Does a deadlocked Vatican favor "God's rottweiler"?

Day two of pope convention yields no winner; will the next pope be a former Hitler Youth?

"The Black Smoke of Indecision" is the goofy, portentous headline at Drudge this morning. The Church needs a pope who can shore up its dwindling market share, particularly in the world's poorer countries, where it's been losing adherents to pentecostalism and homespun, charismatic variations on Catholicism. But if the cardinals find themselves deadlocked, it will augur for an oldster pope, someone who will ascend to heaven sooner rather than later and let the Church have another go at it.

It would seem to strengthen the chances of German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the 78-year-old former aide to Pope John Paul II and a leading medievalist voice in Vatican affairs. Ratzinger's last stump speech before the cardinals' pre-election vow of silence decried the "dictatorship of relativism": 

"How many doctrinal winds we have known in these last decades, how many ideological currents, how many styles of thought," he lamented.

"The thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves, tossed from one end to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, to libertinism, from collectivism to radical individualism, from atheism to religious mysticism, from agnosticism to syncretism," the prelate observed. [Read whole article.]

Notice that there's one 20th-century ideological current the Rat omits from censure: fascism. As a whippersnapper, Ratzinger was a member of Hitler Youth--a program that, given his distaste for shifting, contingent values, he presumably still approves.

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