Sunday, April 24, 2005

Joseph Kay: Pope Benedict XVI’s Political Resume

Pope Benedict XVI’s political resume: theocracy and social reaction
By Joseph Kay
World Socialist Web Site

The selection of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new pope is a clear sign that the Vatican will seek to use its influence to promote the most reactionary political forces within the ruling elites of countries around the world, particularly in Europe.

Ratzinger’s long record as enforcer of Church doctrine and chief adviser to Pope John Paul II strongly indicates that as Pope Benedict XVI, he will aggressively intervene into political affairs, using issues such as abortion and homosexuality to foster the development of a social base for right-wing parties and policies.

The new pope has close ties to ultra-conservative factions within the Catholic Church, such as Opus Dei, which are openly hostile to the core democratic principle of the separation of church and state, and seek to elevate the Church over civil authority. Such theocratic tendencies are increasingly being embraced by parties on the right as part of their ideological arsenal for attacking all of the social and democratic gains achieved in the course of the twentieth century.

One of the most blatant examples of Ratzinger’s intervention into the political affairs of a country was his role in the 2004 US presidential election. A number of American Catholic bishops publicly declared in the run-up to the election that they would deny Holy Communion to Democratic candidate John Kerry, a Catholic, because of his pro-choice stance on abortion rights. Their intervention, a brazen violation of the secular foundations of the US Constitution, was tantamount to a religious injunction to Catholics to vote for George W. Bush.

Entire Essay


John the Mad said...

As a non-American I don't pretend to be an exert on the US constitution, but the portrayal of the theology of both JPII and Benedict XVI as being focused on secular political aims is nonsense.

As for John Kerry, the episcopacy had every right (and an obligation to refuse him communion. If Kerry wants to receive communion he has to follow Church teachings. That is a Church matter.

John the Mad said...

One other thing. When did the separation of church and state become "the core democratic principle?" I think if you look around you'll find a few others even more important to the functioning of a democratic state.

Michael Benton said...

Mad John,

Don't you think you are being kind of naive if you believe that JP11 and BXVI are not concerned with, or actively attempting to, influence secular political aims.

Even worse you have no understanding of the catholic church's history and its continuous meddling in the political realm. Pick up a history book--look into the matter.

As for your second comment. You are right, as a Non-American you have little grasp of the foundations of our democracy, if you did you would realize that the separation of church and state is a key concept and relates to many other freedoms.

What is your interest in the matter, perhaps a little transparency on your part would help me to understand what you are trying to say?

Michael Benton said...

I talked about John Paul II as if he were still alive--my apology, no disrespect intended.