Friday, April 13, 2007

More Pope bashing....

Carl Olsen over at Insight Scoop has "This weeks winner" for angry skewed attacks on B16. Although the art piece I mention below I think may compete on another level of outrage.

On his upcoming trek to the Brazilian town of Aparecida do Norte, he plans to huddle with regional prelates worried about their declining influence, the growth of evangelicals and local moves to legalize gay unions and abortion. The pope should choose his words carefully; on one of his last trips, to his native Germany, he sparked a firestorm when he quoted in passing scathing comments about the Prophet Muhammad. Within days Benedict was being burned in effigy. He can expect a warmer greeting in South America. But there's no denying he's been a disappointment to many faithful there and elsewhere. Some U.S. Catholics condemn him as aloof, Europeans resent his intrusions into their affairs and he's never been popular in Latin America. The region, home to 450 million Catholics, had hoped to see one of its own succeed John Paul. Many there have felt ignored by the man who ultimately did.

Part of the problem is style. The last pope was a former parish priest who recast himself as an international player (he spoke eight languages, including Spanish and Portuguese). Benedict is a colorless academic who spent much of his career teaching theology and philosophy. "This is a professor, a quiet man, not an actor skilled in politics," says the American theologian Michael Novak. "[People] should not judge him by the standards of John Paul II." ...

But Benedict's emphasis hasn't won him many fans. Just before his ascension, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger warned Italians that "Europe has developed a culture that ... excludes God from the public conscience," and last month he decried Europeans' "dangerous individualism." Also last month, Italy's bishops came out against the country's attempt to extend rights to gay and unmarried couples. Such moves have rankled politicians—one parliamentarian has warned Benedict against imposing a "clerical dictatorship" in Italy—and many of the faithful. "Ratzinger is getting too intrusive on [subjects] such as civil rights for unwed couples and is too out of date," says Milanese housewife Maria Novella Dall'Aglio.


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