Thursday, January 12, 2006

Benedict and Blogsurfing

I have to admit that I said some things that ranged from skepticism to criticism of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger during and just after his election to the papacy. I thought he'd be way too conservative, even to the point of making the Catholic church look not so good (or, in the eyes of some, even worse than it already does). While I still don't expect to see many major reforms under the new Pope, the situation is a lot less dire that I would have thought at first.

For one, Pope Benedict has stayed out of the spotlight, much further away from the public attention that I would have guessed. He hasn't been backward, and he hasn't let the medieval mindset that seems to still permeate the church become the public face too blatantly. True, I don't think that priests will be allowed to be married; I don't think the church will stop emphasizing positions on social issues when it could be focusing a lot more on the positive aspects of its spirituality, like the universality of God. But overall, Benedict has not hurt the church or its the public perception of it.

And my respect for Pope Benedict has dramatically increased after beginning to read his book Truth and Tolerance. After getting only 60 pages into it, and already he's covered mysticism, its relationship to monotheistic religions, the differences between Eastern conceptions of man becoming a part of God as opposed to Judeo-Christian viewpoints of man serving God, the efficacy and righteousness of trying to supplant a culture's religion with a different one, and probably a few more topics that flew over my head. The book revolves around the basic views of Christianity's claim to be the only path to salvation. It's absolutely fascinating, a display that Benedict is a brilliant theologian, and the kind of book that proves this man was a good choice for the papacy.

Side note--he's Pope Benedict now, but when he wrote the book, he was Cardinal Ratzinger, so what's the proper way to refer to the author of that book? Are there any rules about referring to someone who had one title at a certain time and gained a new title, but you want to refer to him at the point where he didn't have the new title?

Either way, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of it and to seeing how he resolves the ultimate issue. Obviously he's going to come down on the side of Christianity being the true path to salvation--that being his job and all--but I'm interested to see how he gets there and especially his response to counterarguments.

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Blogspot has an interesting feature, the "next blog" button at the top-right corner of the blog. Try this out. My top five results for this game are: 1) Political rambling, 2) Fake blogs that redirect you to some other site (usually advertising something), 3) Japanese, 4) Bad poetry, and 5) Blogs from Indonesia or Malaysia (not making that up). Let me know if your random results agree with mine.

1 comment:

nicole said...

my next blog results:
1. book reviews
2. vietnamese
3. christian novelist
4. something with pictures of starving children
5. news about quizno's, titled "toasty subs for all (TSFA)." i have no idea why someone would make a blog about that.

you're right, that was highly amusing :3