Thursday, April 21, 2005

The truth need not be painful
but it must be faced. Roger Low, and avowed liberal, writes in today's YDN: "I write today with a surprising but urgent message for you: Yale needs more conservatives on its campus."

Read his reasons. They are compelling, and pretty much spot-on.

My thesis is due tomorrow, so while I will try to get some more thoughts up on this later in the day, I can offer no guarantees.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Updates
In case you've been coming back all day expecting new posts and haven't seen any, scroll down. The Habemus Papam post has been updated throughout the day, the most recent coming just a few minutes ago, at 21:00 Eastern.

Make sure you scroll down to see it. I've linked to lots of really good pieces, and I invite you to check them out.

Habemus Papamstory.first.mass.jpg
Read The Anchoress, whose thoughts follow very closely with what I wanted to say on the subject.

Also, Joe Gandelman has an incredible round-up of mixed reactions to the Cardinals' choice. Make sure to read that one—it's long, but it's got brief snippets from a wide variety of reactions to Ratzinger's selection. If you read nothing else, go there.

Professor Bainbridge hits Andrew Sullivan pretty hard.

Alexander, a member of the Orthodox Church who often comments on the various goings-on within many different mainstream Christian churches, has some thoughts in response to those so utterly dismayed that this Pope will uphold the traditional teachings of his Church.

I've got a decent amount of work to do today, so I may not have time to post my own thoughts. If you read through The Anchoress and Alexander's posts, though, you'll have a pretty good idea of what I would say.

UPDATE [4/20/2005 - 10:55]: I shouldn't have posted without checking Lileks:

The selection of Ratzinger was initially heartening, simply because he made the right people apoplectic. I'm still astonished that some can see a conservative elevated to the papacy and think: a man of tradition? As Pope? How could this be? As if there this was some golden moment that would usher in the age of married priests who shuttle between blessing third-trimester abortions and giving last rites to someone who�s about to have the chemical pillow put over his face. At the risk of sounding sacreligious: it's the Catholic Church, for Christ's sake! You're not going to get someone who wants to strip off all the Baroque ornamentation of St. Peter's and replace them with IKEA wine racks, okay?
Make sure you read the rest of what he has to say, too. All good stuff.

UPDATE [4/20/2005 - 12:29]: The Weekly Standard has a round-up of quotes from a variety of sources concerning the new Pope. It's amazing how quick the press is to paint the guy with a reactionary brush. Also, Christopher Levenick comments on Benedict XVI's modesty as seen in his speech after the papal selection was complete. I was interested in the fact that he called himself "a simple, humble worker in the Lord's vineyard." Levenick illustrates that this is common throughout Ratzinger's past.

UPDATE [4/20/2005 - 14:25]: I just had a brief meeting with my senior thesis adviser (in my opinion the guru of American politics), who put my thoughts as succinctly as I think is possible: What business is it of the American press to comment on the selection of a Pope? The implied message, of course, is that they are meddling where they don't belong. The media is simply unqualified to offer educated conclusions on Benedict XVI. They can pull in all the priests and theologians and Catholic university professors in the world and still, it's irresponsible and improper for journalists to offer their opinions on the matter.

You'll notice I haven't commented on the Cardinals' selection—that's by design. I'm not Catholic. I pray that he will lead his Church well. I pray that his message of increased unification between the various Churches is meant, as I would like to see a greater communion between the Anglican Churches and the Catholic Church. I hope he inspires more people to follow the way of the cross, and to be truer to the older, deeper threads of Christianity rather than relativistically changing the tenets of Jesus's legacy out of convenience and dedication to modernity. But to judge whether this is the right thing for the Church to do, or whether he is the right man to lead them in these quests is not my place, again, as I am not a Catholic.

I commented somewhere recently that, after the Pope's death, an MSNBC commentator (I honestly don't remember who it was) remarked to Chris Matthews that growing up in the Unitarian Church, he had learned the value of liberal faith, and that he thought the Catholic Church could benefit greatly by opening its doors to the ideas of contraception, female priests, and married priests. I wanted to scream at the TV because of my frustration. This guy wanted, as a Unitarian, to tell the Catholic Church how to manage itself. The whole thing is laughable.

So, if you want my opinions on the selection of Ratzinger, please feel free to email me and I'd be happy to discuss my thoughts with you. But I will not publicize them because I believe this should be an internal Catholic matter. My comments will be restricted to responding to the coverage others give these events, and other similar, superficial matters.

UPDATE [4/20/2005 - 15:15]: I just had one more thought to add—though it may not be the last—does anyone else find it infinitely ironic that the same group of people proclaiming that religion should not be allowed in politics see fit to declare themselves judge and jury for the selection of a Pope? Just doesn't seem right to me...

UPDATE [4/20/2005 - 21:00]: A great little piece comparing Benedict XVI's first appearance in front of a worldwide TV and internet audience with history is up at Tech Central Station.

I'm tired of people condemning the nexus between religion and politics, especially as it concerns the Pope. People seem too quick to forget that the Pope is a Head of State, in addition to being the leader of the Catholic Church—doesn't that make it a little difficult to draw any line between religion and politics? It's all well and good for John Paul II to have condemned and helped bring down communism because everyone now agrees that communism was an evil that needed to be brought down. But when the Pope turns to social issues, he's crossing some sort of firm line between religion and politics? We have to be sure to remember that the US is the first country in history to draw that line, and it was never intended to be as firm as many try to make it today. Anyway, this is all inspired by this Howard Fineman piece.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Apology
I'm sorry I've been so absent the past few days. I've got a lot going on right now as I try to finish up my senior thesis and start getting ready to graduate. I should have a bit more regular posting the rest of this week, and I'll be back in full swing by Saturday afternoon at the latest.

In the meantime, I recommend that you check out this piece on why liberal Air America is doomed to failure, this piece on why the Dems will lose if the Republicans initiate the Nuclear Option, and particularly this piece on religion in America. I found all of these via RCP.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Aren't they too old?
Damaged cruise ship back in New York: "Passengers disembarking Monday from a cruise ship that was struck by a freak seven-story-high wave said the stormy weather that smashed windows and sent furniture flying reminded them of the Titanic."

I'm glad to know that passengers who were on the Titanic haven't soured to cruise ship travel.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Cardinals prepare to choose next pope
What the heck?
So, the conclave starts tomorrow. In their front-page link to that story, however, CNN.com does something pretty weird. They place the picture to the right above the caption "Dark clouds over St. Peter's Basilica Sunday."

Their introductory paragraph on that same front page begins with the phrase "Shrouded in secrecy". What is up with CNN.com? It's like they're trying to paint this as some mystical, magical process. I'm not sure really what I'm trying to say, but does anyone else find those choices rather odd?

UPDATE [4/18/2005 - 11:10]: I think Irina is exactly right. I've been a bit dazed the past week, as I've been trying to churn out my senior thesis (unedited it stands at 9,907 words), so when I saw all of these things that CNN was using to evoke the idea of mystery I couldn't quite put what I was feeling into words.

Irina pointed out that the people at CNN must be reading too many Dan Brown (author of The DaVinci Code) novels and not enough history. I think she's absolutely right. This is just another example of CNN sinking to the lowest common denominator and trying to equate important news with pop culture's understanding (or rather ignorant misunderstanding) of that news, as well as the important issues behind it.

So thanks, Irina, for helping me understand the thoughts rattling around between my ears.