Germany’s Joseph Ratzinger is the new Pope and will take the name Benedict XVI. Conservative American journalist and Catholic, Andrew Sullivan, explains the significance of the decision:

“Ratzinger’s immersion in political culture wars has become even deeper. I also cover his radical innovations on the role of women, gays and conscience. A woman should follow the “roles inscribed in her biology”; gays are inherently disposed to “intrinsic moral evil”; conscience as the modern world understands it is illusory. Yes, we have a new Pope. Just like the old one, but without any of his redeeming features.”

Personally, I salute the choice of Ratzinger, if for no other reason than the church’s inherent bigotry and misogyny will finally be clear for all to see. Prediction number one: attendances in churches in the Western world will continue to dive due to Ratzinger’s divisive nature. Prediction number two: the new Pope will be completely incapable and unwilling to engage on any of the fundamental issues facing the world in the 21st century. Prediction number three: being a former Nazi will do wonders for the church’s image.

All in all, a grand day for the secularists.

UPDATE: US Rabbi Michael Lerner explains why Ratzinger is “a disaster for the world and for the Jews.”

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