Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pope Watch

The Washington Post is covering this historic event very thoroughly.

The Amercian Conservative discusses the audacity of the Pope.
Ratzinger is thought to have chosen his papal name in honor of St. Benedict, the founder of the monastic order that re-energized the evangelization of Europe. Benedict XVI has visited Poland, Germany, France, Turkey, and rapidly modernizing Brazil. In addition to his venture in America, he will also go to Australia in 2008. It is clear that Pope Benedict’s priority is to fight the growing secularism of the developed world. And to do that, he needs America’s loyal army of Christian soldiers, both Catholic and Protestant.

That said, American religiosity is very far from conforming to what the pope would consider the Christian ideal. A recent Pew survey found that Americans switch religion almost as readily as they move home. Most worryingly for Rome, one in every ten U.S. citizens is a lapsed Catholic. Among those who do practice, there is an energetic and devout core of faithful followers, yet many self-described Catholics make little attempt to live their lives according to the teachings of their Church. Benedict XVI naturally finds this lax approach to the faith disturbing. Before he became pope, Cardinal Ratzinger said that he would rather the Church was a smaller community of devout believers than a large mass of vague and uncommitted Christians.

Yet Benedict’s message to Americans will not be pessimistic. This is a pope whose last encyclical was entitled Saved in Hope. And it is quite possible that he thinks of America, despite all its flaws and foreign policy failings, as still the last best hope of earth.


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