‘If Only Obama Were Pope …’: Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany

So you thought you heard it all when it comes to putting President Obama on an impossible pedestal? This article from the Pope’s homeland Germany and written by theologian Hans Küng not only praises President Obama’s forward-looking administration, it eviscerates Pope Benedict for being more like President Bush and attempting to restore the Catholic Church to the era of Medieval Europe. Part of what has spurred the article is Pope Benedict’s decision to rescind the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson, a Holocaust denier who claims that Jews were not gassed in Nazi Germany. The move has created a true global tumult.

For Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Hans Kung writes in small part:

“In a very brief period of time, President Barack Obama has succeeded in leading the United States out of its depressing mood and has begun digging into the backlog of overdue reforms, putting forth a credible vision of hope and setting in motion what could be a strategic turning point for both the domestic and foreign policies of that great land.

Things are different in the Catholic Church. The mood is oppressive, the backlog of reforms crippling. After nearly four years in office, many see Pope Benedict XVI along the lines of George W. Bush. It’s no coincidence that the Pope celebrated his 81st birthday last year at the White House. Both Bush and Ratzinger are inflexible on questions of birth control and abortion, averse to any serious reforms, egomaniacal and without transparency in their administration, and restrictive in interpreting the freedoms and rights of the people.”

While Obama is capable of looking forward and opening himself up to the people and the future, this Pope is primarily facing backward, inspired by the ideals of the medieval Church, skeptical about the Reformation and ambivalent about the rights and freedoms of the modern age.”

Later – pointing out a big difference between the U.S. presidency and the papacy, Kung writes:

“A Pope would find it easier to change course than a President of the United States. He has no Congress as a legislative hindrance and no judicial power like the Supreme Court to deal with. He is the supreme head of government, lawmaker and highest judge in the Church. He could overnight, if he wanted to, allow contraception, allow priests to marry, permit the ordination of women, and approve a sacramental alliance with the Protestant churches.

An External View By Hans Küng*

Translated By Jonathan Lobsien

January 30, 2009

Germany – Sueddeutsche Zeitung – Original Article (German)
In a very brief period of time, President Barack Obama has succeeded in leading the United States out of its depressing mood and has begun digging into the backlog of overdue reforms, putting forth a credible vision of hope and setting in motion what could be a strategic turning point for both the domestic and foreign policies of that great land.

Things are different in the Catholic Church. The mood is oppressive, the backlog of reforms crippling. After nearly four years in office, many see Pope Benedict XVI along the lines of George W. Bush. It’s no coincidence that the Pope celebrated his 81st birthday last year at the White House. Both Bush and Ratzinger are inflexible on questions of birth control and abortion, averse to any serious reforms, egomaniacal and without transparency in their administration, and restrictive in interpreting the freedoms and rights of the people.

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Author: WILLIAM KERN (Worldmeets.US)

Founder and Managing Editor of Worldmeets.US