Benedictvm XVI: The FAQs

1. Who is this Joseph Ratzinger, anyway?
A: The former dean of the College of Cardinals (since 2002), Chair of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (since 1981), Joseph Ratzinger was born in Bavaria in 1927. Joined the German Army during WWII, but deserted not long after. Ordained a priest in 1951. Created Cardinal in 1977; one of only three voting members of the College not appointed by JP II.

2. Wait, he was a Nazi?
A: Yes Virginia, there really are still Nazis in public office.

3. Isn’t it unfair to ascribe to someone the beliefs he held as a teenager?
A: Unless he has seen fit to disavow himself of such beliefs and make clear moves away from them, no.

4. But he deserted the German Army, risking death. Doesn’t that mean he wasn’t really a Nazi?
A: No; it means he’s both a Nazi and a coward.

5. Why the name Benedict?
A: There’s debate on this. Most likely, it seems he took the name of St. Benedict, who invented the monastery and promoted the monastic life, thus doing much to save the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages. In other words, “The Inquisition was swell, nein? Why did we ever get rid of it?”

6. Why do you care, you’re not Catholic?
A: True, but hundreds of millions of people are. And the Church will continue to have the blood of millions on her hands for disallowing condom use in AIDS-ravaged Africa.

7. Deaths at the hand of the Catholic Church?
A: Oh, come on; historically, it’s what the Church does best.

8. But Herr Kardinale says Catholicism is the only way to salvation and all other religions are deficient.
A: Ask him again 3 seconds after he dies; see if he changes his tune.

9. But you’re an Anglican; isn’t that just Catholic Lite?
A: In some ways. We don’t believe cannibalism is what Jesus told us to do at the Last Supper (Yes Virginia, to be Catholic, you have to believe you’re eating the actual flesh and blood of Christ. Not symbolically. Actually. Personally, I prefer my Savior sautéed in garlic, not served on toast). We feature HM The Queen as Supreme Governor. It’s rather nice knowing who your next Supreme Governor will be. When Lizzy II kicks the bucket, we get King Charles. After that, King William. It’s perfectly lovely. No freaky Nazis slipping into the line (our last Nazi was Edward VIII; fortunately he only lasted a few weeks).

10. You Anglicans are just there cause Henry VIII wanted a divorce.
A: Guilty as charged. In the 500 years since then, though, we’ve made a whole series of innovations: freedom of conscience, ordaining of women, ordaining of homos, blessing of homos, not burning homos at the stake, not worshipping Mary (yes that still freaks me out), using the real set of commandments (y’all Romans don’t have the graven image one, that’s why you think you can pray to Mary and not go to Hell). So yeah, we also have a checkered past. But we’re willing to be brought (kicking and screaming in some cases ::cough cough African Bishops cough cough::) into the twenty-first century. And if you’re a Buddhist, Methodist, Wiccan, more power to you. See if Der Rottweiler gives you the same privilege. God Save The Queen.


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