Ratzinger er uegnet til å lede den katolske kirke. Han mangler den karisma og kommunikasjonsevne som Johannes Paul II hadde. Hans program vil aksentuere avkristningen av Europa, skriver Timothy Garton Ash.
Ash ser på den moderne verden slik den er, og vurderer den nye paven ut fra den: han er håpløs for oppgaven.
Atheists should welcome the election of Pope Benedict XVI. For this aged, scholarly, conservative, uncharismatic Bavarian theologian will surely hasten precisely the de-Christianisation of Europe that he aims to reverse. At the end of his papacy, Europe may again be as un-Christian as it was when St Benedict, one of the patron saints of Europe, founded his pioneering monastic order, the Benedictines, 15 centuries ago. Christian Europe: from Benedict to Benedict. RIP
Joseph Ratzinger has all the conservatism of Karol Wojtyla with none of the charisma. He can be charming, witty and persuasive in intellectual debate, as he showed recently when taking on the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas, rather as Benedict XIV took on Voltaire in the 18th century. But for a wider audience his soft, precise voice, mildly professorial manner and uncertain wave cannot begin to compare with the communication skills of the great actor who was his predecessor. Nor do they compare with the potential appeal of some of the alternative candidates, younger men from Latin America who could credibly have made the Catholic church one of the strongest voices for the world’s poor. Paradoxically, a Latin American pope might have had more appeal to young Europeans than this European one.
Selv om Ratzinger er en overgangspave kan han meget vel leve i 10 år. Da skriver vi 2015: det vil være et Europa som vil være langt mer muslimsk i de fattigere storbyområdene, og enda mer sekularisert i de rike. Hvorvidt det vil være et bedre sted å leve, er et annet tema, skriver Ash. Underforstått: det er slett ikke sikkert.