Rhode Island Catholics, whose numbers make the state the most Catholic state per capita in the country, yesterday expressed strong but mixed opinions on the selection of conservative Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany as the new pope.
Some praised Ratzinger, regarded as a disciplined keeper of Catholic orthodoxy, as someone who will guard church teachings.
Others criticized the choice, saying the 78-year-old Ratzinger is too doctrinaire, and that the church needs more of a shepherd to unify the faithful. ["Empire Strikes Back"]
But one prevailing thought mentioned by Rhode Island Catholics yesterday was that the elderly cardinal may just be a transitional pope, who will lead Catholics for the next 5 or 10 years, making no drastic changes, while the church considers its priorities for the next millennium.["Buddy Christ?"]
(See "Two Storylines" post.)