4-20-2005, last updated 4-27
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.
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.