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New Pope Vows to Work to Unify Christians
Yahoo News ^ | April 20, 2005 | NICOLE WINFIELD

Posted on 04/20/2005 5:48:07 AM PDT by NYer

VATICAN CITY -

Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday pledged to work to unify all Christians, reach out to other religions and continue implementing reforms from the Second Vatican Council as he outlined his goals and made clear his pontificate would closely follow the trajectory of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, listed top priorities of his papacy in a message read in Latin to cardinals gathered in the Sistine Chapel for the first Mass celebrated by the 265th leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

He said his "primary task" would be to work to reunify all Christians and that sentiment alone was not enough. "Concrete acts that enter souls and move consciences are needed," he said.

The new pope said he wanted to continue "an open and sincere dialogue" with other religions and would do everything in his power to improve the ecumenical cause.

The message was clearly designed to show that Benedict was intent on following many of the groundbreaking paths charted by John Paul, who had made reaching out to other religions and trying to heal the 1,000-year-old schism in Christianity a hallmark of his pontificate.

Benedict referred to his predecessor several times in his message, including a reference to the late pope's final will, where John Paul said he hoped new generations would draw on the work of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meeting that modernized the church.

"I too ... want to affirm with decisive willingness to follow in the commitment of carrying out the Second Vatican Council, in the wake of my predecessors and in faithful continuity with the 2,000-year-old tradition of the church," he said.

John Paul supported council reforms but cracked down on what both men considered excesses spawned by the changes, including calls for priests to be allowed to marry and admission of women into the priesthood.

The Vatican's hard-line enforcer of church orthodoxy under John Paul II for almost 25 years, Benedict had gone into the two-day conclave as a favorite. He was elected Tuesday as the oldest pontiff in 275 years and the first Germanic pope in almost a millennium.

A cheering crowd of more than 100,000 welcomed Benedict when he stepped onto the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica as dusk fell Tuesday and gave his first blessing as pope. By contrast, St. Peter's Square was nearly empty early Wednesday, although by the end of the Mass a few hundred had gathered to watch on giant TV screens.

"We greet our Pope Benedict XVI," read a poster toted by teens from a high school in Handrup, Germany, who were in the square when his black Mercedes convertible, its top up and Vatican flags flying, zipped into and out of his former offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Benedict said he had been surprised by his election, and German Cardinal Joachim Meisner told reporters late Tuesday that he had looked "a little forlorn" when he went to change into his papal vestments in the Room of Tears — so nicknamed because many new pontiffs get choked up there, realizing the enormity of their mission.

Meisner added: "By the time dinner came around, Ratzinger was looking much better and very much like the pope."

Benedict asked cardinals to dine together on bean soup, cold cuts, a salad and fruit, Meisner said. The nuns who prepare their meals at the Vatican hotel where the cardinals were sequestered during the conclave didn't have time to plan a special menu, so there were only two special treats — ice cream and champagne.

In his first words as pope delivered from the loggia overlooking the square, Benedict paid tribute in accented Italian to "the great John Paul II." He called himself "a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord."

It was a sign of John Paul's charismatic legacy looming over the new pontiff, who is described by people who know him as intellectual, cultured and rather reserved.

Benedict said Wednesday he felt John Paul's presence as he wrestled with two conflicting emotions following the election: thanks to God for the gift of being pope but also "a sense of inadequacy" in carrying out the responsibility.

"I seem to feel his strong hand holding mine, I feel I can see his smiling eyes and hear his words, at this moment particularly directed at me: 'Be not afraid.'"

Benedict, who turned 78 on Saturday, is the oldest pope elected since Clement XII in 1730. His age clearly was a factor among cardinals who favored a "transitional" pope who could skillfully lead the church as it absorbs John Paul II's legacy, rather than a younger cardinal who could wind up with another long pontificate.

His election in four ballots over two days concluded one of the shortest conclaves in 100 years.

A conservative on issues such as homosexuality, the ordination of women and lifting the celibacy requirement for priests, Benedict has led the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — a position he used to discipline church dissidents and uphold church policy against attempts at reform by liberals and activist priests.

His background was clearly on the minds of cardinals a day after the election.

"God has taken the most unusual people and placed them in places of authority, power if you will, and used them for his purposes," said American Cardinal Adam Maida. "So I believe that Cardinal Ratzinger, with all his gifts and talents and even some of his shortcomings, will somehow be able to reach others."

British Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor suggested Ratzinger might temper some of his positions, at least publicly, because of the office he now holds.

"The pope now has a platform and a place he didn't have before. Now he has much wider responsibilities, and I think he's aware of that," Murphy-O'Connor said, adding that Ratzinger was elected "notwithstanding his age."

Joy over the selection of a new pope immediately mixed with worries that Benedict could polarize a global church, whose challenges include growing secularism in rich countries and inroads by evangelical groups in regions such as Latin America.

"He could be a wedge rather than a unifier for the church," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of the Jesuit weekly magazine America.

Evelyn Strauch, a 54-year-old housewife from Ratzinger's home state of Bavaria, buried her head in her hands and wept as she stood in St. Peter's.

"This can't be true," she said. "I had hoped so much that we would get a good pope who would do something for women. ... This is so terrible."

Mark Wunsch, 27, a religious philosophy student from Denver, was elated.

"The cardinals elected a good and holy man who was close to Pope John Paul II," he said. "He'll be a wonderful and good leader in preaching the truth and love."

Benedict inherits a range of pressing issues. These include priest sex-abuse scandals that have cost the church millions of dollars in settlements in the United States and elsewhere, chronic shortages of priests and nuns in the West, and calls for easing the ban on condoms to help fight the spread of AIDS.

And he has to follow in the footsteps of John Paul II, the global pontiff who made 104 international trips in his more than 26 years as pope and set new standards in reaching out to other religions.

In an indication that he would indeed travel and continue to reach out to young people, Benedict said Wednesday he planned to attend the church's World Youth Day celebrations in Cologne, Germany, in August.

Two images of Ratzinger have emerged in recent days.

With his wispy silver hair blowing in the wind, the German prelate stood before the world's political and spiritual leaders at John Paul's funeral April 8 and offered an eloquent and sensitive farewell that moved some to tears.

Then, just before the cardinals entered the conclave Monday, he made clear where he stands ideologically, using words that John Paul would surely have endorsed. He warned about tendencies that he considered dangers to the faith: sects and ideologies like Marxism, liberalism, atheism, agnosticism and relativism — the ideology that there are no absolute truths.

"We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires," he said.

He has denounced rock music, dismissed anyone who had tried to find "feminist" meanings in the Bible, and last year told American bishops it was appropriate to deny Communion to those who support abortion and euthanasia.

Benedict is the first Germanic pope in nearly 1,000 years. His faith is rooted in Bavaria, the Alpine region with Germany's strongest Catholic identity. Like many of his generation, he carries the burden of Germany's past.

In his memoirs, the policeman's son wrote of being enrolled in Hitler's Nazi youth movement against his will when he was 14 in 1941, when membership was compulsory. He says he was soon let out because of his studies for the priesthood.

He and his older brother, Georg, were ordained in 1951. He taught theology and earned a reputation as a forward-looking prelate. He took part in the Second Vatican Council, but had some reservations.

Returning to Germany between sessions of the council, "I found the mood in the church and among theologians to be agitated," he wrote in his memoirs. "More and more there was the impression that nothing stood fast in the church, that everything was up for revision."

In 1977, he was appointed bishop of Munich and elevated to cardinal three months later by Pope Paul VI. He was one of only two cardinals in the latest conclave who were not chosen by John Paul.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: benedictxvi; cardinals; catholic; catholicholocaust; chick; christian; conclave; jack; jackchickwasright; pope

Pope Benedict XVI leads mass in the Sistine Chapel in this frame from TV on Wednesday, April 20, 2005. Pope Benedict XVI pledged on Wednesday to continue the liberalizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council and to work to unify all Christians, as he outlined goals following an election that sent a signal the church was intent on sticking to tradition as it confronts 21st-century problems. Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, listed top priorities of his pontificate in a message read in Latin to cardinals gathered in the Sistine Chapel for the first Mass celebrated by the 265th leader of the Roman Catholic Church. (AP Photo / Vatican TV via APTN)
1 posted on 04/20/2005 5:48:08 AM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer

This is all very good to hear. Thanks!


2 posted on 04/20/2005 5:49:32 AM PDT by fatnotlazy
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To: NYer

I can't believe some people are thrilled
that a Hitler's Youth is selected for the Pope!

(ah, he was just a kid then....)

Anyone who is brainwashed and indoctrinated
is under another's control. Perhaps forever.

Was he deprogrammed? Probably not. Even this new
Pope may not know the evil influences he is under.


3 posted on 04/20/2005 5:50:20 AM PDT by reformjoy
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
"The cardinals elected a good and holy man who was close to Pope John Paul II," he said. "He'll be a wonderful and good leader in preaching the truth and love."

Catholic Ping - Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


4 posted on 04/20/2005 5:52:37 AM PDT by NYer ("Love without truth is blind; Truth without love is empty." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: fatnotlazy

I really don't want the Pope uniting Christians.

I really don't want the United Nations uniting Countries.

Sorry, but I just can't give this kind of power
to one man or one organization.

Why are people these days so eager for the Uniter?

There is only one man of peace,
and that is Christ.


5 posted on 04/20/2005 5:52:58 AM PDT by reformjoy
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To: reformjoy

I know, when they taught me the secret Catholic handshake after the took the electrodes off, I knew my life had changed forever . . .


6 posted on 04/20/2005 5:53:53 AM PDT by pa mom
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To: reformjoy
I can't believe some people are thrilled that a Hitler's Youth is selected for the Pope!

Do your homework before posting this garbage.

7 posted on 04/20/2005 5:54:25 AM PDT by NYer ("Love without truth is blind; Truth without love is empty." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: reformjoy
Every one was Catholic before the Reformation. Apart from the Orthodox who split five centuries earlier. Christendom once meant, if you confine the definition to the West, the Latin Church. It will take more than good will to unify Christians again.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
8 posted on 04/20/2005 5:55:45 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: NYer
said American Cardinal Adam Maida. "So I believe that Cardinal Ratzinger, with all his gifts and talents and even some of his shortcomings, will somehow be able to reach others."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

9 posted on 04/20/2005 5:58:26 AM PDT by sinkspur (If you want unconditional love with skin, and hair and a warm nose, get a shelter dog.)
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To: reformjoy
I can't believe you are holding an action against this man, one that he could not control.

Did you miss the part where when forced to man an anti-aircraft gun, he deserted and was a POW.

10 posted on 04/20/2005 5:59:06 AM PDT by Military family member (Bless the Legacy of John Paul II)
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To: goldstategop
Christendom once meant, if you confine the definition to the West, the Latin Church. It will take more than good will to unify Christians again.

Yes it will. Which is why, if Ratzinger is serious about pursuing Christian unity, you will not hear him repeat his statement that non-Catholic churches are "deficient."

11 posted on 04/20/2005 6:00:00 AM PDT by sinkspur (If you want unconditional love with skin, and hair and a warm nose, get a shelter dog.)
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To: reformjoy
You're jumping to conclusions. In 1942, membership was compulsory. Every German boy was required to join. No "programming" involved.

Benedict didn't recall even attending a meeting. A sympathetic professor in his minor seminary filled out the papers for him and told him not to bother showing up. He would have been expelled from school had the prof not filled out the papers for him. He describes the prof as "a Nazi, but an honest man."

Later he was conscripted to serve in an AA battery. He deserted from that (which could have gotten him hanged - have you ever seen the pics of young teenage deserters hanging from lampposts?)

Usually, folks on FR don't start foaming at the mouth over stuff that is disseminated by the mainstream media. This pope is ultra-conservative, and the libs would love to get everybody believing that he was a Nazi.

Don't join in the lynch mob.

12 posted on 04/20/2005 6:00:25 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: reformjoy

I really don't want the Pope uniting Christians.

I really don't want the United Nations uniting Countries.

Sorry, but I just can't give this kind of power
to one man or one organization.

Why are people these days so eager for the Uniter?
*****

Its called deception and since no one remembers the "Tower of Babel" and why we were split to begin with, they will rebuild that same tower........unfortunately with the same results.


13 posted on 04/20/2005 6:00:32 AM PDT by BriarBey ("He Who Does Not Remember History Is Condemned To Repeat It")
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To: NYer
Joy over the selection of a new pope immediately mixed with worries that Benedict could polarize a global church, whose challenges include growing secularism in rich countries and inroads by evangelical groups in regions such as Latin America.

Rather than "joy mixed with worries", I see only joy along with the usual liberal carping and sniping. I am not Catholic but I admire that religion for their tradition and substance. It sounds to me like the new Pope will strengthen those and slowly gain a new solid core of faithful. Then in a few hundred years after Europe emerges from the ruins of Islam and nihilism, there will be the Church waiting to welcome them back.

14 posted on 04/20/2005 6:01:01 AM PDT by palmer ("Oh you heartless gloaters")
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To: reformjoy

Most moronic post I've read so far today. But it's early; I'm sure you'll make more for us all to enjoy throughout the course of the day. :)


15 posted on 04/20/2005 6:02:31 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: sinkspur

I like it. I have heard Benedict described as humble, so perhaps he connects with his own failings. That would come through as great honesty in his writings and speeches.

I know one of the things I loved about JPII was that he was so darn cute. Like a granddad you'd love to sit and chat with even if he's a disciplinarian. That came as much from his humanity as from his postion as Pope.


16 posted on 04/20/2005 6:03:16 AM PDT by pa mom
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To: All

It's amazing that news sources stress that new Pope was indeed, a Hitler's youth but for only a "brief time."

How long does it take
to corrupt your soul?


17 posted on 04/20/2005 6:03:42 AM PDT by reformjoy
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To: reformjoy

If his soul was indeed corrupted (which I doubt) he spent considerable time and effort redeeming it since.


18 posted on 04/20/2005 6:05:42 AM PDT by palmer ("Oh you heartless gloaters")
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To: reformjoy

This has been done to death on other threads. If you dislike Catholics, fine, but you really aren't changing anyone's mind here.


19 posted on 04/20/2005 6:07:20 AM PDT by pa mom
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To: pa mom
I know one of the things I loved about JPII was that he was so darn cute. Like a granddad you'd love to sit and chat with even if he's a disciplinarian. That came as much from his humanity as from his postion as Pope.

BXVI (looks like an airport designator, doesn't it?) appears to start with a charm-deficit, for sure.

20 posted on 04/20/2005 6:08:02 AM PDT by sinkspur (If you want unconditional love with skin, and hair and a warm nose, get a shelter dog.)
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To: reformjoy
The Jugend weren't exactly like the Boy Scouts.

You didn't have a choice. If you were a German teenage male during WWII, you were a member of the Hitler Jugend, whether or not you wanted to be.

Unless you believe the entire German nation should just shrink into a corner and sulk and hide and self-flagellate to atone for the sins of a despot who manipulated his way to wrench control of the system, your position is utterly unreasonable.

21 posted on 04/20/2005 6:10:56 AM PDT by jude24 (Ignorance should be painful.)
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To: sinkspur

First thing my 10 year old said this morning, looking at the unfortunately large photo on the front page, was "Bad teeth, is he English?"

Okay, that's at least three HM's!


22 posted on 04/20/2005 6:11:05 AM PDT by pa mom
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To: reformjoy

I really don't want the United Nations uniting Countries.
***
Well, that one I can go along with, simply because the UN can't. Wouldn't trust the UN to organize a bake sale these days.

As for the rest, well, I'm willing to give the guy the chance to do whatever he's going to do. So many people are villifying him before he has even gotten started. Not very fair.


23 posted on 04/20/2005 6:11:13 AM PDT by fatnotlazy
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To: All
I can't believe you are holding an action against this man, one that he could not control.

He couldn't control it.

Exactly.

How do we know he ever gained control, and is "out of that control" now?

We can't look into his psyche and see the real forces that lie dormant in his soul.

We don't know what "triggers" will unleash hell..do we?

24 posted on 04/20/2005 6:11:17 AM PDT by reformjoy
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To: reformjoy

Nor can we look into YOUR psyche and see the real forces that lie dormant in YOUR soul!

What is your point?


25 posted on 04/20/2005 6:12:56 AM PDT by GatorGirl (God Bless Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: reformjoy
Was he deprogrammed? Probably not.

You're right. It's just like the Manchurian Candidate. I saw that on TV once.

26 posted on 04/20/2005 6:15:52 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: BriarBey

Thank you.

I know those who see the truth
are not alone.

We stand together, even if apart.


27 posted on 04/20/2005 6:15:52 AM PDT by reformjoy
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To: reformjoy
Sorry, but I just can't give this kind of power to one man or one organization.

You're right. But Jesus can.

28 posted on 04/20/2005 6:16:47 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: NYer

Jesus prayed in the High Priestly prayer "Let them all be one".

I am a Lutheran, and am not sure how this can happen, but I do know that it should.


29 posted on 04/20/2005 6:17:34 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: Aquinasfan

Oh yes. These are realities. Did not President Reagan
acknowledge the Evil Empire?

How soon we forget the greatest EVIL of them all...
Hitler's Rise in Power

Wow. Hillary Rodham Clinton must be a prophet!

"LIVING HISTORY" before our very eyes.


30 posted on 04/20/2005 6:18:49 AM PDT by reformjoy
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