Benedict who?

In the midst of the excitement among many Catholics about the arrival of Benedict XVI to the U.S. next month, let's take a step back for a moment. A recent survey by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic lay organization, found that close to one in three Americans have either never heard of him or don't like him.

There is good news for Catholics. Despite the abusive-priest scandal in recent years, 65 per cent of Americans have a positive view of the Catholic Church, while 28 per cent have a negative view. As for Benedict, 58 percent have a positive view of him. Despite the negative view by some respondents in the survey to Benedict, interest in seeing him is strong. Forty-two percent want to attend one of the pope's public events here, while two-thirds of Catholics say they would like to.

By Jacqueline L. Salmon |  March 26, 2008; 10:44 AM ET
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He's the one who swung the election for Bush in 2004, all but officially excommunicating John Kerry, just weeks before the election. Just so you know.

Posted by: Bruno | March 27, 2008 05:58 AM

Benedict's political clout!

Speculation continues and grows as American Catholics anticipate the apostolic visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States next month. Observers have all suggested topics that might be part of the papal exhortation list, now the suggestion is that he might make a commentary regarding the upcoming presidential elections in the United States. Some are even suggesting his visit will directly affect the outcome of the election as Catholic topics are highlighted during his American sojourn. The main message that Benedict XVI brings to the Church in the United States is nothing different from the message the Bishop of Rome has been spreading for centuries. Catholic teachings on morality, the right to life, social injustices, religious tolerance, and teachings on the value of a traditional family unit and so on are all part of the apostolic sound bytes. The fact that Benedict is coming to the United States during a political election year just adds more gravity to his message for American Catholics.
Benedict XVI clearly wants the Catholic Church in America to reawaken and restore its obedience to traditional Catholic morality and social teachings. If anyone thinks that Benedict will make a statement on the way American Catholics should vote in November is just a wildly unrealistic expectation. Popes and constitutional monarchs (like Queen Elizabeth) do not venture into the political depths and commit themselves to political parties. Popes speak objectively on topics and subjects that should already be on Catholic minds and consciences. Many issues affect American Catholics in their daily lives that deal with subjects of morality, global politics, bioethics and traditional Catholic values. Benedict XVI during his visit should just strongly remind Catholics of the true need to follow our Catholic religious beliefs and moral teachings when voting for our political candidates. However, no one should expect such an obvious statement from the Pope.
Benedict's teachings and continued applications of Catholic social and moral issues might just have an effect on the United States political outcome in November. Thank God for such a dominant and clear voice regarding Catholic morality and beliefs. His actions and words are the real authority that seems to be lacking when it comes to a proper education of Catholic voters. Directions and teachings coming from Benedict XVI hold the weight and traditions of over 2000 years of Catholic teachings. In terms of a message for a relatively young American republic, Catholic voters in the United States should take his apostolic teachings very seriously when it comes to applying them to contemporary American moral and social issues.
As a Catholic, hopefully Benedict XVI will influence the outcome of the United States elections in a drastically positive manner. Perhaps the inclusion of Catholic traditions and principles of Catholic morality will make Americans both Catholic and non-Catholics realize our lives are subject to a higher Divine authority than secular politics. For years, the Church prayed for the conversion of the Soviet Union and a return to Christian faith. Maybe Benedict's message will have the same effect in Election 2008 and return the United States to an acceptance of Christian moral, social and ethical principles envisioned by the Founding Fathers when they established this republic in 1776..."under God!"

Posted by: Hugh McNichol | March 27, 2008 01:38 PM

Benedict's political clout!

Speculation continues and grows as American Catholics anticipate the apostolic visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States next month. Observers have all suggested topics that might be part of the papal exhortation list, now the suggestion is that he might make a commentary regarding the upcoming presidential elections in the United States. Some are even suggesting his visit will directly affect the outcome of the election as Catholic topics are highlighted during his American sojourn. The main message that Benedict XVI brings to the Church in the United States is nothing different from the message the Bishop of Rome has been spreading for centuries. Catholic teachings on morality, the right to life, social injustices, religious tolerance, and teachings on the value of a traditional family unit and so on are all part of the apostolic sound bytes. The fact that Benedict is coming to the United States during a political election year just adds more gravity to his message for American Catholics.
Benedict XVI clearly wants the Catholic Church in America to reawaken and restore its obedience to traditional Catholic morality and social teachings. If anyone thinks that Benedict will make a statement on the way American Catholics should vote in November is just a wildly unrealistic expectation. Popes and constitutional monarchs (like Queen Elizabeth) do not venture into the political depths and commit themselves to political parties. Popes speak objectively on topics and subjects that should already be on Catholic minds and consciences. Many issues affect American Catholics in their daily lives that deal with subjects of morality, global politics, bioethics and traditional Catholic values. Benedict XVI during his visit should just strongly remind Catholics of the true need to follow our Catholic religious beliefs and moral teachings when voting for our political candidates. However, no one should expect such an obvious statement from the Pope.
Benedict's teachings and continued applications of Catholic social and moral issues might just have an effect on the United States political outcome in November. Thank God for such a dominant and clear voice regarding Catholic morality and beliefs. His actions and words are the real authority that seems to be lacking when it comes to a proper education of Catholic voters. Directions and teachings coming from Benedict XVI hold the weight and traditions of over 2000 years of Catholic teachings. In terms of a message for a relatively young American republic, Catholic voters in the United States should take his apostolic teachings very seriously when it comes to applying them to contemporary American moral and social issues.
As a Catholic, hopefully Benedict XVI will influence the outcome of the United States elections in a drastically positive manner. Perhaps the inclusion of Catholic traditions and principles of Catholic morality will make Americans both Catholic and non-Catholics realize our lives are subject to a higher Divine authority than secular politics. For years, the Church prayed for the conversion of the Soviet Union and a return to Christian faith. Maybe Benedict's message will have the same effect in Election 2008 and return the United States to an acceptance of Christian moral, social and ethical principles envisioned by the Founding Fathers when they established this republic in 1776..."under God!"

Posted by: Hugh McNichol | March 27, 2008 01:38 PM

A lot of us wish that he would keep his political meddling confined to Europe, trying to overthrow Italian and Spanish politicians.

It's bad enough that he gave us Bush - I'm sure that he and McCain will get along handsomely - they both want to ban gays and abortion, and who cares about that little war thing when you are interested in "morality"

Posted by: Patrick ONeill | March 29, 2008 09:40 PM

Patrick O'Neill,

Are you aware of the fact that this Pope has been vocal in opposition to the war, or have you just decided to ignore that fact?

Are you aware that he has been openly critical of unbridled capitalism?

Or does it just bother you that he disagrees with you on the hot button issue of abortion? Let us assume for a moment, just for the sake of argument, the foundation of his position. Taking the position that the unborn is a human person, what other option would he have but to oppose abortion? Of course, you may disagree about the basic position, but if that is the position he has reasoned to, would it be better for him to say "taking the life of a human person is a personal matter?" It would be no different than saying that "slavery is a personal matter for the slave master," or "the holocaust was a personal matter for a few German political and military officials." The moral equivalents are clear.

Were you critical of the last Pope when he opposed Soviet oppression, or do you just find his "meddling" bothersome when it opposes your pet positions.

Personally, I expect that good clergy will take clear moral stands and that among those stands will be a defense of our shared humanity and human rights. Apparently, you do not find such issues of "morality" legitimate areas for Church comment. What would you have your religious leaders do?

Posted by: The Dumb Ox | March 30, 2008 04:29 PM

One in three Americans either may not have heard of Benedict XVI, but amongst Catholics, we all know and admire the man. He's returning the Church to its foundations after the disastrous implementation of the reforms of Vatican II. The Catholic Church, which proclaims the love of Jesus, is the only remedy for a very sick world. I pay for the mission of Benedict XVI and for the whole world.

Posted by: Mark F | April 1, 2008 03:42 PM

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