Monday, October 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Catholic Church remains force for moderation, progress

By
From page A8 | February 16, 2013 |

In the wake of Pope Benedict XVI’s stunning announcement that he’ll retire at the end of the month, a useful starting place for discussion is the phrase from Exodus 21:24: “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

To modern readers, the biblical quote may seem cruel and rigid, but the Old Testament sentiment actually reflected revolutionary flexibility and progress in Western religion.

Ancient warfare involved unrestrained killing and pillaging. By contrast, this Hebrew law codified proportionality and restraint, rejecting annihilation. Likewise, the Roman Catholic Church historically represents humanitarian progress. Historically, the church has been a force for restraint in war, reflecting the proportionality cited in Exodus.

The essential Christian message emphasizes compassion, and the church over centuries has played a vital role in relief of hunger, poverty and other human misery. The cumulative positive impact has been profound – among and well beyond the approximately 1 billion Catholics on the planet.

Today, hunger and poverty are gone for the majority of people in industrialized nations, and lifestyle and personal preferences have emerged as sources of major political controversies.

Reflecting enormous weight of tradition, the church maintains an essentially medieval structure and outlook, drastically at odds with popular contemporary culture. Vatican opposition to gay marriage and abortion has generated sustained, often acrimonious, public debate.

Benedict, who has led the church since April 2005, is both admired and condemned because he has pursued a strictly traditional interpretation of Catholic precepts. His rigid adherence to conservative Catholicism, along with a sometimes-clumsy public style, has fueled controversy.

Last April, he harshly criticized American nuns seeking greater equality within the church. His attack was unfair and politically unwise. In a 2006 lecture at Germany’s Regensburg University, the pope caused an uproar by seeming to accuse Islam of promoting violence. The Vatican quickly denied that was the intent, but having to mobilize damage control underscored the leader’s misstep.

During Benedict’s eight years in office, he has lived in the shadow of his charismatic, personable mentor and predecessor, Pope John Paul II. John Paul provided dramatic leadership in foreign policy. He supported Solidarity, the successful trade-union-based reform movement in his native Poland, which in turn contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union.

By contrast, Benedict is relatively reticent, with the outlook and demeanor of a reclusive scholar.

On the positive side of the ledger, he is the first pope publicly to acknowledge widespread shocking criminal sexual abuse by priests and the associated cover-ups. As pope, he has met with victims and has apologized publicly for the church’s lapses of enforcement.

This German pope also was notably effective, indeed inspiring, during a 2006 visit to Auschwitz. He candidly confessed the limitations of language in trying to describe the Holocaust.

Ethics and military strategy continue to be analyzed by contemporary Catholic scholars such as J. Bryan Hehir, a priest and senior faculty member at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

During the Cold War, Hehir guided the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ influential report on the use of nuclear weapons. Such work remains essential after the Cold War. Hehir also publicly criticized his church’s mishandling of its sex-abuse scandals.

Benedict’s retirement decision represents a drastic departure from tradition. For six centuries, popes have died in office.

Even traditionalists can see, and implement, progress.

Arthur I. Cyr is Clausen Distinguished Professor at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis. Email acyr@carthage.edu.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Girl Scouts explore sweet side of chemistry

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Time again for my Cheers and Jeers

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 4 Comments

Red Kettle Program returns for holidays

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Holiday Fashion Extravaganza registration deadline looms

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Elder depression and substance abuse topic of discussion

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Vacaville library to host composting series

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Senior Center hosts monthly travel presentation

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Total Home, Garden & Harvest Festival wraps up

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

Pumpkin Patch Festival set for final weekend

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Sessions teach about child support process

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Arrivederci! Italian Festival

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Local governments schedule meetings

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Napa man jailed for running over ex-girlfriend

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

Weather for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Cruise ship docks with Ebola-watched health worker

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Friends, family of Ebola patient reach milestone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Obama switches gears, confronting Ebola head on

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
CDC to revise Ebola protocol, Pentagon preps team

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Expelled Nazis paid millions in Social Security

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California lottery sales top $5B for first time

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Archaeologists seek movie set in California sands

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
The 10 semifinalists for World’s Funniest Person

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

On the road to find the world’s funniest person

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Police hunt for clues near where Va. remains found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Super drunk woman arrested, mistook jail for bar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Robotic device helps paralyzed groom walk aisle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Coroner: 6 fire victims died of smoke inhalation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
New England raking in millions from leaf peepers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

UN says Iraq has executed 60 people this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Pope beatifies Paul VI at remarkable synod’s end

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

S. Korea: 2 Koreas exchange gunfire along border

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Sweden: 3 credible sightings in submarine search

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

5 Things to Know about Pope Paul VI

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Marine accused in Philippine killing tests US ties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Opinion

Beware a Trojan horse

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
Pulse poll question

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Is it truly affordable health care?

By Jim Mccully | From Page: A8, 18 Comments

Suisun mayor offers his endorsements

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
Which candidates support Alzheimer’s cure?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

I’m too scared to leave my abusive husband of 15 years

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
Report: Nashville songwriter Paul Craft dies at 76

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Reported ‘Easy Rider’ chopper sells at auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
‘New Girl,’ ‘Cosmos’ win Environmental Media Award

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
‘Fury’ blasts ‘Gone Girl’ from top of box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

TVGrid Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Comedians honor Jay Leno with humor prize in DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Manning breaks Favre’s TD mark in 42-17 win over 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Tim Lincecum waits his turn, still yet to pitch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Keselowski keeps title hopes alive at Talladega

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Palmer leads Cardinals past Raiders 24-13

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Rangers net 2 in 4 seconds; Lundqvist stops Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
NFL roundup: Jaguars bounce Browns, gets first win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

SEC is 1st conference to put 4 in top 5 of AP poll

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ski champ Svindal injured while playing soccer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Serena Williams hits back at Russian official

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kings pick up G Ben McLemore’s option

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rockets beat Warriors 90-83 in exhibition game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Pacquiao makes professional basketball debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cal receiver Trevor Davis released from hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sounders rally for 2-2 tie with LA Galaxy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Royals dependent on 3-headed bullpen monster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Hend wins Hong Kong Open in a playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Baek wins playoff to take LPGA South Korea

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Ilonen beats Stenson in World Match Play final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Jay Haas wins Greater Hickory Kia Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Ben Martin wins 1st PGA Tour title in Las Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Denkinger’s miss revisited as Series returns to KC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Facebook, Apple pay for egg freezing, sperm donors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Rose is Rose Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield October 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Blondie Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7