Leading Article: A Burden of History That Needs to Be Lifted ; THE GERMAN POPE
A quarter of a century ago, when Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope, certain Vatican insiders, considered it to be an ill- advised 'Polish experiment'. Now, with the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Catholic Church has embarked on a 'German experiment'.
Much of the German media has understandably responded with glowing pride. They are especially pleased that Pope Benedict XVI's first trip abroad will be to his native land. According to Die Welt, 'there could not have been a greater honour for Christians in Germany'. Die Tageszeitung even asked breathlessly: 'Is God German?' But not all German newspapers have been so welcoming. As the Frankfurter Rundschau pointed out: 'This is a man who often made life difficult for the Church in his home country and whose name is synonymous with the Catholic Church's backwardness.'
Benedict XVI's ultra-conservatism is no secret. His opposition to any form of birth control has been much debated; so, too, have his views on homosexuality, which he has described as 'an intrinsic moral evil'. But the election of a German who lived through the era of Nazism to this supreme spiritual seat will inevitably raise questions not only about the present state of the Catholic Church, but about its past.
The accord that the Church made with Hitler in the 1930s is one of the most shameful episodes in …
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Publication information: Article title: Leading Article: A Burden of History That Needs to Be Lifted ; THE GERMAN POPE. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: April 22, 2005. Page number: 30. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.