Darth Benedict20 Apr 2005
Living on the northern Protestant end of a country long divided by the 30 Years' War, the election of the Pope, even a German Pope, is news that seems very far away. They do put on a good show and tell a good story, but as an outsider the Catholic church (without meaning to insult my Catholic friends) seems be a schizophrenic death cult. On the other hand, I wasn't born Catholic, and if I were, I have no idea whether I would reject the church or accept and try to live with it.
At any rate, the German TV coverage of the election of Pope Benedict XVI didn't enlighten me much (except that the previous "German" Pope Hadrian VI was really Dutch). Cardinal Ratzinger has been in Rome for over 20 years, so he's not really in touch with the German church or the German people. His pronouncements on abortion (as Germany was rewriting its abortion laws a few years ago) and homosexuality seem to come from a different planet.
It's interesting that English-language commentators are mentioning his membership in the Hitler Youth. I don't think anyone who did not live as a teenager in a wartime dictatorship is in any position to judge whether that was right or wrong.