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Was Pope Benedict the Wrong Choice?

May 18, 2009

At Foreign Policy, David J. Rothkopf asks the question: did the Catholic Cardinals make a mistake in selecting as Pope a former member of the Hitler Youth and the Nazi army:

Clearly, just because an individual has a dark chapter in his past — whether it was a mistake or a failure to make a choice to resist an ultimate evil — that does not disqualify him from having a life of value or accomplishment. However, when elevating such men (or women) to prominent, powerful, and richly symbolic posts, the characteristics of these individuals in question often become secondary to the role those characteristics and the reaction to them play in the selection process. Whether they are part of the justification for the selection or, in this case, considered dismissible or minimizable, how they are treated speaks to the character of the selectors and the institution they represent even more than they speak to the character of the person under consideration.

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