Election of Pope Benedict XVI

Sheila Musaji

Posted Apr 20, 2005      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Election of Pope Benedict XVI

by Sheila Musaji

The election of Cardinal Ratzinger is a controversial one that has sparked debate both inside and outside of the church. 

Catholics Split Over Election of Cardinal Ratzinger

Nervous Theologians Recall Enforcer

Mixed U.K. Reaction to New Pope

Ratzinger Is the Pincer Pope Now

New Pope’s Nazi Link Worries Israeli Jews

View of Other Churches May Set Tone for Papacy

The Pope himself has vowed to continue church reforms and reach out to other religions.

As far as Islam and Muslims are concerned there is room for cautious optimism, but also a lot of questions that will only be answered over time.  Before this Pope was elected even the National Catholic Reporter listed Islam and relations with the Muslim world as one of the three key issues that would be faced by the next Pope. 

In the past he has criticized Islam for mixing religion and politics but has also made statements that seem to show a  respect for Islam.  He objected to Turkey being accepted into the EU because it was a Muslim country, which has caused concern in Turkey.  In his recently published book he makes positive statements about Islam. 

In his own words words  Cardinal Ratzinger seems to be very conservative and more concerned with church doctrine than with relations with other faiths.

Some have even raised the issue of his membership in the Hitler Youth when he was a young man, but this may be a misunderstanding of the necessities of that time as even some American Jewish leaders have noted.

Some like Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Rabbi Michael Lerner have expressed serious concerns.  Even in his own country of Germany concerns have been raised.

My own view is one of cautious optimism and a hope that he will continue to build bridges between the world’s two largest religions.

4-27 update
In Arab Mideast, Some Unease Over Benedict’s Views
How Will New Pope Handle Ties With Muslims
Muslims Hail New Pope’s Meeting With Islamic Leaders
Pope Reaches Out to Muslims

5-5-2005 update
Rome’s Radical Conservative Will surprise
Benedict XVI Will Test Religions ‘Red Blue’ Divide
Muslims Are Hopeful Despite New Pope’s Past Writings