Today's Blogs

In Praise of Papa Ratzi

Bloggers gossip about the newly elected pope, mark the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, and discuss New York’s PEN literary festival.

In praise of Papa Ratzi: Today, the conclave of cardinals elected Germany’s Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, generally considered a “doctrinal hard-liner,” to be the next pope. The National Review Online’s blog The Corner excerpts Ratzinger’s writings here.

“The Church could not have picked a better Pope!” crows conservative and “realistic Catholic” blog The World According to Oatney. “He will, no doubt, be one of our great Popes because he will lead the Church through a period of cultural, social, and what may be political persecution.” Catholic The Anchoress writes, “That moment at JPII’s funeral, when the crowd chanted SANTO, SANTO and Ratzinger stood there, watching, blinking, hearing it. At that moment he seemed very human and humble to me, and I couldn’t help thinking that he truly HEARD them, really felt their faith, and their optimism, and thought: We must keep the faith with these people.”

Not everyone is happy. “The Vatican continues its descent into irrelevancy. More homophobia, more head-in-the-sand about contraception and AIDS prevention. No marriage for priests, no increased role for women in the church. I don’t even want to guess how he’s going to handle the church’s utter failing in regard to the handling of its child-molesting priests. Sad,” writes liberal lesbian Pam Spaulding on Pam’s House Blend. “He’s not so much an antipope as an anticlimax,” pooh-poohs Tim Cavanaugh on Reason’s blog Hit & Run. All Things Bru points out the Wikipedia community’s lively discussion about how to write about the pope.

Are end times near? Noting that Ratzinger is not a Benedictine but that his choice of papal name is a sign of respect for that order, Jared Olar on Christian blog XCG writes  that, “Catholics who go in for the old Prophecy of St. Malachy are hyperventilating that His Holiness has chosen the name ‘Benedict.’ If the list of Popes from the Prophecy of St. Malachy is legitimate, the current Pope would be the next to last one, cryptically called ‘Gloria Olivae,’ the Glory of the Olives. Pope ‘Gloria Olivae’ supposedly will lead the Catholic Church as the final tribulation and persecution of Catholics begins at the hands of the Antichrist.”

Read more about Pope Benedict XVI; readSlate coverage of his election.

Oklahoma City, 10 years later: Today marked the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. “I spent part of my morning down there at the memorial with alot of different people from different backgrounds coming together as one, in memory of friends and loved ones lost. I am sad for the loss of four good friends…but thankful my dad had passed that building three minutes before detonation,” writes Oklahoma City resident Seventfury. Some still await closure. “To this day the FBI has never sufficiently explained why they ended the search for John Doe No. 2 after McVeigh’s capture. Circumstantial evidence and numerous witnesses seem to confirm, beyond a reasonable doubt, that John Doe No. 2 existed,” asserts Oklahoma-based Mike’s Noise.

Taking pains to note that he doesn’t “do conspiracy theories,” conservative blog Liberty Just in Case writes, “I can think of no better way to honor the memory of those who died in The Murrah Federal Building than to recommend [The Third Terrorist] by Jayna Davis.” Davis’ book posits a link between Middle Eastern terrorists and Oklahoma City and claims that an Iraqi soldier was John Doe No. 2. Grad student Soloveichikpundit, who has read Davis, criticizes the FBI and the CIA’s investigations and insists, “McVeigh died claiming that he acted alone, but his statements are hardly credible, he had nothing to gain from claiming to be an Iraqi agent.” Pointing out that April 19 is the anniversary of the battle of Lexington and Concord, the Nazi takeover of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Waco tragedy, and Oklahoma City, Josh Poulson writes, “If there’s a ‘repeating day of death’ today is a front-runner.”

Read more about the Oklahoma City bombing.

More boring than the sword: PEN World Voices: The New York Festival of International Literature commenced this weekend. Gawker’s sassy K. Eric Walters, who includes a photo of author Margaret Atwood snoozing during a kickoff event, has a rundown: “Before last night, it was hard to imagine anything more painful than sitting through a two-hour literary reading sober. But at KBG, I uncovered the unimaginable: standing sober through a two-hour reading of authors reading the works of other authors. Advertised as ‘Banned Voices,’ I was praying that perhaps the works I’d be hearing had been banned for their explicit sexual content. I was mistaken.” On 400 Windmills, a blog devoted to reading Don Quixote, Bud Parr offers extensive notes from a Spanish-language panel about translating Cervantes: “The conversation was very compelling and I sat rapt for two and a half hours while the passionate Cervantistas spoke about their craft.”

Read more about the PEN festival.

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