It's funny how the mind works sometimes. It can get you from point A to point F in the blink of an eye, without you even figuring out how you got past points B, C, D and E. I had one of those synapses on Saturday night after hearing about the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist. It went something like this:
- What kind of appointment will Bush make - will he hold fast, or give in to the moderates and liberals?
- Will he pick a Thomas or Scalia, or will it be more like Souter or Kennedy?
- I don't have the greatest confidence Bush to begin with.
- After all, I didn't even vote for him the first time - I voted for Buchanan.
- I did vote for Bush against Kerry, but only because a Kerry presidency would have been even worse for the country.
- Not to mention the harm it would have done the Church. That was really my major consideration.
- But of course, in November 2004 we didn't know Cardinal Ratzinger would be the new pope less than a year later.
- Would that have changed anything?
And so, in the blink of an eye, we got from here to there and finally to my question, which is:
Would the election of Kerry, followed by the election of Benedict, have forced a showdown in the Catholic Church? Would we have seen Benedict deliver the ultimate in ultimatums to pro-abortion American Catholics? Would this have expedited the coming of the smaller but stronger Church that Cardinal Ratzinger often talked of? Would it, in short, have resulted in Benedict speaking with a force and moral authority which the American cardinals and bishops have so often failed to use?
Or would it have been a less visible, more subtle, under-the-radar battle that would have developed? And in the meantime would Kerry's pro-abortion stance, amplified by his pro-abort cohorts on both sides of the aisle, have caused great scandal and harm to the Church?
It's all 20/20 hindsight of course, but that's never stopped us pundits before. So that's why I'm sending this bleg to the Ratzinger expert, Christopher of the Ratzinger Fan Club, to get his opinion on this question. And feel free to chip in with opinions of your own, if you have them.
UPDATE: Christopher's answer is now up at Catholics in the Public Square (thank you, sir!). I'll be posting on this shortly.