Immediately after Chilean Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estivez announced that “we have a pope,” insults and derogatory comments were aired against the newly elected Roman Catholic leader, Pope Benedict XVI.
The Catholic Exchange Web site said that the mainstream North American and European media has never been friendly toward either the Catholic church or to the man they hold up as the archetypal defender of Catholic conservatism.
“Joseph Ratzinger was
the favorite target of dissident Catholics, liberal theologians and leftist media sources and anyone with grudges against the Catholic church,” Catholic Exchange said.
The remark was a quick response. The issue was, while the first few hours that Catholics worldwide were celebrating the election of Pope Benedict XVI, some major television network aired personal attacks and insults against the new pope, for example: a headline of a leading Italian newspaper said MSNBC referred to the new pope, the “Great Shepard of the Universal Church, as a ‘God’s Rottweiler,’ ” adding that the new pope preferred
combativeness to compromise and compassion-“a rigid arch conservative.”
Although some newspaper commentaries were courteous and encouraging, his opponents further labeled him as too divisive and a hard-line enforcer of the Roman Catholic orthodoxy.
It shouldn’t have been that way, at least within the few hours of the first day of the celebration of his ascension to the role of one of the most powerful religious leaders on earth. Let him have his new day at the Vatican.
He will eventually be juggling numerous issues that have been confronting the Catholic faith for quite some time, and he can be held accountable for his actions in the future.
But the media channels let his opponents cloud over the new pope’s celebration with unsubstantiated garbage. Could it then be that the television networks are becoming a tool in effectively throwing rocks and mud at the newly elected pope to destroy his image. Labeling him, on air, with demeaning names that are not true is reckless and irresponsible? How could anybody with decency call him a “God’s Rottweiler”?
The Rev. Thomas Frauenlob, who heads the seminary in Traustein, Germany, which the new pope attended as a teenager, said that the insults and accusations pained him [Pope Benedict XVI]. “I find it hurtful to describe him as a hardliner,” he said. “It’s not an accurate reflection of his personality.”
Immediately after the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI’s election to the papacy, President George W. Bush called him “a man of great wisdom and knowledge… We join with our fellow citizens and millions around the world who pray for his continued strength and wisdom.”
When the bell of St. Peter’s tolled following the white smoke puffing from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, a signal that a new pope was elected, major television networks broadcast the story live.
Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, grew up under Nazi rule and was forced to join the Hitler Youth. He is expected to fill the big shoes left behind by the late Pope John Paul II.
The only cardinal who worked closely with Pope John Paul II over more than two decades, Pope Benedict XVI “is the best choice to continue Pope John Paul II’s mission…” said the cardinals who voted for Cardinal Ratzinger during the conclave.
Amidst hostilities and mostly with insulting media coverage, however, Pope Benedict XVI was officially installed as the head of the Roman Catholic Church on April 24.
According to the Vatican, more than 30 world leaders attended the historic event along with an estimated 350 thousand people, from around the world, at the St. Peter’s Square.
During his inauguration, the new pope promised that he will listen to the will of God in leading the 1.1 billion Catholics worldwide he will be reaching out to the Jews, the Muslims and all other religions around the world.
Pope Benedict XVI describes himself as “a humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.” He said of Pope John Paul II, “It seems like I can feel his strong hands squeezing mine; I seem to see his smiling eyes and listen to his words…’Do not be afraid.'” “He is going to carry the legacy of John Paul II,” said Rev. Joseph Fessio, a Baptist minister during an interview with Jim Lehrer
“He is a shy, humble, gentle and brilliant man who is reluctant to become a pope,” said his older brother Georg Ratzinger, a retired German priest.
“Perhaps we should give him a chance,” said Deborah Feyerick, a CNN correspondent. “Let’s give Pope Benedict XVI a change” said Fr. Bel San Luis to the Philippine News.
“A Ratzinger supporter put it in more pious terms,” wrote Time magazine.” Some inner fire was lit, like God had chosen him.”