Wednesday, April 20, 2005


By now you've heard about the election of former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the papacy. What I'd like to talk about are the strange reports from news agencies on the views of non-Catholics.

This afternoon BBC News carried a television report about South African Anglican bishop Desmond Tutu's criticism of the Ratzinger election. Tutu would like to see a more liberal pope. (Perhaps one that sees the Catholic Church as a "living" church?) I wonder how would Bishop Tutu like it if the Pope were to criticize the selection of the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Of course, Anglicans shouldn't be throwing stones. Their church is undergoing its largest schism ever over the ordination of gay clergy in the United States.

CNN felt compelled to tell us of "non-practicing" Catholics' disappointment with the new pope. These people would like to see the church sanction birth control, drop its opposition to homosexuality, and ordain women priests.

"Non-practicing" Catholics is an oxymoron. If you're not practicing, you're not really Catholic, now are you? These people are what I call "cafeteria Catholics". They pick and choose which teachings to follow. "Thou shalt not kill"? Sure. If more people follow this one, that decreases the odds I'll be knifed in a dark alley. So, okay. "Thou shalt not steal"? Sure. I don't want some thug mugging me, so I'll go along on that one. "Thou shalt not commit adultery"? Gee, I don't know. My new secretary is pretty hot. I'll have to think about that one - after I figure out if she's receptive to my advances or not. No to homosexuality? That's so judgmental. Better not. Abortion? It's so convenient. Pass.

All of this is somewhat akin to an ex-spouse offering her opinion on a current spouse. Sure, at one time I might have cared, but now? This would be like Botswana criticizing the election of an American president. Amusing, but hardly relevant.

Why don't BBC and CNN concentrate on what the 1 billion real Catholics think?

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