OH, WHAT CAN I SAY to anti-Catholic cults out there who hated the entire Catholic Church, the Pope and the Saints. Maybe they are growing mad about this news. Its ministers could be scratching their heads now asking themselves how could this "pagan leader" sitting in Rome have that immense political power in world affairs? As they make their members believe their founders were "God's chosen" messengers, angels and prophets and yet their present Executive Minister and his Ministers' statements cannot even stir 1/10000 of a drop of water.
If it's true that the "favor" of God is upon their founders and their cults / sects (as they love to brag in their TV programs and printed official magazines), how come that this 83 years old man believed to be the "anti-Christ" is 5th Most Powerful Man on this planet, you must sit and think about how could this "God" whom they preached to favor their Sugo and angels could humiliate such a "chosen Last Messenger" and his "re-established" Iglesia ni Cristo (kuno)? How could an "anti-Christ" sits 5th Most Powerful man more than their own "favored" or "chosen messenger" and his grandson heir to the throne?
God gave us common sense. I would suggest anti-Catholics and bigots to have an verdose of it. It will regain your senses to TRUTH!
"Forbes recently named Pope Benedict XVI the fifth-most-powerful person in the world, right between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and well ahead of any other religious leaders — Iran's top ayatollah (26th) and the dalai lama (39th). An 83-year-old man, the out-of-touch figurehead of a dying mythological system, is the fifth-most powerful person in the world? How can this be?" lightoftheworldbook.blog
Pope Benedict, the enigma
By Amy Welborn
|Photo by Alessandra Tarantino, AP|
Forbes recently named Pope Benedict XVI the fifth-most-powerful person in the world, right between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and well ahead of any other religious leaders — Iran's top ayatollah (26th) and the dalai lama (39th).
An 83-year-old man, the out-of-touch figurehead of a dying mythological system, is the fifth-most powerful person in the world? How can this be?
The Forbes ranking is certainly subjective, but still revealing. The Top Five finish hints at an understanding of the continuing importance of Catholicism on the world stage and even in the U.S., where almost a quarter of the population — around 69 million people — claim a Catholic identity.
Revealing, too, was the explosion of headlines about and analysis of two sentences —about condoms, no less — uttered by this same 83-year-old man. To garner that sort of worldwide attention without even trying? That's power.
A man out of the box
The remarks were from Light of the World, Pope Benedict's new book-length interview with German journalist Peter Seewald. The fruit of a week of interviews — their third such book together, but the first since Benedict's election — recorded over the summer at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome, this is simply not the kind of thing that popes do. In fact, no pope has ever participated in such a conversation before.
The questions cover the high — and low — points of Benedict's papacy: his reaction to being elected pope, his assessment of the abuse crisis, his reasons for lifting the ex-communication of bishop-leaders of the SSPX (a movement that opposed the changes of the Second Vatican Council), and the explosive reaction to his remarks about Islam at the University of Regensburg. He answers every question, jokes, expresses a few regrets on some matters and stands firm on still more.
One would think that a book full of questions and answers would clarify who a person is. For some it certainly will, but others might find themselves even more perplexed as the responses to the condom remarks from both left and right inside and outside the church clearly show. Benedict keeps jumping out of the box. A few thoughts to ponder:
•How are we to understand the pope's mind when he both consistently describes the Catholic Church in the most elevated terms — where Christ dwells and all people are invited to find their fulfillment — but also doesn't hesitate to name and condemn the "filth" within that same church?
•Benedict highlights the destructive nature of modern notions of progress and scientific thinking, but then he insists that it's vital to bring "reason" back into public conversations about human life and faith. How to reconcile the two?
•How about his assertion that the church is strong because it develops "new ways" of being in the world? How does that match up with his confident explanation that a male-only priesthood is God's will, or his order freeing up celebration of the Mass as it was said before Vatican II?
•What of his affirmation that the Catholic teaching against contraception is "correct," his insistence that "sexuality has an intrinsic meaning and direction, which is not homosexual" alongside his now-infamous suggestion that if an HIV-positive male prostitute uses a condom, it might, in that very particular context, be viewed as a "first assumption of responsibility, on the way to recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed."
How does all of this work together?
There is, it seems, something for everyone in this exhaustive interview — something to annoy everyone on every side of these issues, that is as recent events clearly showed. The truth is, though, that for anyone who has been following Benedict and read any of his numerous works over many years, none of this is shocking or a surprise, and it's all quite consistent.
It only puzzles us when we insist on filtering the pope's words through our own expectations and ideologies, our own understanding of what religion and rationality and morality must be all about. We're not starting from the same page, which might explain much of the invective directed at the pope by a curious, but often oblivious, press.
The thing is, he really believes the stuff. Really. He believes that God exists and we exist because God loves us. We're free to love him back, or not. So the basic job of the church is to be Christ in the world, inviting human beings to find love and truth. To find themselves. As Benedict puts it in Light of the World, the church "communicates the light of Christ."
The pope you don't hear about
Now what confuses and even angers some Catholics is that along with this high sense of church is the acceptance of the reality — very clear throughout this interview — that human beings interact with the church at different levels of commitment. Some go to Mass every day, and others once a year. Some are saints, while others are barely hanging on. There certainly have been through history various ways to articulate God's call to humanity, some more forceful and dire, but that is not Pope Benedict's language. The way he has always expressed it is that it's not the church's role to force an individual to come closer, but rather to constantly invite. Not to impose, but to "propose" — one of Pope Benedict's favorite turns of phrase.
So in essence, he's saying some will agree, some won't. But what of "everyone else?" Contrary to popular impressions and maybe even the hopes of some Catholics, Pope Benedict doesn't see it as his job to issue blanket condemnations of that "everyone else." "We are sinners," he says. "We should try to do as much good as we can and to support and put up with each other."
That doesn't sound like "God's Rottweiler," a nickname Benedict earned as a cardinal. Nor does it sound like the words of a man too often condemned as intolerant, rigid and stuck in past centuries. In short, Pope Benedict is saying: It's not my job to either change the teaching or declare you eternally condemned for your failures in living it. That's God's job. And I'm not God.
This pleases hardly anyone, of course. It doesn't fit with our favored ideologies or our scripts of what it means to be liberal or conservative or even religious. But to an 83-year-old man convinced of the gift of God's love and truth and who says to his interviewer that when he prays, he really does no more than come as a "simple beggar before God," it does.
You might even call it ... powerful.