There has already been a good deal of hyperventillating from those on the Left about the elevation of Pope Benedict XVI, but there has also been a good bit of criticism from those on the Center-Right, including, surprise surprise, Andrew Sullivan and Mort Kondracke.
I find it interesting that, in the face of this criticism, one of the strongest pro-Ratzinger/Church statements I’ve seen came from Jeff Goldstein who is about as Catholic as a turnip bed. His statement is devastating of the “Why couldn’t the College of Cardinals pick a more inclusive Pope?” line of thinking and deserves a complete treatment, so I reprint it in full here:
Mort Kondracke and Andrew Sullivan are among the pundits Iâ€™ve heard express outrage today that new Pope Benedict XVI actually believes his religion enough both to profess itâ€™s truth and condemn those who stray from its teachings. Essentially, both Kondracke and Sullivan would like their religion inclusive — and so each eschews orthodoxy in favor of a, well, a…living Bible. One that isnâ€™t so picky about who it excludes.
Now, Iâ€™m no Catholicâ€”and I ainâ€™t really religiousâ€”but I suspect the point of following a religion in the first place is to actually believe in the thing. And so were I gay, and you decided from your perspective as a Catholic that because I put my thingie into the Devilâ€™s slot, I will burn in a lake of fire for eternity, thatâ€™s cool by meâ€”just so long as you donâ€™t drop a stone wall on me in order to hasten the process.
The problem with the kind of boutique multiculturalism advocated by both Kondracke and Sullivan is that it pretends to celebrate diversity and â€œopen conversationâ€; what it really does, however, is refute the â€œOtherâ€ at precisely the point where it matters most, the point at which beliefs genuinely diverge.
Kondracke is upset that, should Pope Benedict XVI stay true to form, he will attempt to fight back a tide of cultural relativism with ecumenical certitude. But really, should anyone be surprised when a worldview that itself relies on a leap of faith sees fit to express that faith in a form of prescribed metaphysical certainty?
Iâ€™m not. But then, Iâ€™m a Christophobic pagan, so what the hell do I know.