New Pope Benedict XVI a Strong Critic of War

OK -- I was wrong to get ad hominem about Il Papa (or does that mean "The Potato?") whichever -- when he denounced Evolutionary Theory in what seemed a turnaround from what I, an unbeliever, had come to understand was the position of the Holy Roman Church ("We're a mystery religion -- we don't presume to know HOW God did it.")

I was wrong to throw verbal fecal matter at the man himself when it was a policy statement with which I disagreed. Since I am NOT a member of the club, "infallible" is not something I find possible in this world ... just think about how much George W Bush acts as if he is.

But this article in the Houston Catholic Worker(by Michael Griffin of the Catholic Peace Fellowship) shows me he is either:

(1) A man cast in the mold of the traditional saints and martyrs who holds firmly to his faith and his principles regardless of the intensity of any and all attempts to sway him away from them, or

(2) A rigid ideologue who refuses to change.

Actually, the two may be the same thing, depending on whether or not you agree with the person in question.

In this case, I find the former (#1) to be appropriate. He is perhaps the ONLY person in the world who could say these things and not be denounced as "partisan," because it is obvious he is speaking from principle and established dogma.

Of course this tells me he will also be as absolute in his opposition to a woman's right to make choices about her reproductive options, but, unlike our reptilian president, the new pope seems to be a person one can respect, even when in heated disagreement with him.

He are some excerpts from the article:

"The election of Benedict XVI as pope brings hope for the continuation of peacemaking as central to the papacy. Just as John Paul II cried out again and again to the world, "War never again!" the new pope has taken the name of the one who first made that cry, Benedict XV, commonly known as "the peace pope..."

As a Cardinal, the new pope was a staunch critic of the U.S. led invasion of Iraq. On one occasion before the war, he was asked whether it would be just. "Certainly not," he said, and explained that the situation led him to conclude that "the damage would be greater than the values one hopes to save..."

Even after the war began, Cardinal Ratzinger did not cease criticism of U.S. violence and imperialism: "it was right to resist the war and its threats of destruction...It should never be the responsibility of just one nation to make decisions for the world."

"There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a 'just war'..."

...perhaps what upset U.S. neoconservatives most, that John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger did not show more deference to the state. Perhaps because of their own experience with violent regimes, they seemed to grasp the biblical axiom from the Acts of the Apostles: "we must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29)

Such a decision to not obey men nearly cost the young Joseph Ratzinger his life. In 1945 he made the decision to desert his post in the German army. When he was spotted and stopped by SS troops, he could have been shot on the spot. They did not, using his wound (his arm was in a sling) as an excuse. Yet in his memoir, Milestones, Ratzinger gives the deeper reason for his escape from death. Those soldiers, he wrote, "had enough of war and did not want to become murderers."

So it comes back to that -- the person who has seen war on his own land (as did John Paul II, and also the French, the Russians, and the Germans) is not as fast or glib in making a decision to resort to mass killing.

Perhaps this Pope will make it clear that being opposed to war is NOT a partisan stance.


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