Personal problems with the new pope

Ruben A. Perez, Reporter

By Ruben A. Perez



If you haven’t been paying attention to what’s happening with the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI retired and was replaced after two days of deliberation, by Pope Francis.

I don’t know if anyone remembers when Pope Benedict XVI was elected, but I do.  I was in the eighth grade at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School, and we had been learning the rules of being the new pope because John Paul II had died.  When the papal conclave had finally chosen a new pope, Sister Juanita ran into our class during our Garces entrance exams, beaming with excitement, announcing that we had a new pope.

We were all so excited because our religion was getting its new leader and we got to take a break from our exams to watch the unveiling of the new pope.  The whole school gathered around televisions and watched as Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI.

As I understood from Sister Juanita’s religion class, a new pope is elected after the old pope dies to lead, until that pope dies and then they elect another.  That’s how Sister Juanita taught me and that’s how it has been working since about the time they invented the position of pope, I couldn’t even fathom the idea of a pope retiring.  This isn’t golf.  This isn’t a presidency. This is the position of the Pope.  It’s like being the leader of a gang, the only way out is in a box. Cardinal Ratzinger, I’m addressing him as that because he is no longer the pope, retired because he said he was too tired to lead the church.  What happened to the Lord giving strength to those that ask?  I’m not saying I thought he was all that great though, with the whole “condoms cause AIDS” bit.  I’m also a gay man and a feminist so I have many disagreements with the Roman Catholic Church.  I do believe that he should have stayed though.

The pope is supposed to be a symbol of strength and guidance to Catholics worldwide.  I’m not saying that Ratzinger was great, but he had one of the most important positions in the world, and he just says “I’m too tired.”

What kind of message of quitting does that send? I also kind of have a problem with the new pope.  I’m not saying he’s a bad guy.  It’s great that there’s finally a non-European pope. It shows some progress.  He’s firm in his beliefs, which sometimes clash with mine, but he seems like he’ll be a “no nonsense” kind of pope.

My issue is that he was elected on the second day of the papal conclave.  This isn’t kickball where you have to pick someone quickly.  It’s deciding who will lead one of the biggest religious groups in the world.  That is a ridiculous amount of pressure for someone to have.  It took them weeks to pick Ratzinger and look how that ended up.  If they picked this guy in two days, how good can the decision making really be? Unfortunately, we won’t know until it happens.  I guess we just have to hope that things will be better.