What Does the Pope Know About World Affairs?

November 2005

In The American Conservative (Aug. 29), Daniel McCarthy has an article titled "Bush vs. Benedict." Says he: "And like John Paul II, the new pope [Benedict XVI] is a man of peace whose vision for the world does not include wars of the sort lately waged against Iraq. The priority Benedict places on peace was apparent even in his choice of name." McCarthy quotes Benedict: "I chose to call myself Benedict XVI ideally as a link to the venerated pontiff Benedict XV, who guided the Church through the turbulent times of the First World War. He was a true and courageous prophet of peace who struggled strenuously and bravely, first to avoid the drama of war and then to limit its terrible consequences. In his footsteps I place my ministry...."

McCarthy continues: "The new pope would be a sure ally for the Right in the Culture War. But where hot wars are concerned, many of Ratzinger's most ardent admirers -- Catholic neoconservatives especially -- find themselves diametrically at odds with the pope."

McCarthy mentions the usual suspects: Michael Novak, George Weigel, Richard John Neuhaus. For them, when it comes to U.S. foreign policy, says McCarthy, "it is Bush sí, Benedict no."

McCarthy quotes then-Cardinal Ratzinger: "The pope [John Paul II] expressed his thought with great clarity [on the invasion of Iraq], not only as his individual thought but as the thought of a man who is knowledgeable in the highest functions of the Catholic Church.... The Holy Father's judgment is also convincing from a rational point of view: There was not sufficient reason to unleash a war in Iraq."


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New Oxford Notes: November 2005

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Thank you for speaking the truth and for not falling into the black and white boxes that Catholic neo-conservatives paint for themselves. In their view, one is either entirely in agreement on moral issues as well as the Iraq war or not. They do not seem to break each individual issue down to consider it in itself. I find letting reason to find the Iraq war just unless you toe the neo-conservative line and put national zeal over objective moral truth. It is not a great witness to the world about our faith when those who claim to be faithful believers disagree with our authorities - or at least do not give their statements sufficient credence. I don't consider myself neo-conservative nor liberal. Someone else can play with categories and names. I'm a Catholic, constantly discerning the truth of each issue as Holy Mother Church instructs and guides us.

As for the question of Israel, you guys are right on. The Church is God's chosen people, His chosen nation. While temporal Israel has a role in Divine Providence and God still calls them to come to the fulfillment of their faith in Christ, they are not the chosen people any longer. As Christ said, that has been passed to a people who would be faithful workers in the fields. May all Jewish people come to recognize their Savior, especially since they were first in God's plan of salvation. Yet the last shall be first.
Posted by: stbasil777
March 04, 2008 09:02 AM EST
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