“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." (Matthew 7:24-25)
I was a bit surprized that my little hunch that Cardinal Ratzinger would be elected as the successor of the late Pope John Paul II would be correct. But amazingly, that's what happened. Pope Benedict XVI's papacy shall formally begin on Sunday, April 24, 2005. Long live the pope.
What's funny about this election is that it's sort of a Divine joke on the critics of John Paul II. More than a few journalists have voiced out their fears of a "conservative" pope being elected because of the huge number of cardinals the late pope ordained. It's as if they're blaming him of making sure his successor will be one of his. Well, the cardinals did end up electing a "conservative," alright. Funny thing is, he wasn't a JPII cardinal.
It's a lesson as well as a joke. What the critics still don't get is that God will not allow a pope to teach fallacious "liberal" teachings. It's called the infallibility doctrine. Even the most foolish and most sinful of popes (and there were quite a few of them) were incapable of changing dogmatic teachings. The question is not whether the heretics' kind of pope will be elected in the future. The question is whether or not the heretics will stop wishing for their kind of pope to be elected everytime a Conclave is held, because their wish will never come true. Thank God for that.
News reports say that a lot of American Catholics were disappointed that Ratzinger was chosen. They say that this might cause the division between liberal and traditionalist Catholics to worsen. They fear that the great number of Catholics turning to other religions every year might increase. But the Church is not here to appease the people. Christ did not compromise the truth of his teachings just to have many followers. Jesus didn't soften his language when he taught his followers about eating his flesh and blood. And when the great majority of those followers left him disgusted, he even challenged the rest to see if they would leave, too. Christ even went as far as saying "Not everyone who calls me 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven" (a lesson that Protestants still fail to understand). And this Messianic characteristic of being firm in Truth in the face of being reviled by the world has been manifested time after time in the Church's history. When Rome was ordering Her to follow polytheism, the Church chose martyrdom, instead. When even Her own theologians started preferring the simpler theology of the heretic Arius, the Church held on to the truth of Christ's Nature. Time after time the world was pressuring the Church to adopt this or that heresy, making Herself unpopular for not doing so. Yet She held on. The world kept changing from one blundering philosophy to another, yet the Church stayed immovable upon her beliefs. Now the world has turned to abortion, divorce, contraception, homosexuality, moral and theological relativism, and demanding the Church to follow suit. And what did She do? She chose among the cardinals a staunch defender of Orthodoxy, a "Watchdog of the Faith", one who condemned publicly the very things that the liberalists were demanding, and the Church made him Vicar of Christ in defiance and mockery of the popular demand.
The Church has not compromised. The House built upon Rock still stands.