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.