Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Lessons from a newly elected pope

by Michael Gregory Steele

White smoke billows. The bells of the Sistene Chapel ring. Habemus Papam! (We have a pope)

Yesterday Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was selected as the 265th pontiff, and took the name Benedict XVI. This was undoubtedly an inspired choice made from within the conclave.

Many people (less learned than I) are still unsure what to make of this new pope, so I will put your minds at ease with some lessons that conservatives and their political leaders can learn from this great man.

1. On Women
"Faced with the abuse of power, the answer for women is to seek power. This process leads to opposition between men and women, in which the identity and role of one are emphasized to the disadvantage of the other, leading to harmful confusion regarding the human person, which has its most immediate and lethal effects in the structure of the family."
I think the political implications of this statement are clear. Our male conservative leaders reluctantly and dutifully seek additional power only when the need arises (the War on Terror, the Patriot Act, Terri Shiavo). Allowing women into political office, and giving them power is just plain dangerous.

Imagine what would happen if a woman (say, Hillary Clinton) became President of these great United States. The confusion of having a woman in the highest office, in regards to roles of men and women, would be enough to tear apart the very moral fabric of this country. Your family would likely dissolve before the end of her first term.

2. On Homosexuality
"when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase."
Well this is something that should come as no surprise to any moral individual such as myself. If we attempt to legislate "gay rights," then we open the door for all kinds of deviant behavior -- man on dog or gay dog on straight dog or even dog on cat!

If we start giving homosexuals rights, then people who don't particularly care for gay people (some call them homophobic, I call them principled) may react violently. If our leaders do choose to continue to go down this path of government sanctioned homosexual acceptance, they must also legislate laws to protect those who react violently to these new gay laws. We really can't blame these people for lashing out, they were simply born violent, it's who they are.

3. On Voting
"A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. "
This sound fine and good, but what if you disagreed with the Vatican's position on the War in Iraq? (John Paul II called the war a "Defeat for humanity") What if you voted for George W. Bush in part because of his brave actions in Iraq, would this too be a sin? Don't worry, the very wise Joseph Ratzinger has all of us covered on this one.
"Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion."
In short Ratzinger's message is vote Republican or find yourself burning in eternal hellfire.

I think you can now see that that Pope Benedict XVI is a brilliantly inspired man of God. I would even go so far as to call him Steele-esque in his moral clarity. Whatever your brand of Christianity, you can learn nearly as much from this new pope, as you would by reading this very blog.

Viva el Papa!
(long live the Pope)


At April 20, 2005 11:48 AM, Blogger dax said...

Great commentary!

At June 19, 2005 7:45 PM, Blogger Michael Gregory Steele said...

I agree.

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