Saturday, October 22, 2005

Rising Popularity of Pope Baffles Liberals

Ratzinger’s Revolution Passes with Flying Colors
by Sandro Magister

Six months after his election as pope, the first popular survey reveals that Benedict XVI is both pleasing and convincing the people. He has doubled the numbers of those attending his audiences. One image of him is striking: that of the silent devotee before the Eucharist
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Pope Benedict XVI is getting popular, and this is puzzling to liberal critics of the Catholic Church. Since being elected pope, his actions have confirmed all suspicions that he would be an extremely orthodox and conservative pontiff. For the last few years, liberal critics of the Church eagerly anticipated the death of Pope John Paul the Great, hoping that whoever replaced him would take the Church down a more liberal path. Frustrated by John Paul’s refusal to ordain women and condone homosexuality, most liberals saw him as a fossilized relic of Catholicism’s past. Upon the announcement of John Paul’s death on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday 2005, I remember some liberals breath a sigh of relief. “Finally” they said, “now the cardinals can elect a younger pope.” (I suppose the assumption was that a ‘younger’ pope would somehow be more liberal.) I remember the shock and dismay of liberals when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as Pope Benedict XVI. “Oh no!” they shrieked, “It’s Ratzinger!” Their worst fears had come to life. Cardinal Ratzinger made his mark on the Church as a staunch conservative, and John Paul’s right hand man. I specifically remember one popular liberal saying “Oh well, he’s not the REAL pope anyway. He’s old and won't last long. He’ll just keep the chair warm for the next guy.” The man hadn’t even celebrated his installment mass, and these liberals were already looking forward to his death and the next conclave.

Now it’s been half a year, and something is happening that liberals never expected. For years liberals have been telling the Church to back away from traditional orthodoxy. They’ve been telling the Church that strict conservatism is what drives people away from Catholicism. Sadly, many bishops in the USA have been listening to this nonsense, and acting accordingly. But in the six months since Ratzinger’s election as Pope Benedict XVI, mass attendance at the Vatican has doubled. Catholic youth in Europe (particularly Germany) are excited about their faith again. The liberal predictions of Catholics leaving the Church in droves has not come to fruition. While it may be true that some liberal Catholics are leaving, it would seem that the majority of young people are drawn to Catholicism’s new conservative appeal. In just six months since his election, Pope Benedict has already become somewhat of a legend. His soon to be released book is sure to be a bestseller, and his reform agenda for the Church has only barely begun. The world still doesn’t even know what it will look like, but people seem to be waiting with eager anticipation.

All of this has left liberals scratching their heads. Everything they’ve been telling us has not only turned out to be false, but in actuality, the exact opposite seems to be what’s happening. The truth is liberals just don’t get it. They don’t understand today’s religious conservatives and they probably never will. Liberals are stuck in a 1960s social revolution mentality. They just can’t get past it. The world has moved on.

The liberal ideals of the 1960s have left us with nothing but increasing poverty, government dependance, high taxation of the middle class, skyrocketing divorce rates, rampant spread of venereal disease, teen pregnancies, aborted babies, unwed mothers, pornography on our television screens, homosexual perversions, gay marriage, perversion of every stripe, along with the violation of property rights, and thought police under the guise of “political correctness.” Young people, who have grown up in this world, don’t like what they’re seeing. They’ve read about the “good ol’ days” of the 1940s and 50s. They’ve heard about them from their grandparents. A good number of them were practically raised by their grandparents anyway (because of working moms), so they’re very familiar with the stories. Young people find it amazing that there once was a time when most people adhered to a common set of moral values and decency. They’re astonished that there once was a time when most people lived completely free of government intervention through programs and entitlements. The idea of raising their own children in an atmosphere of solid religious and moral values is very appealing to them. So their turning back to the faith of their grandparents, and leaving the failures of the baby-boomer “me generation” behind. It’s been a growing trend since the middle 1990s, and it’s not going to stop growing. Pope Benedict has surfaced as a new leader who embodies everything the growing conservative youth wants. Make no mistake about it. The Catholicism of Ratzinger is the way of the future, not the tired old failures of “revolutionary” liberalism.