April 24, 2005

Not a transitional pope: Benedict may surprise



Two days before the opening of the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago had a conversation with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, about the American sex abuse norms, arguing that the norms should be maintained more or less as is.

George asked if Ratzinger, whose office is charged with processing sex abuse cases, had any questions. Ratzinger, according to George on April 20, showed “a good grasp of the situation.”

Forty-eight hours later, Ratzinger was the pope. As George kissed his hand, Pope Benedict XVI told him in English that he remembered the conversation the two men had, and would attend to it.

The story is a telling example for those seeking to discern the subtleties that could mark potential contrasts between the pontificate of John Paul II and that of Benedict XVI, who was the late pope’s most loyal lieutenant and yet still very much his own man.

Posted by kshaw at April 24, 2005 09:11 AM