, 'There are no questions.'
"How Benedict XVI deals with these and a host of other challenges facing the church at the start of the Third Millennium could make a huge difference in the life of ordinary Catholics and may, indeed, determine whether significant numbers of Catholics remain in the community or find a spiritual home elsewhere."
How Pope Benedict XVI deals with the secular world in general and sin in particular will make a huge difference in the spiritual well-being of Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
But, surrendering to secular extremism and transforming the distribution of Holy Communion from the receipt of a sacrament by persons "in full communion" with the teachings of the Church into a meaningless ritual and a photo opportunity for nominally Catholic pro-abortion politicians and homosexual activists will not be Pope Benedict XVI's legacy.
Any Pope can only invite people to follow the path of Christ.
Some can do so in more languages than others.
And some can do it more appealingly than others.
But none can change the path.
The Ten Commandments were not suggestions.
And Jesus asked people to take up His Cross, not party.
Sins can be forgiven, or not.
But evil cannot be transformed to good even by papal decree.
Human life remains sacred from conception to natural death.
And so-called "same-sex marriage" remains a sinful sham.
That is: "a trick that deludes"; "a hoax"; "an imitation or counterfeit purporting to be genuine".
National Catholic Reporter expressed its displeasure with the great work of Cardinal Ratzinger:
"As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he was the chief watchdog of doctrine during the last papacy, an enforcer of what he determined was orthodoxy. He was an aggressive and severe head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. "
Watchdog. Aggressive. Severe.
That's a crude, albeit colorful, description of an uncontrolled hit man, not Pope John Paul the Great's primary and principled doctrinal adviser for more than twenty years
Does National Catholic Reporter really believe that then Cardinal Ratzinger was NOT faithful to Pope John Paul the Great?
Or is it incapable of acknowledging that fact?
According to National Catholic Reporter:
"The landscape of the contemporary church is littered with the ruined careers and the smeared names of dozens of theologians and other thinkers and ministers - some of them among the most formidable theological minds of the last century - who fell into disfavor with Ratzinger (see NCR, Feb. 25, "The List"). They were silenced, prohibited from teaching in Catholic colleges as Catholic theologians or pushed so far to the margins that they left the community.
"Life was perilous, too, for those who worked in the area of human sexuality either as theologians or as ministers; for those who advocated a greater place for women within the church; for those who questioned the church's teaching on celibacy or homosexuality.
"It is no mystery why some of the more innovative and creative Catholic theology today is occurring outside Catholic institutions, in secular universities where faculty members don't have to fear the long arm of the Vatican.
"Academics are understandably worried that the Vatican under Benedict XVI will become even more closed off than it has been to dialogue with other disciplines, with individuals' experiences and with the body of knowledge that continually accumulates regarding the human person."
In Pope Benedict XVI, good people have reason to delight.
For heretics, however, there will be no relief from their plight.
They will continue to resent,
Unless and until they repent.
National Catholic Reporter deigns to mention the possibility that then Cardinal Ratzinger did what was right:
"Some would argue that Ratzinger's attacks on theologians were difficult but necessary actions to bring order to a church that was spinning out of control at the hands of Vatican II excesses."
But National Catholic Reporter is urging doctrinal change:
"Catholics must recognize, however, that during the length of the John Paul II papacy and on into the events leading up to the most recent conclave, there was evidence aplenty that even among the cardinals' ranks significant differences exist about how the church should approach the modern world and the host of challenges and problems it faces. Often on television broadcasts in recent weeks one conservative cleric or another would tell us that all has been settled, in essence that it almost didn't matter who is chosen pope because the Catholic church cannot change its thinking on doctrine or scripture.
"The notion is incorrect and dangerous. It suggests that the Catholic community is a collection of robots and that somehow questions about doctrine or new insights into scripture are dangerous to faith. If that were the case we might all be stuck somewhere back in time believing that women are imperfectly formed men, that the sun revolves around the earth, that it is seriously sinful to take interest for money loaned and that scripture supports the keeping of slaves."
Developments in astronomy, biology and money-lending and the end of slavery do not affect the essential truth of the Church's teachings on the sanctity of human life and marriage, however.
Nevertheless, National Catholic Reporter continued to push its agenda, by calling for Pope Benedict XVI to bow to its flawed views instead of accepting his orthodox teaching:
"The record may be unsettling, but we look to the future with hope, trusting that Benedict XVI will moderate a view he expressed earlier, that accepting a smaller church, a 'creative minority,' would be preferable to a church in which every jot of doctrine is not perfectly received.
"Certainly, his first words as pope were encouraging. In a message after his first Mass as pope, Benedict XVI expressed a strong resolve to seek unity among Christians, committed himself to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and to the pursuit of social justice, and called for collaboration between bishops and the pope."
But, Pope Benedict XVI did not renounce the magnificent homily that then Cardinal Ratzinger gave at Pope John Paul the Great's funeral Mass.
The greatest possible unity will be acheieved.
All will be invited.
But souls will not be sacrificed for the sake of the appearance of a meaningless unity.
National Catholic Reporter clings to the name Benedict as it should cling to the Church's teachings:
"Another sign that he might be seeking a posture of tolerance and of reconciliation came with the choice of name. St. Benedict, of course, is the founder of a tradition of monasticism that is generous and welcoming, and he personally exhibited a willingness to listen and to seek the ideas of others. Further, the last Pope Benedict, who reigned from 1914 to 1922, managed to bring an end to the bitter disputes between ultra-traditionalists and modernists at the beginning of the 20th century."
Neither St. Benedict nor Pope Benedict XV supported abortion, or euthanasia, or "same-sex marriage," however.
National Catholic Reporter concluded:
"Whatever implications the name holds, the fundamental question to be answered is whether Benedict XVI will work to be the pope of all the people or only of that fringe that has applauded the severity of the former cardinal's action in the Holy Office.
"Sme have suggested that the job will change the man, that his work as a watchdog of doctrine will not necessarily define his work as pope. It remains to be seen.
"Thanks largely to John Paul II, the modern papacy, all secrecy notwithstanding, is under scrutiny as never before. The world will be watching for any signal or symbol that might suggest which direction this papacy will take.
"We hope that Benedict is more than a name."
Whether he be called Joseph or Benedict, the current Pope, like his predecessors, will remain Catholic.
With all that entails.
Thanks be to God.
Michael J. Gaynor