Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI

When I first saw the newly elected pope emerging on the balcony, he freaked me out a little. He seemed to look a little vampiric. However, trying not to be one who judges on outward appearance, I have decided to look into what the Roman Catholic denomination, the wider family of the Church, and the world in general can expect from this man.

Newsnight was very interesting, notably for the comments of a member of the RC clergy who was involved in a debate with a woman about this very subject. The woman was arguing strongly that the cardinals had let the world down by electing an ultra-conservative pope. The priest came back with a very valid comment. He argued that the duty of a pope isn't to be liberal or conservative, that shouldn't even come into the equation when choosing a new pope. A pope should be chosen because he is faithful to God.
Isn't that the truth for all of us as Christians? We don't have a duty to any political leaning within church ideology, we only have ONE duty... to be faithful to God.
John 6:28,29 "Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”"
Our actions and beliefs should be directed by the one God sent... Jesus Christ. We need to be sensitive to God's Word and the presence of the Holy Spirit if we are to do that. Our ideologies should be shaped by our beliefs, not the other way round.
The new pope has suggested that his primary goal will be to unite all Christians, and while this is noble... the simple fact is, true Christians are already united through the Holy Spirit and the grace of God, oh yes we may differ on the odd doctrine here and there, and we may worship in different denominations... but those of us who have genuine faith are not divided against those we recognise as brothers.
I watch with interest to see how his interpretation of what he said, is acted out. It could be good or bad.
I was looking at the Beeb website today. the new pope strongly disagrees with the philosophy of relativism, and I have to say in principle I'm in agreement with him. However I'm not a rigid absolutist by any means. I believe there most truths are absolutely certain as a Christian, but I also believe God allows for flexibility on certain issues.
I see the Law and life like a skeleton. Structured enough to keep everything together as should be, but flexible enough not to be completely isolationist.

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