New pope brings continuity with previous papacy, says U.S. official
By Agostino Bono
Catholic News Service
Pope Benedict XVI blesses a child as he leaves a prayer service in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome.
(CNS photo from Catholic Press Photo)
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI will bring great continuity with Pope John Paul II regarding Catholic doctrine and morals, said Father Thomas G. Weinandy, a Capuchin Franciscan who is executive director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices.
"One of his great strengths is that he knows the theological scene around the world," Father Weinandy told Catholic News Service April 19, the day Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope.
"He will try to reach out to women but he isn't going to ordain them," he added.
Where the new pope may differ from his predecessor is emphasizing more renewal within the Church, he said.
"It will be interesting to see the kind of bishops he appoints," said Father Weinandy.
Because of the child sex abuse scandals in the Church, he will be concerned about seminary training and the type of men being ordained, he said.
Pope Benedict will also focus more on bioethical questions arising from the new technology and medical advances, he said.
"He will study the implications. Are the new advances for real human advancement or are they for human destruction?" he said.
"He'll be less of a globe-trotting pope," said Father Weinandy.
But he will continue to stress Church social teachings on justice, the despair of the poorer nations and the spread of AIDS in Africa, he said.
The new pope had headed the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1981 and had a reputation as a stern disciplinarian.
He was "prudent, patient and fair" with dissenting theologians, said Father Weinandy.
"He was criticized by those theologians who didn't want the Church to speak definitively on many issues. Some of them would like to waffle on doctrinal and moral issues. There are some issues the Church cannot waffle on," he said.

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