Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Ratzinger becomes pope

From the Michigan Daily

Catholics react to pontiff's ideology
By Christina Hildreth, Daily Staff Reporter
April 20, 2005

Almost three weeks after the death of Pope John Paul II on April 2, the international council of cardinals selected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, a close confidant of John Paul who is widely considered a hard-liner in terms of orthodoxy and doctrine, as the Roman Catholic Church’s 265th pontiff yesterday.

Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI, was confirmed after two days in one of the shortest conclaves in the past century. History Prof. Brian Porter, an expert on the Catholic Church, said he did not expect the announcement for several more days. [...]

Rabbi Jason Miller, assistant director of the University’s chapter of Hillel, said he hopes Benedict will continue the work started by John Paul. “We recognize that it was Cardinal Ratzinger who was the architect of the ideological policy to recognize and have full relations with Israel,” he said.

RC sophomore Monica Woll, chair of the governing council of Hillel, said Benedict’s participation with Nazi activities such as the Hitler Youth during World War II have also caused anxiety about the future of Jewish-Catholic relations.

“A lot of people are nervous only because he did have membership in Hitler Youth, although most people realize that was 60 years ago and he is most likely a different person today,” she said, adding that Benedict said in a recent interview that his membership in Hitler Youth was compulsory, and that during his service in the army he never fired a shot.

Despite these concerns, Miller said the pope’s efforts to reach out to Jews will be important to the maintenance of understanding between the two faiths which was started by John Paul.

“Catholic-Jewish relations are extremely important in our society, and we hope that the new pope will be our partner for peace, justice and the appreciation of each other’s faith traditions,” he said. [...]

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