It’s been a couple days now since the elation and joy in the election of our new Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, formerly known as Cardinal Josef Ratzinger. Or as some in the media called him, the arch-conservative, rigid, authoritarian, pit-bull watchdog, grand inquisitor prefect of the CDF. Most of these people have never read any of his books or know anything of substance concerning his personality and views.
Many cafeteria Catholics were hoping for a more “liberal” Pope who would tell them it’s alright to contracept, abort, euthanize, ordain women, etc. My question is, if they already did or supported these things with JP2, what difference would it make to them if they got someone else as pope? Did they want a cafeteria Catholic pope? I mean, the Pope is supposed to be the Rock, as successor of St. Peter, Cephas, the Rock of Matthew 16:16-19. When all the other disciples were using popular opinion to understand who Jesus was, only Peter understood that our faith in Christ should not be the shifting sands of “modernism”. If Jesus himself were elected Pope last Tuesday, there would be outrage that he was too old-fashioned, or not a good listener.
No matter who was selected pope, if you believe and trust in Christ, he would not have let the Church fall into error. This is why the hopes of those who wanted a pope to change infallible truths is so hopeless. Our hope lies in Christ, who said he is the Truth and that his words would never pass away and that he would guide the Church unto all truth.
John Paul II’s passing and the outpouring of affection that filled Rome and the world for this servant of God really made an impact on the electors. The Holy Spirit moved them to understand that the Church needs a shepherd who can challenge the world with the message of the Gospel.
St. Benedict, this pope’s namesake, is the patron of Europe; he helped evangelize Europe with the spread of the monastic life. It is time now to re-Christianize Europe, to stir the hearts of complacent Christians, to bring back the lost sheep who have drifted away in a culture of secularism and relativism.
I pray and hope that Benedict XVI can have the energy, wisdom, and perservence to fight the good fight. He needs to evangelize and pastor and reach out and always be a Rock.