Sunday, December 18, 2005

Can't beat Bono or the Gateses

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church has to settle for 'European Newsmaker of the Year'...

But hey! It's not like Time or any other news-weekly is all that important in the scheme of things. Read the complete article European Newsmaker: A Man On A Mission from Time. I've pulled out a few excerpts for comment.

Some, according to Vatican sources, actually believe the Pope prophesied to Ratzinger that the German would be his successor.

I don't think I've ever read this rumor before. I might have, but it's interesting.

After the release of a new Vatican document that would prohibit any person who was openly gay — even if celibate — from becoming a priest, the writer Andrew Sullivan, a gay Catholic, said Benedict "has identified a group of people and said, regardless of how they behave or what they do, they are beneath serving God. It isn't what they do that he is concerned with. It's who they are."

The obligatory jab from Sullivan without any material explaining the Pope's side of the issue. Typical.

Yet away from the most controversial issues, the Pope has shown an ability to preach eloquently about the core issues of modern existence — good and evil, charity and consumerism, and the slippery slope of instantaneous self-fulfillment. Ratzinger, says a top aide to a progressive European Cardinal, "has a brilliant way of summing up a concept in a single sentence. He can clean off the window of modern history, and give you a clear vision of what's wrong with our society."

I like this quote particularly just because of how absurdly it is structured (it comes almost right after the Sullivan excerpt). The Pope is mean-spirited and more than willing to condemn a large group of people to being 'beneath serving God'. But of course, on less controversial issues, the Pope can preach most eloquently. Hard issues, Monolithic Papacy oppressively cracks down hard; soft issues, Eloquent Papacy brilliantly explains core issues of existence: got it!

Over all, it's a positive piece. I don't give much thought to Time's assessments though. When it comes to choosing the most important newsmaker of the year, the magazine has chosen a lot of people over the years for the right reasons and a lot of people for the wrong reasons.

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