The new papacy of Benedict XVI

I really find the topic of the new Pope to be fascinating and I am not too sure why.  I am not a religious person (more spiritual, to the extent there is a distinction) and I am not even Christian.  Anyway, there are a few interesting articles and posts following the election of Pope Benedict XVI earlier this week.

Yahoo! News has reported on how the new papacy is beginning to take shape.  There is still some skepticism surrounding a man who has been regarded as pretty conservative when it comes to Church doctrine.  He has traditionally taken a dim view on some of the more controversial issues to hit the Catholic Church in recent years which include the modernisation of the Church and HIV/AIDS.

He also stressed he would draw on the work of the Second Vatican
Council, the 1962-65 meeting that modernized the church, an issue
important to liberals who are wary of Benedict from his time as the
powerful enforcer of church doctrine.

Benedict will be fighting
that reputation close to home as he tackles one of the biggest
challenges: a Europe of empty churches and growing secularism.

as the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics got first hints of where the
papacy is headed, followers of other religions weighed the future of
interfaith relations. By and large, reactions were hopeful and
expectant — an indication of the new standards in reaching out that
John Paul set during his 26-year papacy.

"I think he has been
very open, so I have no worries about the ecumenical route," said
British Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. "It will continue. No doubt at

But the new pope has been one of the most forceful Vatican
voices for Catholic missionary work and other forms of evangelization.
He was the intellectual force behind the 2000 document "Dominus Iesus,"
which outlined the Catholic Church as an exclusive road to salvation
and angered Protestants, Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians.

It is also becoming clear that Benedict XVI is going to be more of a caretaker Pope.  He has been elected fairly late in his life and "predicted a "short reign" in comments to cardinals just after his election".

Just the same, some believe the new Pope will surprise his critics and will be a force for peace and reconciliation:

Pope Benedict XVI is a gentle and courteous man who will deliver a few surprises, Sydney Archbishop George Pell says.

“This Pope has promised to be a Pope of peace and reconciliation and
I am sure he will work hard at that and try to explain what we are
about. It is a clear reassertion of Catholic identity.??

“He is a very learned and very intellectual man.

??It is a very possible there will be a few surprises. He is a very very cultivated and clever man.“






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