New Pope, Old Ideas
April 21, 2005 9:31 AM
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, John Paul II’s chief theological adviser for 20 years, was elected pope Tuesday in the first conclave of the new millennium.
The successor to Pope John Paul II, who will be the head of the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics, chose the name Benedict XVI, which comes from the Latin for “blessing", and pledged Wednesday to work for unity among Christians and to seek "an open and sincere dialogue" with other religions.
SF State students shared their opinions on the new pope and the Church’s choice of him.
Some SF State students do no agree with Benedict’s conservative position- similarly to John Paul- on issues such as priests being allowed to marry, women being accepted into the priesthood, homosexuality and birth control.
Liz DeGong, 24, an English literature major, said she does not agree with some of the Pope’s stances on issues such as birth control, but she said she understands and respects the Church’s position.
“I think it’s a problem [Pope’s position on birth control] because it shows distaste for women who want to control their reproductive system,” DeGong said.
“But I have a hard time in judging those who are against it,” DeGong said.
Professor Felix Curry, a Bible Christian Fellowship representative, said electing a pope who is so conservative is a nonsense.
“The Catholic Church is undermining the liberal sector of it,” Curry said. “They [Church representatives] are out of reality.”
Some said they think it is too early to give an opinion on the new pope.
Joyce Liou, a Christian Students representative and Chinese language professor, said people have different points of view on issues such as birth control and she said it is too early to give an opinion
“We have to see what he really practices first,” Liou said. “Then we can comment on him. I do not think it’s fair to judge him now,” Liou said.
Others said they cannot give their opinion on Benedict since they do not know enough about him yet.
“I’m not knowledgeable to talk about the new Pope, but I think it would be best if a more progressive Pope was elected,” said music major Thomas Puhek, 19.
The traditional Latin Mass was held less than 24 hours after 115 cardinals from 52 countries elected the 265th pope.
Benedict often referred to John Paul II during his message and promised to continue his legacy and to use the Second Vatican Council (The thrust of the council in 1965 was to make the Catholic Church more accessible to everyone) as the foundation for spreading the Gospel to the world.
Benedict is critical of progressive Catholicism and tendencies he considers a problem to the faith such as liberalism, atheism, agnosticism, Marxism, and relativism-- which does not recognize anything as absolute truth.
Benedict has been one of the strongest Vatican voices for Catholic missionary work. He was involved with the 2000 document "Dominus Iesus," which outlined the Catholic Church as the only way to salvation, which angered Protestants, Muslims, Jews and other non-Christians.
The new pope served as archbishop of Munich, Germany, and since 1981 led the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the office that officially supervises "the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world," according to the Vatican.
John Paul gained an extraordinary popularity over a 26-year pontificate, in which he made 104 international trips and Benedict will have to decide whether he will travel as much or not.
The new pope is the oldest elected since Clement XII, who was elected in 1730 at 78, but was three months older than Benedict. He is the first pope from German in nearly 1,000 years- the last pope from the country was Victor II, bishop of Eichstatt, who reigned from 1055-57.
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