Bells ringing at noon in Malta today marked the inauguration of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. This is the official begining of the 256th papacy. I don't plan to blog about His Holiness again soon after today, unless something quite extraordinary and/or unexpected comes from the Vatican.
This past week we saw the two main angles Benedict XVI's papacy may be giving us for the foreseeable future. The Pope's promise of openness toward the media and difference are the softest side this pontiff will show towards relative realities. It was quite enlightening to read in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that one of the last documents Cardinal Ratzinger was working on before he was called away to take over the Vatican was about the recognition that many 21st century Catholics have remarried outside the church after the failure of their sacramental marriage. This points to the distinct possibility that Pope Benedict XVI is not the archconservative we could expect from the church's former chief inquisitor.
Anyone who expected anything but admonishment from the Vatican towards Spain's joyous announcement towards the legalization of homosexual marriage and adoption rights must be living on another planet. I seriously doubt that the pope's position would be different today if any one of the other cardinals was elected instead of Ratzinger. And that's an absolute truth, if there ever was one.
Most amusing this week was the news about the ownership of BenedictXVI.com by Rogers Cadenhead. Thankfully, this great hacker is neither a pornographer nor an online gamling entrepreneur, even if he is something of a chance-taker (read: good gambler). He's already doing some good with the domain, towards Modest Needs (a fanstasic philanthropic society!) and he is more than willing to turn over the domain ownership to the Vatican if they'll consider his 5 requests (not demands, he insists):
I. 3 days, 2 nights at the Vatican hotel they built for the conclave. II. One of those [bishops'] hats. III. Complete absolution, no questions asked, for the third week of March 1987. IV. A back-cover blurb from the Pope for the next edition of Cadenhead's Movable Type 3 Bible Desktop Edition. But only if he uses the book to create his own weblog. V. World peace.
The fact that BenedictXVI@vatican.va received over 56,000 emails within the first day the address was activated should tell everyone that the pope cannot and will not be reading any emails sent to this address, except maybe the ones that some senior Vatican monsignior deems should be brought to His Holiness' attention.
To mark the end of the beginning, I'm including an image designed by my friend Joe Vassallo, which he sent me by email last night. The picture, he tells me, is for the new pope.
This posting is the last entry in the first year of Toni Sant's Blog.