>If Obama Were Pope

>Ruth Gledhill, the Religion Correspondent for the Times Online has published a translation of an article published by Professor Hans Kung, the great Catholic theologian. The article, “If Obama Were Pope,” was published in German and was translated with Kung’s permission.

You must read this article. Here is an excerpt:

Whereas President Obama, with the support of the whole world, is looking forwards and is open to people and to the future, this Pope is orientating himself above all backwards, inspired by the ideal of the mediaeval church, sceptical about the Reformation, ambiguous about modern rights of freedom.

Whereas President Obama is concerned for new cooperation with partners and allies Pope Benedict XVI, like George.W Bush, is trapped in thinking in terms of friend and foe. He snubs fellow Christians in the Protestant churches by refusing to recognize these communities as churches. The dialogue with Muslims has not got beyond a lip confession of ‘dialogue’. Relations with Judaism must be said to have been deeply damaged.

Whereas President Obama radiates hope, promotes civic activities and calls for a new ‘era of responsibility’, Pope Benedict is imprisoned in his fears and wants to limit human freedom as far as possible, in order to establish an ‘age of restoration’.

Whereas President Obama is going on the offensive by using the constitution and the great tradition of his country as the basis for bold steps in reform, Pope Benedict is interpreting the decrees of the 1962 Reform Council in a backward direction, looking towards the conservative Council of 1870.

Read the article by visiting Ruth Gledhill’s blog.

It is difficult to judge Obama’s Presidency after just ten days since his inauguration. Some Americans may disagree with some of Kung’s evaluation of Obama’s accomplishments as President, but Kung knows the Catholic Church and he knows this Pope and his criticism may be justified.

However, in the same way Americans may disagree with Kung’s evaluation of Obama’s performance as President, I am sure many Catholics will disagree with Kung’s evaluation of the Pope’s perfomance as the head of the Catholic Church.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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4 Responses to >If Obama Were Pope

  1. Neil Parille says:

    >I haven’t read the article, but I have a hard time taking it seriously.Kung’s problem is that the pope isn’t a liberal, which is what you would expect from Kung. But he then has to add that:”Whereas President Obama radiates hope, promotes civic activities and calls for a new ‘era of responsibility’, Pope Benedict is imprisoned in his fears and wants to limit human freedom as far as possible, in order to establish an ‘age of restoration’.”Imprisoned in his fears? So he’s not just wrong, he is a psychological misfit. Give me a break.And as anyone knows who has read Ratzinger/B16, he is far from an extremist. His view on biblical criticism are mainstream (supports evolution, there are multiple Isaiahs, Paul didn’t write the Pastorals, etc.) He recently came out in support of John Paul II’s Assisi spectacles. If he wanted to change Rome’s relationship with Jews, he would have removed arch-liberal Walter Kasper (who is against missionary activity to the Jews) from his position as chief of interreligious dialgoue.


  2. Anonymous says:

    >I think one of the reasons Protestants love to quote Hans Kung, is because — like them — he’s not very Catholic.JT


  3. Rafa says:

    >If Obama were Pope, first, he would no more use our money to economic issues but to promote abortions throughout the whole Christian world. He would proclaim himself as the new messiahs (like many people called him); and from its authority: he would change some parts of bible which does not fit with the current society. Like the right of life, homosexualism and profit. So, we would no more feel ashamed for our sins; Actually, he would explain that religion is not that important anyway, so everyone is allowed to choose by itself since earlier age, so in the end the Catholicism would become just a distraction for weekends. For some ignorant people who cannot see the marvelness of our economic-moral society .


  4. >Rafa,By your standards, our society would be completely different if Obama were Pope, but he is not.Our society offers an opportunity to every individual to achieve his or her goals in life; we may need some change, but we live in a great country.Claude Mariottini


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