Habemus Papam, we have a new Pope!
- Birth Date: April 16, 1927
- Age: 78 this past Saturday
- Birth Place: Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany
- Early life: Son of a staunch anti-Nazi police officer, unwilling Hitler Youth member and Wehrmacht soldier during WWII until he deserted in 1944.
- Health: I heard a snippet on Fox News that the new Pope is in generally good health for a man of his age, with high blood pressure the only concern. But I couldn't find any additional references for this.
- Ordained: June 29, 1951
- Vatican II: Chief theological expert, to Cardinal Joseph Frings of Cologne, Germany
- Bishop: Named archbishop of Munich and Freising in 1977
- Cardinal: Named a Cardinal by Pope Paul VI in June 1977
- Vatican Assignments: Appointed prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition!) in 1981 by Pope John Paul II, elected Dean of the College of Cardinals in 2002.
As Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI was considered the bad cop to Pope John Paul II's good cop, enforcing adherence to doctrine. He even engaged in a famous Ratzinger-Kasper debate which exposed the natural tension between Ratzinger's Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and Cardinal Kasper's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
It remains to be seen what he will do as Pope, but here are some of his positions up to this point.
- Abortion and Euthanasia: "Grave sin"
- Priestly Celibacy: Perhaps at odds with John Paul's strong view, Pope Benedict XVI says priestly celibacy is, "Not a dogma of the faith." (Ref or Google cache)
- Sex-Abuse Scandal: Appointed by John Paul II to investigate the scandal. Called for day of penance in May 2002, but victims' advocates not satisfied with the Church's response.
- Vocations: Cautioned against the Protestant view of a, "Priesthood of all believers," which can dilute the attraction of priestly vocation (Ref or Google cache)
- Women Priests: Enforced John Paul II's uncompromising view ("no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women") in 1995 and 2002.
- Homosexuality: Not equivalent to heterosexuality (Ref or Google cache). Labeled by some, of course, as homophobic.
- Liberation Theology: "Constitutes a fundamental threat to the faith of the Church," but contains "a grain of truth." (Ref)
- Feminism: Responsible for a Letter to Bishops seen as denouncing feminism while ignoring its positive contributions