Emergency Update: Pope Still Catholic

This just in: the Catholic Church had the audacity to choose a believer as their next Pope …

Steven Taylor over at PoliBlogger points us to a few posts by law professor and practicing Catholic Professor Bainbridge (either he has tenure or isn’t clever enough to come up with a name like Professor Chaos), who mocks the media coverage of the selection of “ultra-conservative” Cardinal Ratzinger as the new Pope.

A few comments: first, if you aren’t Catholic, then perhaps this is none of your business. Second, this is what many Catholics around the globe seek — a new Pope who will continue with tradition and traditional morality in the face of some ill-defined, post-modern, liberal, anything-goes dogma. Third, if you don’t like it, as James pretty much said in a previous post, the Episcopalian church is accepting new members.

After all, it’s the Catholic Church, not some Womyn’s Studies department.

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About Leopold Stotch
“Dr. Leopold Stotch” was the pseudonym of political science professor then at a major research university inside the beltway. He has a PhD in International Relations. He contributed 165 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and February 2006.


  1. Hal says:

    Yea, that Martin Luther was such a feminist.

  2. Timmer says:

    I am Catholic and if the tradition and traditional morality you speak of includes the continued silence and colusion of Rome when it comes to the pedophiles and sadists that ran our churches and schools in the inner cities…you can bet your a$$ I’ll take my family and my money elsewhere.


  3. Kate says:

    Catholics and others who do not like the Catholic church are always welcome in the church if they have a change of heart. Otherwise, they may start their own church, or join one of many other Protestant, Jewish, Muslim or other sects where they may shape that institition to their hearts’ content. It’s my church and I don’t want it changed, thank you.

  4. Timmer says:

    Apologies for calling you a tool. Hadn’t had my coffee yet. You think I would have learned by now.

    The rest of my post I stand behind. Rome must acknowledge the wrongdoings and quit rewarding the guilty…otherwise they have no moral authority whatsoever.

    Just my opinion…could be wrong…they couldn’t beat it out of me in grade school either.

  5. Kate says:

    Hey Timmer, Rome MUST change to accomodate you? Somehow I don’t think the church heirarchy base their decisions on your or any other popular opinion.

    If you were hurt as a little boy, sorry about that. Move on.Remember the adults in your life then were also flawed human beings, just like you (and I) are now that we are adults. Peace.

  6. Hal says:

    Wow! Move on! Now I’ve heard everything.

    Move on from pedophilia. Move on from collusion to suppress and hide it.

    Now THAT is an attitude Christ would be proud of.

  7. Dave 9000 says:

    Move on from pedophilia. Move on from collusion to suppress and hide it.

    I’m afraid I can’t do that, Hal.

  8. Attila Girl says:

    A lot of the actions taken by bishops and cardinals 30-40 years ago in dealing with priests who had this problem was based on the advice of psychologists, who did not understand at the time how static pedophilia was–that it couldn’t be changed.

    Our understanding has moved forward since then, but we can’t judge the actions of people decades ago by our standards and knowledge today.

  9. Anderson says:

    first, if you aren’t Catholic, then perhaps this is none of your business.

    I don’t appreciate the notion that non-RCC Christians should be indifferent to who the pope is and what he stands for. You may reject the notion that there’s even such a thing as a “non-RCC Christian,” of course.

  10. legion says:

    I think Anderson has a point… As a Cardinal, Ratzinger advocated withholding communion, not just from pro-choice politicians, but even from individuals who happened to vote for a non-anti-abortion candidate. That’s trying to force Catholic dogma into my country’s laws, and that _makes_ it my business.

  11. ken says:

    Like any human institution the Catholic Church has good people and bad people. Pope John Paul II was basically a good person. He had his faults, as do we all. But even without the church he would have been fighting the good fight. In other words he didn’t need the church to know right from wrong. But the church certainly needed him. The problem though is that, as the infallible Pope, it is practically impossible to see and correct ones own faults and by surrounding himself with yes men he guaranteed no one would point them out. God rest his soul.

    Ratzinger on the other hand is basically a bad person wearing a veneer of Catholicism to cover up his nature. I could easily see him, if he lived in an age without the church, as a druid priest offering up human sacrifices and making war on his neighboring villages. God help us all.

  12. Kate says:

    Legion, Ken

    No one, not even Pope Benedict, can force you to follow Catholic or any other teaching. All that we ask as decent people, if that if you don’t like it, you find yourself some other church where you are permitted to shape your theology as you like. A lot of Catholics would applaud your leaving and some brethren on the other side would greet you warmly.

    That wasn’t pedophilia operating in the church, it was homosexuality. Seminaries thought that homosexuals, like other people, could be chaste, but too many of them were unable to control their sexuality. I find this quite common in the gay community. Kate

  13. ken says:

    Kste, wouldn’t we, as decent people, be better off inviting people like Ratzinger to leave our church than having bad people like Ratzinger try to drive us all out?

  14. legion says:

    No one, not even Pope Benedict, can force you to follow Catholic or any other teaching.

    Unfortunately, Kate, that’s exactly my issue… I have no problem whatsoever with how the Catholic Church deals with its own followers – if they don’t like it, they’re free to find a church that meets their needs. And I can at least understand the pressure they put on Catholic elected officials to follow doctrine – if they can’t balance the teachings of their church with the job of representing their constituents, they shouldn’t be in politics to begin with.

    But when the church goes so far as to sanction individuals who don’t support one political candidate over another, _solely_ on their adherence to _one single tenet_ of faith (aside: why abortion? why not the death penalty? why not helping the poor? but that’s another debate…), then you’re crossing the line in a big way.

    If my religion doesn’t prohibit abortion, and Roe v. Wade is overturned by Catholic adherents in Congress or the courts, then you’re wrong, Kate – the Pope _has_ just forced me to follow Catholic teaching.

    Let me put it another way… If Israel started a campaign to outlaw pork in the US, and started refusing services to Jewish politicians that didn’t support the ban, and to regular Jews who didn’t support anti-pork politicians, there would be hell to pay. And don’t tell me I’m being hyperbolic with that scenario – tell me how it’s any different from the situation we’re debating right now. I’m surprised more non-Catholic christians aren’t outraged by this.

  15. Kate says:


    You can still in America vote for anyone you want, and if you persuade enough others tod o likewise, you can have it all your way. Wil anything satisfy you?

  16. legion says:

    Kate –
    Yes. The Catholic church (or any organized faith, for that matter) deciding to either stay in the pulpit & out of politics or to give up their tax-free status & become regulated as a PAC. They cannot have it both ways.

    Lobbying to have temporal laws changed to reflect any one religion’s doctrinal laws is an absolute Pandora’s Box, and not acceptable behavior by any faith. Even if people vote for it, it’s still unconstitutional. And considering the ire on both sides of the aisle over the idea of an Amendment to ban gay marriage, I don’t think anyone (anyone sane, that is) wants to see the ugliness that would result from debating an Amendment barring abortion.

    Like him or hate him, I believe Kerry handled it best in one of the debates – when asked about abortion & his Catholicism, he replied that whatever his personal beliefs, he did not have the right or authority to force those beliefs on others. If people think abortions are wrong, don’t have one, and raise your children the same way. Just don’t ask the government to raise everyone’s children in your faith.

    Getting church dogma (not just the Catholics; no faith has the right to force others onto its path) out of politics. That would satisfy me.

  17. Kate says:

    I on the other hand do not fear the “ugliness” of debating abortion or gay marriage. Nor should you, if you are so certain that most people agree with you.

    Everyone at all times uses his or her moral judgement to assess any and every situation. Why do you insist that only Catholics and others who oppose your pet beliefs be obliged to keep our mouths shut? I believe in the freedom of free ideas openly supported or opposed, that is the American way, and I will not give up my freedom of speech or ideas to you or anyone else. Welcome to the Public Square

  18. legion says:

    I on the other hand do not fear the “ugliness” of debating abortion or gay marriage. Nor should you, if you are so certain that most people agree with you.

    Ahh, but I don’t think most people agree with me on these issues. Nor do I think they agree with you. The general impression I have is that the public is fairly evenly divided on both these issues, yet each side feels very strongly about its position. Hence the potential for very unproductive agruing, rather than any reasonable, useful discussion or debate.

    And also, I absolutely don’t belive Catholics (or others whose faith I don’t follow) should be muzzled. But there’s a diffrence between the Public Square and the Bully Pulpit. You have every right to live by the tenets of your faith, and to discuss same openly. But you don’t have the right to force other people to live by those same tenets. You have the right to tell me how great your religion is, and I have the right to follow a different path. And attempting to get elected officials to make religious laws into temporal laws is frankly scary.

    And this isn’t about majority rule, either… most laws aren’t put in place by a majority vote of ordinary citizens; they’re written and enacted by representatives. If I’m a multi-billion dollar organization (religion, corporation, whatever), and I co-opt a few key individuals to my way of thinking, I can pass whatever whack-ass laws I want, regardless of the interests of the citizens they’re supposed to represent. Maybe those guys won’t get re-elected next time, but they’ll be well compensated for the trouble. Maybe the laws will get kicked back by the courts, but by then a lot of damage will be done. It easier, fairer, and more sensible to nip those problems in the bud.

    And that’s why we still need separation of Church and State. Not to keep prayer out of school, not to take ‘In God We Trust’ off the currency, not to keep people from having prayers before meetings – that’s all window dressing I personally don’t care about. But when the State begins enforcing religious laws, we’re all doomed.

  19. Jack Tanner says:

    legion –

    you may think Kerry handled it well but apparently many Catholics did not. He lost the white Catholic vote by 13 points. The problem with the Kerry/Kennedy sect of election season Catholicism is that it’s not 1960 anymore and more Catholics want candidates who actually adhere to church teachings not merely self identify as Catholic and show up to church for photo-ops.

  20. Kate says:

    Upon docking, they scan for life and detect nothing. Soon, however, get the uneasy feeling that they are being followed and watched. A strange being then descends in a lift – a “man” clad in tight green spandex and sporting a strange silver mask. This being introduces himself as “Legion”, and bids them welcome. Legion explains that he was the construct of the most brilliant men in history, and states he is hopefully as useful and brilliant as them, hence the security for the station of the reality bubbles. He proceeds to demonstrate this superior intellect by commenting that Rimmer was an “old” hologram, using soft light.

    Ah yes. And wasn’t there a demon named Legion?

    Talk all you like, and threaten all you like, I do not force my opinions on anyone, but I will not be shut out of the public square because you and your ilk do not like what I say.If you don’t believe in democracy, how do you suggest our laws be formulated? By those like you, of superior intellect?

    I prefer democracy thank you.

  21. legion says:

    I love Red Dwarf as much as the next geek, but you’ve completely confused me. I haven’t threatened anyone here, nor have I suggested you (or Catholics, or religious people in general) should be shut out of the Public Square. Nor have I ever suggested that I am somehow ‘more fit’ to determine laws than anyone else. Nor that I am ‘against Democracy’.

    In fact, if you go back over my concerns, I’m arguing exactly the opposite – that a small group of people who consider themselves the sole arbiters of moral judgement should absolutely _not_ be allowed to make our laws for us.

    The whole point of religious freedom is that you and I can each choose our own path, without being coerced onto a different one. And making the rules of one religion into laws that apply to everyone, regardless of their faith, destroys Democracy.

    I don’t think I’m superior to you, Kate, or anyone else here. And I would never attempt to shut you out. I don’t know how things got so confused, but your last comment describes exactly the opposite of everything I’ve tried to say in this thread.