Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Habemus Papem, etc.

So there's a new pope. Of course, I'm officially more than 24 hours behind the news curve because of the aforementioned upgrades, which in blogging time means it's about time to bring this news out to the field and shoot it. Moving on...

Yes, the Benedict XVI was a Nazi. But then, the list of men in Germany in the 1940s who weren't Nazis is probably a short and manageable one. So I think it's pretty irrelevant. Young men were basically conscripted in to the HJ and the Army, especially at the end of the war. What I find more interesting is the fact that he was by all accounts an unenthusiastic Nazi who deserted and surrendered to Americans. Desertion in wartime, for any army, was punishable by death back then. Even if he thought he could get away with it, it was a ballsy thing to do.

As a Cardinal, Ratzinger was a progressive early on, but befriended Karol Wojtyla and became known as the Vatican's "Enforcer", both colloquially and formally - he led the successor body to the Spanish Inquisition (No Monty Python jokes, please) and is widely believed to have co-authored (at least) John Paul II's most controversial and divisive statements. This is where it gets a bit odd, to my mind.

Wojtyla and Ratzinger both experienced Nazism (though admittedly from different sides.) Wojtyla further suffered behind the Iron Curtain. These men, then, should be very familiar with what is and is not an "Ideology of Evil." But they used exactly those words to describe gay marriage in the previous Pope's final writing. Now, I may be missing something, but gay marriage seems yet to have brought us extermination camps, a Gulag Archipelago, a war against the Kulaks or Poland, so what the hell gives?

In any case, Benedict XVI is an old man, and is certainly unlikely to have a long reign like that of his predecessor. Frankly, I can't say that distresses me.

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