You could start a competition for really dumb article of the week on Pope Benedict and the only problem would be which once to most deserving. "The Missing Pope" by Joseph Contreras for Newsweek International is surely a contender though. For proof of of the Pope’s ineptness for the role they quote a Milanese housewife and the author of a supposedly acclaimed book (that I have never heard of) on Pope Benedict XVI. The author, David Gibson a convert to the Church, in his books seems to be the typical progressive upset by the Pope not changing what they want changed (Amazon suggests that the book to go together with his is the latest by dissident theology Charles E. Curran).
Carl Olson who posts parts of the article and comments on it says "Truly pathetic, even for Newsweek."
The funny thing about all of these articles is that they always compare him unfavorably to Pope John Paul II and that his greatest sin was that he is not the world globetrotter that JPII was.
But Benedict, who turns 80 this month, has rarely left home and seems most interested in trying to revive European Catholicism.
Yet is is an amazing fact that a Pope who was elected much younger would travel much more than one elected at age 78. Egads trying to revive European Catholicism? What is he thinking? Certainly the Pope’s role it to just ignore the declining state of the Church in Europe. Feed those sheep, just not those European ones.
The pope should choose his words carefully; on one of his last trips, to his native Germany, he sparked a firestorm when he quoted in passing scathing comments about the Prophet Muhammad. Within days Benedict was being burned in effigy. He can expect a warmer greeting in South America. But there’s no denying he’s been a disappointment to many faithful there and elsewhere. Some U.S. Catholics condemn him as aloof, Europeans resent his intrusions into their affairs and he’s never been popular in Latin America. The region, home to 450 million Catholics, had hoped to see one of its own succeed John Paul. Many there have felt ignored by the man who ultimately did.
Just ignore the massive cheer that went up when Catholic who actually believe what the Church teaches sent out when he was elected. Ignore that "So many young people requested the free tickets to the liturgy that hundreds of them had to watch on television screens in the Vatican audience hall" As Amy Welborn noted last week.
Benedict’s popularity is noted, but only in terms of crowds at the General Audiences. As we’ve pointed out before, it’s odd that when trying to figure out how "popular" Benedict is, no one gives book publishers a call. 220,000 copies of Sacramentum Caritatis sold in Italy in the first week after its release. Copies of Deus Caritas Est sold quite well. 5 weeks before its release in the US, The Pope’s book on Jesus is #230 on Amazon.
So I guess what they mean is that he is not popular in the halls of the National Catholic Reporter and those of like-minded watered-down Catholic philosophies
Part of the problem is style. The last pope was a former parish priest who recast himself as an international player (he spoke eight languages, including Spanish and Portuguese). Benedict is a colorless academic who spent much of his career teaching theology and philosophy.
Pope Benedict XVI, in addition to his native German, fluently speaks Italian, French, English, Spanish and Latin, and has a knowledge of Portuguese and of course he can also read Ancient Greek and biblical Hebrew. So I guess he needs to study up to meet the requirements of Newsweek which only speaks one language (BS). Anybody who can call the Pope a colorless academic has neither read him or observed him in public.
He was nowhere to be seen in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, arguably the most Catholic city in the United States. Nor has he paid much attention to Latin America, home to nearly half the world’s Catholics and a key focus of John Paul’s papacy. "He’s ignored us completely," says Roberto Blancarte, a sociologist specializing in religious affairs at the Colegio de México in Mexico City.
The idea that the Pope goes around visiting places after natural disasters and especially if they are suppose to be very Catholic areas is rather laughable. Though I guess they see the Pope as more of a PR agent for the Church than as a Shepherd guiding the whole Church. The Latin America jibe is also pretty funny coming two weeks before he heads to Brazil. Though this is also part of the philosophy that if you are not visiting places you are not doing anything for them. That what Benedict has done so far does not affect anybody outside of Rome.
In Benedict’s absence, the influence of his church has continued to wane. In Latin America an estimated 8,000 people leave the Catholic Church every day, and according to the polling firm Latinobarómetro, the number of locals who call themselves Catholic dropped 9 percent between 1995 and 2005.
And did this drop happen in the aftermath of his election? Well the simple answer is no and the decline has been continuous and occurred during JPII’s pontificate. This has been a problem long before the Pope was elected, but hey that fact does not fit in with a hatchet job.
But left-wing politicians no longer fear the Vatican. Under John Paul, politicians "used to have a certain respect [for the church] and a belief that it wasn’t in their interests to pick a fight" with it, notes Elio Masferrer Kan, a religious historian at Mexico’s National School of Anthropology and History. Now they see it as a "paper tiger," as do judges in Argentina and Colombia, who have ruled in favor of allowing abortions in the past year.
I guess the MSM just loves to have it both ways. First he is painted at the mean-spirited enforcer forcing his ways on everyone, and then he is the paper-tiger and politicians that had a certain respect under JPII have totally lost it now. This is so laughably funny as a piece of analysis it is hard to know where to start. Secular politicians promoting gay marriage and abortion never cared one bit about the Pope whether it was JPII or B16.
And then with his visit to South America you know they are going to bring up the document critical of Father Jon Sobrino. So I guess the paper-tiger is back to biting. They of course frame the criticism of Father Sobrino’s writings in the framework of Liberation Theology when it was a condemnation of his weak-Christology.
His criticism thus struck many as mean-spirited and unnecessary; Leonardo Boff, a former Brazilian priest, wrote an open letter saying the pope’s sanctions "filled me with sadness" and "defraud[ed] the poor."
What a former priest isn’t happy with the Pope? What a shock and surprise. How could that be?
The problem, according to Gibson, is that Benedict "doesn’t seem to realize that he’s a world leader and not an academic." Indeed, the pope’s great misfortune may be his election to a job he was never suited for. With the Vatican facing an acute shortage of priests and nuns and its moral authority tarnished by child-abuse scandals, the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics could use a shepherd who would help them tackle present and future problems. What they’ve got instead is a reclusive intellectual more interested in resurrecting old rituals and disputes.
How soon they forget how unhappy they were with JPII who fulfills what they see as lacking in Pope Benedict. John Paul II saw eye to eye with his Prefect of the CDF on maters of faith and what they consider as disputes are simply parts of the Catholic faith that are not to be jettisoned for convenience sake in the Culture of Death.
The Missing Pope is an ironic title since they totally missed the Pope.