April 21, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI:

From what little I know, it appears that by electing Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope, the College of Cardinals has once again honored another outstanding man, but, as is their custom, a different kind of exceptional individual than the last Pope.

One interesting parallel, however, is that in 1978, the Cardinals elected a man from Poland, which turned out to be a key nation in rectifying the catastrophe of Eastern Europe that began in 1917. Today, they elected a man from Germany, which was at the center of the Western European catastrophe from 1914-1945. Moreover, in recent years, it has become increasingly clear that the current Western European malaise is exemplified by and centered in the perpetual, never-to-be-forgiven guilt of Western Europe's largest nation. (See, for instance, the Sunday Times of London's article from two days ago, "Papal hopeful is a former Hitler Youth," for a typical example.)

By electing a German, and a German who had turned 18 before the end of WWII, who had been a (highly unenthusiastic conscript) solider in the German military, the Cardinals are signaling that the guilt that has, more than anything else, corroded contemporary Europe is individual and thus mortal, not racial and eternal.

A reader writes:

Well, let's hope so... However, Ratzinger's German origin may make it impossible for him to address the immigration crisis in Europe.

Perhaps the election of an Italian Pope would have allowed for more Papal leadership in resisting Islamic immigration. There are lots of people who hate Germany and Germans so much that (they think) they'd like to see Germany overwhelmed by immigrants (of course, they will be rudely surprised by the consequences when their wish comes true), but almost nobody hates Italy and Italians that much. So, a German Pope might be constrained by anti-Germanism.

UPDATE: Good news! James Taranto of the WSJ's "Worst of the Web" blog is mad at the new Pope for opposing Turkish entry into the European Union. In an item entitled "Is Pope Neoconservative?" Taranto writes:

"The new pope does seem to be reactionary on one matter, however. According to the Washington Post, "he publicly cautioned Europe against admitting Turkey to the European Union and wrote a letter to bishops around the world justifying that stand on the grounds that the continent is essentially Christian in nature."

The horror, the horror!

As for whether Benedict XVI is a neocon or not, well, he hasn't invaded a country by mistake yet, so I say he's innocent until proven guilty.

Catholic World News reported last August:

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said in an interview released on Wednesday that Turkey should seek to join Islamic nations rather than attempt to join the European Union. The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told France's Le Figaro magazine that Turkey had always been "in permanent contrast to Europe," and that it should look to its roots for closer associations.

"In the course of history, Turkey has always represented a different continent, in permanent contrast to Europe," Ratzinger told the magazine, noting that the history of Ottoman Empire, which once invaded Europe as far as Vienna. "Making the two continents identical would be a mistake," he said. "It would mean a loss of richness, the disappearance of the cultural to the benefit of economics." The born cardinal said Turkey "could try to set up a cultural continent with neighboring Arab countries and become the leading figure of a culture with its own identity."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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