Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Bashing the pope

In The Chronicle of Higher Education, Carlin Romano makes a poor argument for viewing the new pope with suspicion ("The Pope's Sins of Omission"). The disdain is unveiled.

Are the invectives fair? Yes or no, they implicate the new pope's character, not just his theological beliefs. Ratzinger's elevation to Pope Benedict XVI propelled two controversial parts of his life into the spotlight. The first was his membership as a young man in the Hitler Youth, then in the antiaircraft youth division of the Wehrmacht, later in the Wehrmacht infantry itself.

The second was his 24 years as prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or CDF, charged with investigating and sometimes punishing Catholic faculty members and priests accused of departing from Church teachings. That office directly descends from the Roman Inquisition that burned at the stake approximately 160 people, including the philosopher Giordano Bruno, between 1542 and 1761.

C'mon. You may disagree with the new pope, but at least give him a chance to prove himself in his new office. Comparing him to the Inquisition is unfair and betrays the author's own prejudices.

If failing to speak (60 years ago, and as a child no less) loudly enough against the evil actions of the Nazis is a direct indicator of the nature of a person's soul, then there are many more in America alone who should be condemned by Romano as well.

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