So we've got a new Pope. He's from Germany. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict the XVI. And I'm really excited about this guy. Because he's an academic. A thinker.
It seems many people aren't too excited - they're afraid he's too conservative, and they were hoping for a Pope who'd "modernize" the church, and change Its teachings on birthcontrol and abortion and same-sex marriage and such.
It doesn't look like Benedict XVI will do that. But, what he probably will do, is put forth, in an accessible and intelligent way, the rationale behind the Catholic teachings. Because our new Pope is a man who knows those reasons, who understands them and believes them. The Catholic Church has a reason for teaching that birth control, divorce, and same-sex marriage (and all the others) are sins. The Church doesn't just pick doctrine willy-nilly. I look forward to having a leader who can expertly voice the Church's rationale.
One of the interesting things about all those who wanted a more liberal Pope, who would change doctrine, is that these are typically people who have their minds made up about those doctrinal issues. For example, people who wanted the Pope to change the birth control teaching feel that birth control shouldn't be classified as sinful. But how often do these people actually know the reasons behind the Church's teaching? How often do they confront the underlying issues that give rise to the Church's position? How often do these people even put forth any reason for wanting the teaching altered? In my experience, very, very, rarely. The people who want the teachings changed aren't people who have thought about it - they're people who simply don't want to be told that they're sinning.
For most people, when they say "I think the Church should change it's teaching on such-and-such" what they really mean is "I want to do such-and-such and not feel bad about it." Hopefully having an intellectual Pope will confront this sad phenomena.
We wouldn't have to eat Kraft Dinner