Friday, July 29, 2005

Pope’s first 100 days well finished ...

By Nicole Winfield
Vatican City: For someone who joked that becoming pope was like having a guillotine fall on him, Benedict XVI has plunged headfirst into the job, reaching out to other Christians and China while holding fast to church doctrine. But in his first 100 days, Benedict has also stumbled, offending Israel by neglecting to mention a suicide bombing in a list of countries recently hit by terrorism, an apparent oversight that is unlikely in the long term to tarnish his otherwise strong record on improving relations with Jews. Benedict has acknowledged he’s still learning the ropes, and his spokesman asked that he not be judged at the traditional 100-day mark, which arrives on Thursday, noting that popes aren’t elected in four-or-five year terms the way politicians are. But when asked this week whether the last 100 days had been difficult, Benedict did respond, saying: “In a certain sense, yes. I had never thought about (assuming) this ministry. But people have been so good to me and have been supporting me.’’ By all indications, though, his toughest test still lies ahead, his return to his native Germany for World Youth Day in Cologne, next month. He will visit a synagogue and meet with Muslim leaders, and be closely watched to see if he can connect with young people to the same degree his predecessor Pope John Paul II did. “No one expects him to be a superstar like JP II, but how well can he communicate with them?’’ asked the Rev Thomas J Reese, the former editor of the Jesuit weekly America magazine.Reese was quite possibly the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s last victim from his days as guardian of church doctrine. He was forced to resign shortly after Ratzinger became pope April 19 because of complaints that his magazine published opinions contrary to church doctrine. Because of such incidents, many believed that as pope, Benedict would be a stern, authoritarian leader with little flair for the pastoral. Over the past 100 days, though, he has tried to shed that reputation. He has delved into church crowds to greet the faithful, joked that he felt like a “guillotine’’ was falling on him when he realised the votes were going his way during the conclave, signed autographs and even posed for photos with stunned tourists atop Mont Blanc during a recent impromptu visit during his Alpine vacation. Indeed, unifying Christians and reaching out in particular to the Orthodox seems to be an early hallmark of his papacy. During both his first homily as pope and his first papal trip, Benedict pledged that healing the 1,000-year rift with the Orthodox would be a “primary’’ commitment of his papacy, and so far it has been.he gestures seem to have been well received: Orthodox leaders confirmed in June that the theological dialogue between the two churches that was interrupted four years ago can resume. Reuters

2 comments:

Autumn Storm said...

Enjoyed reading the George Bush letter - very absurd.

Anonymous said...

What a great site » » »