Joseph Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI. I pray that the God be with him and guide his pontificate. I have watched the pomp and circumstance surrounding the conclave with curiosity. I have watched the attendant media circus with dismay. Much of the commentary has been vapid. I know more about the Roman Catholic Church than many of the "expert" opinions that have been crowding the airways.
One of my favorite examples occurred on Hardball on MSNBC.
Chris Matthews pleads with Fr. Andrew Greeley, "Why is it wrong to have birth control? I don‘t quite understand that. Explain that to me, Father."
Greeley responds, "I would have a hard time defending it, Chris."
Now, if Chris Matthews was really concerned about the rationale behind the Roman Catholic teaching on birth control, why didn’t he book someone other than Andrew Greeley. There are plenty of folks who know what they are talking about. Instead the issue is dropped as if there is no reason.
Don’t get me wrong. I disagree with the Roman Catholic church on key doctrinal issues, but at least I respect it. The Roman Catholic Church has taken the past two millenniums of Church history seriously. Thinkers as diverse as Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, and John Paul the Great are all celebrated within the church. Moreover, Protestants could learn much from Catholic social teachings on war and peace, poverty, labor, and life.