Thu, Apr 21, 2005 - Page 6 News List

New Pope Benedict XVI to follow a conservative path

DOGMATIC German Joseph Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI, was elected head of the church for his traditional views on abortion and homosexuality

AP , VATICAN CITY

Ratzinger also lacks the pastoral qualities that made John Paul so beloved. He is a bookish theologian who surprised thousands by choking up as he delivered John Paul's funeral homily -- a rare glimpse of emotion.

Even Ratzinger's brother, Georg, said his brother would be an "entirely different" Pope than John Paul.

"They had a good relationship, but he [Ratzinger] wouldn't have the faculty to deal with people in such a direct and immediate way and to fascinate them," he told the German TV station RTL this week.

But Pham and other Vatican watchers also say that there is more to Ratzinger than the world has seen in the past two decades, noting his love of music -- he is an accomplished pianist -- and his solid credentials as a scholar.

Ratzinger's writings and comments give a hint about what his papacy will bring.

He has opposed Turkey's bid to join the EU and dismissed demands for European "multiculturalism" as a "fleeing from what is one's own."

He has also made sure John Paul's efforts to reach out to other religions didn't overstep certain bounds. His 2000 decree "Dominus Iesus," which framed the role of the Catholic Church in human salvation in an exclusive manner, upset Protestants, Jews and other non-Christians.

Ratzinger further rankled other Christians when he said he didn't want Protestant churches referred to as "sister churches" by Catholics.

Ratzinger has written that Jews were "connected with God in a special way." But in his book God and the World, he also said "We wait for the instant in which Israel will say yes to Christ."

He has spoken out positively about Islam, saying it has had "moments of great splendor."

While Ratzinger criticized the media for focusing too much on the sins of priests involved in the church sex abuse scandal, he excoriated the "filth" in the church in a meditation he penned for the Good Friday Way of the Cross procession.

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