Is the Pope a Closet Liberal?

That's David Gibson's contention in the Washington Post today.  Here's Gibson:

"Thus far, Benedict's papacy has been one of constant movement and change, the sort of dynamic that liberal Catholics -- or Protestants -- are usually criticized for pursuing. In Benedict's case, this liberalism serves a conservative agenda. But his activism should not be surprising: As a sharp critic of the reforms of Vatican II, Ratzinger has long pushed for what he calls a "reform of the reform" to correct what he considers the excesses or abuses of the time."

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"[W]ith the latest accommodation to Anglicans, Benedict has signaled that the standards for what it means to be Catholic -- such as the belief in the real presence of Christ in the Mass as celebrated by a validly ordained priest -- are changing or, some might argue, falling. The Vatican is in effect saying that disagreements over gay priests and female bishops are the main issues dividing Catholics and Anglicans, rather than, say, the sacraments and the papacy and infallible dogmas on the Virgin Mary, to name just a few past points of contention.

"That is revolutionary -- and unexpected from a pope like Benedict. It could encourage the view, which he and other conservatives say they reject, that all Christians are pretty much the same when it comes to beliefs, and the differences are just arguments over details."

Conservative?  Liberal?  Or just "revolutionary"?  Read the rest here. 

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Brian Thompson
9 years 3 months ago
Unity is worth any cost but truth.
This seems to be the Pope's main principle. And that is why he is the Pope of Christian Unity.
Robert Davis
9 years 3 months ago
The Washington Post errs. The New York Times got it right. The Vatican's concessions to converted Anglicans are liturgical, not doctrinal. They are no different from the Vatican's willingness to permit the Maronites, among others, their own liturgy while in no way compromising on doctrines.
Eugene Pagano
9 years 3 months ago
Please add the author's name to this post.
Beth Cioffoletti
9 years 3 months ago
My hope is that Benedict just might be radical.  He certainly has surprised me.
Gabriel McAuliffe
9 years 3 months ago
Gibson gets it wrong again.
There is only one Latin rite with two forms:  ordinary (Vatican II) and extraordinary (1962 missal). 
As for his contention that the amending of the Good Friday prayer makes the 1962 missal a hybrid, he is correct.  But then the 1962 missal was a hybrid.  The Mass promulgated at Trent was changed a few times, particularly by John XXIII with the addition of St. Joseph to the Mass.
 Who fact checks his work anyway?  He certainly likes the conflict model of reporting.
Brendan McGrath
9 years 3 months ago
Gibson writes that ''Benedict has signaled that the standards for what it means to be Catholic - such as the belief in the real presence of Christ in the Mass as celebrated by a validly ordained priest - are changing or, some might argue, falling.''  Excuse me?  Where in the world did that interpretation come from?  Certainly the such doctrines would have to be upheld by any converts.
''The Vatican is in effect saying that disagreements over gay priests and female bishops are the main issues dividing Catholics and Anglicans, rather than, say, the sacraments and the papacy and infallible dogmas on the Virgin Mary, to name just a few past points of contention.''  - Unfortunately, I think people often do tend to focus so much on the hot-button issues and neglect such dogmas.  (For example, why is it that people object when someone who disagrees with the Church on a hot-button moral issue speaks at a Catholic college, but nobody cares if the person disagrees on Christological dogmas, Trinitarian dogmas, etc., beautiful expressions of the Catholic faith painstakingly crafted over hundreds of years?  ''Who cares what they think of the creed; how do they feel about gay marriage?''
But I'm digressing - even if we neglect to attach the importance to dogmas on sacraments, the papacy, the Blessed Mother, etc. that they deserve, certainly it would be expected that such dogmas be acknowledged by Anglicans who convert.
(To end on a light note, just some phrases that have occured to me: ''The Anglicans are coming!  The Anglicans are coming!''  And: ''Guess Who's Coming to Communion.'')

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