Thursday, October 4, 2007

Benedict XVI & Ron Paul

In August of 2005, over four hundred thousand youths from around the world flocked to Cologne to see a frail old man preach the message of the Gospel. Benedict XVI did not have the fire or charisma of his predecessor John Paul II, but nonetheless, the world's youth hung on this man's every word. There was no need for fireworks, no need for liturgical dance, the world's youth needed none of the worldly things many of their parents try to placate them with. What they needed was the Message: "My dear young people, you too offer to the Lord the gold of your lives, namely, your freedom to follow Him out of love, responding faithfully to His call..." With that call, thousands knelt behind this old bishop in Eucharistic adoration. Benedict XVI's profound commitment to the Message, in spite of his relatively bland persona, has won over world youth. It is their hope that Benedict will deliver into action the wonderful ideas and rhetoric espoused by the great John Paul.

Currently, in America we have a similar phenomena with Dr. Ron Paul. The media, the elites, and most baby boomers are baffled by the growing youth movement in support of a man whom they describe as "ordinary, frial-looking" with an "unexceptional" speaking ability. Of course, once again youth are lured not by the condescending superficialities of the candidate's persona, but his commitment to a profound message, freedom. Paul's predecessor in the freedom message was none other than the late Ronald Reagan. Like John Paul II, Reagan's charisma and freedom oriented rhetoric inspired Americans throughout the 1980's. What America's youth are hoping for in Ron Paul today, is that Reagan's freedom oriented rhetoric is set into action, particularly against both the domestic and foreign policies of the culture of death.

And so their respective followings grow, in spite of derision by American elites. For instance, when the Tridentine Latin mass was recently given liberalized status in the Catholic Church, Cardinal O'Malley of Boston tried to downplay its significance: "This issue of the Latin Mass is not urgent for our country..." He, of course fails to see the growing number of young families as well as old pre-boomers who are finding a great interest in the ancient liturgy. The same goes for Ron Paul's messages. For example, with regard to banking and finance, Paul seeks to eliminate the Federal Reserve, replacing it with a gold standard. While elites deride these ideas as both anachronistic and unrealistic, America's youth is much more skeptical of the current power structure, with a growing interest in the "classical" ways of doing things. In both Benedict XVI and Ron Paul, we see a rebirth of the practices and ideals held onto for decades by a tiny remnant. [Maybe we needed restoration of the Latin Mass before we could restore the gold standard.]

I was originally tempted to compare Benedict XVI and a Ron Paul presidency to the collaboration between John Paul II and Ronald Reagan, but their collaboration dealt with a more black and white challenge than what we face today. Today, like in the early 20th Century, we see a world fractured by nationalism, terrorism, and total war. I'm hoping we see the waning of the leviathan that began amidst the heroic protests of Benedict XV and Blessed Karl of Austria less than a hundred years ago. I'm hoping for a Ron Paul presidency to help Benedict XVI bury the leviathan and curtail the destructive power lust of the 20th century. Benedict eliminated the papal tiara from his coat of arms, symbolically demonstrating that the Church's authority is not authoritarian. Paul, like Benedict, seeks to restore the proper role of power vested in the American presidency by bringing its office back to the enumerated powers delegated to it by the Constitution. In other words, the President and the Federal government's authority is not authoritarian. A Ron Paul presidency during a Benedict XVI papacy would make a formidable challenge to a world enthralled by the culture of death. Both men know how to intelligently deal with the Middle East such that both east and west will mutually benefit from a peace based on free trade, actual diplomacy, and understanding.

I wonder if Benedict XVI knows who Ron Paul is and how well the revolution reconciles with the Message of his Papacy?

Blessed Karl and Benedict XV, pray for us.