Behind the tight smile: "Liberals, libertines,
relativists–I have my eye on you both within the
Church and without. You shall not escape my
wrath!" (credit: Max Rossi/Reuters)
My heart sank when I saw an image similar to this at the nytimes.com home page with the headline: German Cardinal Chosen as New Pope.
But I never expect much from the Church in the way of progressive moral teaching and I’m rarely disappointed. The election of Ratzinger as Pope continues this string unabated.
The Church had an opportunity to choose a new Pope who could consolidate the great achievments of John Paul II and take the Church in new directions (like a rededication to issues of global poverty, AIDS or the environment). Instead they chose a stern moralizer obssessed with issues like libertinism, liberalism and relativism (his words), who will do little but further ensconce these hidebound ideas deeper within the Catholic psyche.
Victims of priestly abuse, you can forget a reconciliation with your Church. In fact, I’d be almost certain that our repellant view of Bernie Law officiating during the papal funeral ceremonies was brought to us by you know who.
I have a modest suggestion for the new pope. Since the the role of papal enforcer which he filled for John Paul is now vacant, I strongly urge him to choose Tom DeLay for the no. 2 job. After all, Tom may likely soon be out of the no. 2 job he currently holds and I think the title Cardinal would appeal to him. And with a nickname like "The Hammer," he’s perfect for the job.
But you say there a few minor impediments to this plan? Tom isn’t a priest and isn’t even a Catholic? No problem. If Tom converts today and joins the priesthood, by the time he’s Ratzinger’s age (78), Tom could become pope too. Now, that’s the kind of job Tom could really dig.
And about that little ethics problem Tom has…again, no problem. Just think, instead of jetting off to Scotland for golf and Moscow for sightseeing in Red Square with "Casino Jack" Abramoff and telling us he’s doing the work of the American people–as pope, he and Jack could tell the world they were truly doing God’s work. And the frosting on the cake? There are no Ethics Committees in heaven or the Vatican. Tom, you’re pope. You are ethics. Ethics are you.