Friday, April 22, 2005

God's Rottweiler is Benedict XVI

Conservative Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is the new Pope

I am a liberal guy. I hate rigid posturing. Extremism always reeks. It also encourages a myopic world order. Hot heads and ultraists often have a propensity to think narrow because they are unable to accomodate conflicting views. There is no room for any debate or a different point of view. Only fake positioning. And, I found them the same everwhere. Across the major faiths -- The Jewish Ultra-orthodox, Hindu fanatics, Muslim hard-nosed clerics and Christian conservatives. All dogmatists of the world squarely fall in this bracket. No dissent please, only sermons!

However I have a word to say for Ratzinger. Infact for all of his ilk. The perception is that Ratzinger is not so interested in diversity, he wants a return to the fundamentals, to what he perceives as the essentials of Catholic teaching. Dubbed 'God's rottweiler' and 'the enforcer', Ratzinger, who turned 78 on April 17, 2005 served more than 20 years under Pope John Paul II as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office once known as the Holy Inquisition. His hardliner approach to dissidents earned him the tough reputation when it came to enforcing the doctrine of the church. The new Pope is against-- hold your breath -- Abortion, Contaception, Condoms, cloning, homosexuality, euthanasia, masturbation , artificial insemination, music, premarital intercourse. Everything that he thinks is ethically covoluted and morally wrong. Doesn't he sound like any Muslim cleric or any Jewish rabbi?

We have examples of many religious leaders who tend to be flexible. Personally, I think only hardliners and those who toe a consistent line end up being more reverned. 'Radicalsim' excites and here in lies the rub. These chaps -- Ratzy and co -- refuse to bulge and that is exactly what makes them all the more controversial, all the more provocative. And all the more loved. Ratzinger, now Benedict the 16th, happens to be just one of these ardent, hard-nosed fellas. As head of the catholic church he automatically gets catapulted to the supreme position of the most widely followed faith in the world.

It is altogether a different matter if much of what the new Pope believes any sense or not. Science says it doesn't. How can the scrounge of AIDS can be fought in the precarious modern times without the use of preservatives, for instance. Abstinence, says the Church. But no one really abstains because not many have a super faith like Ratzinger. Again, the vision of a brave new world where wealthy elites have access to expensive genetic technologies and the poorer classes do not, has provided much moral ammunition for those who oppose human cloning. Therapeutic cloning, which is often misunderstood as reproductive cloning, is less controversial than the latter as it does not involve the creating of an individual being. Instead, vital stem cells are extracted from human embryos, in order to generate tissues and organs for transplant. The goal of this process is strictly to harvest stem cells, resulting in the creation of 'cloned organs', which can be used to treat heart disease, Alzheimer's, and cancer. And then one thinks of a small matter like Masturbation! Can you people stop fantisizing? I don't think so.

Benedict the sixteenth is not completely apolitical. Ethics and mores apart, the Pope has some strong political views as well. For instance, he opposes Turkey's inclusion into the EU because it is a Muslim country and will dilute the Christian character of an essentially Christian continent. Not bad, PaPa. Again the Pope has had some Swastika connections in the past. Anti-Semitic. Not really, says his aides-- he was in 1941 enrolled against will in Hitler Youth. In 1945 Ratzinger deserted the Nazi army and returned home. He was captured by Americans as the war ended. { God, they didn't even leave the future Pope -- Stupid, how could they know he was so pious} !!! June 19, 1945 Ratzinger was released from US POW camp and he caught the ride home on milk truck. In the winter of 1945 Ratzinger began the study for priesthood in Friesing. Sixty years later on April 19, 2005, he became Benedict XVI.

From Hitler Youth to Papa Ratzi, the new Pope has been called many things. Some nasty. Albeit I don't agree with much of what he believes in, I still respect the guy. I salute him for his strong beliefs and steadfast stances. I roughly have the same view about my own faith-gurus and others who stand morally correct and believe in their values. There is something about the hardliners that endears them to you. I don't understand what. Perhaps a strait-laced no-nonsense attitude. Strong men of infallible faith. And in Ratzinger's case, God's leash also.

I hope Papacy changes the Pope, as it touched his worthy predecessor.

Long Live the Holy Pope