After seeing the title of the article I was not expecting it to be about a two man rock group.
Stoudt and Rives became close friends while attending a Catholic high school in New Orleans. Once the two entered college, Stoudt enrolled in a study abroad program and left for a year in Rome the day the levees broke after Hurricane Katrina.
Both of their family homes were flooded, which prompted Rives to meet up with Stoudt in Rome the following semester.
It was in Rome that the idea to form the band Ratzinger was born.
“We were living in Rome next to the Vatican,” Stoudt explained. “I went to the papal audience to see the Pope, and I loved the way people cheered when he drove by. That really prompted the name.”
From the bands name to their first song, “Sign of the Cross,” their religious upbringings influence Ratzinger. However, they do not classify their band as Christian rock. Rather, they list their music as thrash gospel.
“We just have very religious backgrounds,” Rives explained. “It’s something that we are very passionate about, because it’s been with us all our lives.”
“We’re not a Christian band,” Stoudt added. “Christian rock takes a rock song and puts a Christian spin to it. Our songs are about the raw emotion and the power of feeling something. The idea of doing something you shouldn’t. We sin so you don’t have to.”
The main lyric in “Sign of the Cross” is “All you holy rock and rollers make the sign of the cross,” and has become the main identifier for the band. For some it sounds like blasphemy, for others it sounds like a Christian praise. For Stoudt and Rives, the meaning is more abstract.
There description of thrash Gospel is pretty accurate. I have been of fan of some thrash groups like Megadeth, though Ratzinger has a much more punk feel.
Of course it is highly doubtful that Ratzinger would appeal to Josef Ratzinger – today as Pope he said "The Church is alive and full of youth" when presenting a prayer he composed for the young people of Italy.