Benedict XVI Will Test Religious Divides

April 21, 2005

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On April 21, 2005 The Christian Science Monitor reported, "Moving rapidly to assuage fears that he would turn the Roman Catholic Church inward, Joseph Ratzinger pledged in his first sermon as Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday to reach out to believers of all faiths and none, promising to 'continue ... sincere dialogue with them.' His 'primary task' would be to 'reconstitute the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers,' he said in Latin at a Mass in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel. 'Good sentiments' are not enough, he added. 'Concrete acts that enter souls and move consciences are needed.' Observers inside and outside the church wonder how the man who enforced orthodox doctrine for 24 years will do this. He has balked at the prospect of Muslim-majority Turkey joining the European Union, and wrote that other Christian churches 'suffer from defects." Supporters welcome a global figure unwilling to water down his faith. Others see his election as widening the global religious 'red-blue' divide between conservative moral absolutists and liberals of all faiths who say religion must be more inclusive."