Tuesday, April 19, 2005

pope benedict xvi

the next pope has been chosen.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, a hard-line guardian of conservative doctrine, was elected the new pope Tuesday evening in the first conclave of the new millennium. He chose the name Pope Benedict XVI and called himself "a simple, humble worker."

those of us who were that a new pope might have more rational views on important sexual and reproductive issues (condoms, for example) will have to wait for the next pope, it seems:

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, whose strong defence of Catholic orthodoxy has earned him a variety of sobriquets — including “the enforcer”, “the panzer cardinal” and “God’s rottweiler” — is expected to poll around 40 votes in the first ballot as conservatives rally behind him.

he has a bit of a checkered past, as well:

In 1937 Ratzinger’s father retired and the family moved to Traunstein, a staunchly Catholic town in Bavaria close to the F├╝hrer’s mountain retreat in Berchtesgaden. He joined the Hitler Youth aged 14, shortly after membership was made compulsory in 1941.

He quickly won a dispensation on account of his training at a seminary. “Ratzinger was only briefly a member of the Hitler Youth and not an enthusiastic one,” concluded John Allen, his biographer.

Two years later Ratzinger was enrolled in an anti-aircraft unit that protected a BMW factory making aircraft engines. The workforce included slaves from Dachau concentration camp.

Ratzinger has insisted he never took part in combat or fired a shot — adding that his gun was not even loaded — because of a badly infected finger. He was sent to Hungary, where he set up tank traps and saw Jews being herded to death camps. He deserted in April 1944 and spent a few weeks in a prisoner of war camp.

He has since said that although he was opposed to the Nazi regime, any open resistance would have been futile — comments echoed this weekend by his elder brother Georg, a retired priest ordained along with the cardinal in 1951.

sure, like it says, membership in the hitler youth was compulsory... it's not like he enlisted or anything. and if he later deserted, then obviously he wasn't an enthusiastic one, as his biographer says. but still, instead of open resistance to the nazi regime, he chose silent complicity.

he's also a member of opus dei, a secretive, arch-conservative organization that some people say is downright cult-like.

so catholics, no condoms for you.