E.D. Kain claims Ratzinger is being unfaily singled out for crticism not because three offices he saw sheilded at least three (one, two, three) pedophiles from justice, but because he is ugly. I wish I were kidding.
Why a man who is so extraordinarily similar in faith and politics to his predecessor – the much beloved John Paul II – is a question that has been bothering me for some time, and I think I’ve stumbled on the answer. I think it is entirely an aesthetic obsession which motivates Benedicts fiercest critics. Let’s face it, unlike the charismatic John Paul II, Benedict has a somewhat sinister look about him. He has aged in such a way as to make him look less the cuddly grandpa and more the evil villain; he bears an uncanny resemblance to Emperor Palpatine.
mean no disrespect to the Holy Father in pointing this out. It isn’t exactly something he has control over, nor is it any way to judge a man’s character. But it is easy for us to subconsciously find ways to despise something we find to be ugly or flawed, and I really do think that this entirely incidental feature influences the way people think about the Pope in ways which they’re not even fully aware of. If you doubt me, just look at the pictures critics use in their posts or articles – always the least flattering they can find. And how many people have it in their heads that – unlike John Paul II – Benedict is some arch-conservative? Is there any reason for this belief beyond a dislike of the man’s face?
There’s reason for belief in Ratzinger’s “arch-conservatism” in his record. He re-approved the recitation of of the Latin mass that includes a prayer for the conversion of the Jews to Catholicism, barred even celibate gay men from joining the priesthood, and his opposition to contraception is so fervent he spread falsehoods about condoms exasperating the AIDS crisis in Africa. Then, of course, he invited Anglican clergy who disapproved of LGBT-inclusion and women’s ordination to join the Catholic Church, even suspending celibacy requirements to do so.