Talk:Pope Benedict XVI/Archive 6

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Post replies to the main talk page, copying the section you are replying to if necessary. (See Wikipedia:How to archive a talk page.)

This archive covers some of April 20 and of April 21, 2005.

Please add new archivals to Talk:Pope Benedict XVI/Archive08. Thank you. Zscout370 16:49, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

BMW Slave Labour

I've reentered the information as a note, and I also noted that there is no current consensus about this information's inclusion. Please stop unilaterally deleting it -- we need to come to a consensus here before it is removed or reentered. Maybe we could resolve this by leaving the information in the notes section.

My personal opinion is that it should stay in because 1) it's noteworthy 2) it's factual 3) it's relevant as a character building experience of a world leader. I also don't see it as necessarily a negative -- perhaps being forced into this job he grew to be a more compassionate person? --Quasipalm 16:38, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

No-one is unilaterally deleting it. The talk discussions keep getting archived, but in all of these, the majority of people are in favour of deleting it. JYolkowski // talk 16:47, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
A slight majority may prefer it be gone, but Wikipedia strives for consensus, not a slim majority. con·sen·sus (kən-sĕn'səs) pronunciation n. 1. An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole
No need to be rude. My point is that you are accusing people of unilaterally deleting that, when that is obviously not the case. JYolkowski // talk 17:16, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Could we please stop reinserting the reference attempting to tie him in with Dachau? For God's sake, he was a conscript, not a concentration camp superintendent. His service record is identical to many thousands of other Germans during the war, but you don't seem them being linked up with Nazis. As Adam said earlier, I don't like the man much, but let's at least be fair in our criticism of him. Slac speak up! 23:07, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I've given up trying to impose some standard of rationality about this while everyone is in such a state of moral righteousness. I would like to know how some of these people would have behaved if they had been 16yos in Nazi Germany. They would have defied the regime? I don't think so. I will wait till the article has settled down a bit then try and edit it. Adam 23:27, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • Adam, good idea. Not only wait to edit this section, but probably a few sections many of the people here try to toy around with, but kept on getting removed by the various edits/reverts/vandalism/etc. Zscout370 23:52, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • Adam, I think you're looking at this from the wrong point of view. The amount of time he spent defending the slave labor camp currently exceeds the amount of time he has spent as Pope. How many people have turned down the papacy? Probably not a whole lot of them. So why should we mention him being Pope, as any 78 year old chosen by the Cardinals to be Pope would have accepted the position. You see why this is an absurd argument? Yes, some people might turn it down, but some 16 year old Germans refused to comply with the Nazi regieme as well.
  • It doesn't necessarily reflect either way on Benedict XVI. Mentioning it is perfectly fine, and is totally NPOV. We are not here to censor information, and this is obviously important to many people. Remember the whole Vietnam fiasco with Kerry and Bush? That was important to a great number of people, while other people saw it as a "smear" against Bush because it might have reflected negatively on him. (Okay, it DOES reflect negatively on him, but still). Perhaps there is a better example; I don't know. But saying he defended a BMW plant which used slave labor is about as important as the names of the men who named him to various offices (other than Cardinal and such). He did it, we aren't saying he's evil because of it. The statement is totally neutral in tone and doesn't lead the reader to any conclusion; it simply states a fact. Titanium Dragon 01:03, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
How can it reflect NEGATIVELY on Bush that he refused to take part in the horrific US war crimes and criminal war of aggression against the people of Vietnam and POSITIVELY on Kerry that he did so, while it also reflect NEGATIVELY on the Pope that he just like Kerry did his duty and served his country, guarding his home town against air attacks? Is the one standard for Bush and Kerry, and another standard for the Pope? According to you, Kerry and the Pope should be the heroes, and Bush the coward. --93
The reason it reflects negatively on Bush is that he lied about it, and is currently doing to people in Iraq exactly what was done to people in Vietnam. Perhaps had he seen the horrors of war firsthand he would not be so willing to go to war. I don't have a problem with draft dodgers, I have a problem with people who dodge the draft and then lie about it. Regarding the pope, it doesn't necessarily speak positively or negatively of him, then, now does it? Titanium Dragon 21:50, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Guys, give it a couple of weeks, then come back and fix it. The brouhaha will have died down and the anons will have lost interest. Grace Note 23:58, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I agree. Much as I dislike the man, it is absurd to make a big issue of what he did in an era like Nazi Germany. If mature adults could not withstand the threats and fear generated by the Nazis, can you really be surprised if a 16 year old did what he did. Come on, be fair. People like me dislike the current pope intensely for the sweeping ill-informed generalisations he made of many of those he criticised. If we twist his childhood actions and misrepresent them as a cardboard cliché of reality, we will be doing the same injustice to him as he has done to gay people, etc. Treat the man with the same standards of objectively and fairness in the main article as we wish he would treat others. FearÉIREANN 23:59, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I disagree. I think it's both factual and of interest to the general public. Why do you folks all asume that nobody will take the context of the situation into consideration? I also don't think this is necesarily negative. Maybe having been close to German atrocities he has a better sense of compasion? Who knows, but I think it should stay in the article. Let wikipedia give out facts and information and let the reader consider it. Err on the side more information (even if you rephrase it), not deletion, please. Negative facts ≠ POV. --Quasipalm 00:23, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
But the reader can't consider it fairly if they are presented with information that gives elements of his life undue weight. The "slave labour" thing is an aside that doesn't play any part in the actual narrative of his career. Its pragmatic effect therefore is to invite the reader to draw a conclusion. It *does not* tell us anything about the personal development, attitudes, or outlook of Benedict XVI. It's exactly such a small, seemingly inoccuous aside that contributes to building an unjustified impression. Cf. "He fought in the German Army, which was commanded by Adolf Hitler and the cause of numerous wartime atrocities". That's perfectly factual too.
George W. Bush threatened to beat up his father when he was a teenager. Factuality ≠ relevance. Slac speak up! 01:02, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Concur with Grace Note. Leave it alone for now. Hopefully, the article edits on a whole will die down soon.Bratschetalk random 01:08, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)
I disagree. The reader can consider it fairly; it is factual and a neutral statement. John Kerry served as a swiftboat commander during the Vietnam war. Is that a loaded statement? If we said where he did it, and what his missions were, would those be loaded statements? No. They're factual and likely important in some way or another, or at least notable. We should not remove it. Titanium Dragon 01:11, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
It is if we say "John Kerry served in the US Army during the Vietnam War. This army was involved in atrocities such as the My Lai massacre." See where I'm going with this? If we include it, we're presenting it on the assumption that it's relevant to understanding him. Slac speak up! 01:28, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Was Kerry at the My Lai massacre? No. Had he been at the My Lai massacre, it WOULD be relevant to include, and I would in fact advocate for its inclusion. However, as he was not in the My Lai massacre, it shouldn't be included. Titanium Dragon 21:50, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
If we were writing an article about the BMW plant, the statement would be relevant and should be included. This is an article about the Pope, though, so it isn't relevant. If such a statement is in the article, it appears to be relevant when it really isn't. See also the example immediately above. JYolkowski // talk 01:37, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Guys, I think you're looking at this the wrong way. The sentence may allow the reader to infer some guilt, but it also implicitly limits it. It will probably do more to protect the Pope from inaccurate accusations than it does to expose him to them. Clearly, people are interested to know what the Pope did during the War. No doubt, accusations and smears are going to circulate. Many people will come to Wikipedia looking for a somewhat more reliable version. Maybe they have been told that he was a concentration camp guard. They will read the sentence and go "Oh, I see." Then they'll make their own judgement, just as you have. Comment by User:
But the point is that they could make the assumption that Ratzinger was involved in or endorsed slave labour. This would be an inaccurate and unwarranted assumption, but it is encouraged by the editorial decision to stop actually narrating his activites and make an "oh, by the way . . ." aside. If the reader was thinking he was a concentration camp guard, the article will set them right by telling them what he did: guard a machine parts factory. Unless it can actually be proven that Ratzinger knew there was slave labour inside, or that he had some sort of contact or involvement in it, it's wholly irrelevant. Using my presidential examples from above, these little throwaway asides could cultivate in the reader the impression that GWB is a violent drunk or Kerry is a war criminal, without the need for anything so rigorous as actual proof. The statement doesn't "let" the reader make an assumption, it invites it. Slac speak up! 03:01, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
There is another angle that has to be considered. The flak batteries around the factory defended it and everything in it and around it. Hence, to the extent that they made the bombing more difficult and less accurate, they probably saved the lives of some of the slave laborers. This was especially important as often air raid shelters for slave laborers were inadequate or nonexistent. I hope this point illustrates the moral complexity of this whole issue. Balcer 03:42, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Moral complexities are part and parcel of the biographical history of the person who takes the title of a major religious leader. These can be presented in a way that is relevant (i.e., directly tied to their own actions, not coincidental or irrelevant details) without presenting a bias one way or the other. It is not the job of encyclopedists to cleanse history nor to make moral judgments one way or the other, but to present the relevant facts in the most neutral way possible. Omitting facts will not conceal them, it will only push them to other places where they will pop up in a biased form more conducive to unwarranted attacks upon the character of the individual. Let's present what we know and can document, and not offer condemnations or apologetics. Whig 03:47, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The key points here are "relevant" and "neutral". The slave labourers had no documented interactions with Ratzinger: he may have never met them; he may have never known they existed. No outside material has been cited to establish the material relevance of this fact. It's simply irrelevant to say he saved their lives, that one day he let one borrow his shoe polish, that he did whatever to them, since there's no evidence to state that he did and in any case it doesn't tell us anything about his 78-year-long life. It's just a random bit of factual information that gives a misleading impression by implying a connection where none in fact exists (I keep coming back to my Kerry/My Lai example). The premise that something has to be included solely on the basis that it's factual is superficially sensible but in reality leads to all sorts of unpleasant side effects. We have no control over anything but this entry; our entry should be a simple, neutral description of his wartime life. I can't stress this enough: **his wartime experience did not involve slave labourers,** any more than it did gas chambers. To imply otherwise involves a lot of torturous misdirection. Slac speak up! 04:50, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The statement is factually correct and neutral. I don't see how it is at all misleading; all the specific context that is being used to argue about it here is present in the article. It is furthermore relevant since it addresses concerns and questions many readers are likely to have about Benedict XVI. -- 05:44, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)Snarks

I see the statement as somewhat misleading as it creates a somewhat false impression of the situation in Germany during the war years. During the war Nazi Germany imported millions of slave labourers to work in its industries and agriculture. These were quite ubiquitous, and practically every German would have encountered them routinely. They were often allowed to go out into the street, wearing special badges. They were severely restricted in how they could interact with a German population, for example sexual intercourse with Germans was punishable by death ([1]). Many German farmers were assigned individual slave labourers to help them on their farms. Thus, just like most Germans at the time, Ratzinger would have encountered slave labourers in daily life just about anywhere in Germany. Therefore, singling out the BMW factory which he guarded for the fact that it had slave labour is in fact misleading. It implies that the closest Ratzinger came to victims of the Nazi German system was guarding the factory which employed slave labour. This is not the case. Balcer 06:05, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Even if two individual pieces of information are factual, putting them together tends to imply a connection. That's guilt by association. Ratzinger guarded a BMW plant against air attack + the BMW plant used slave labor = Ratzinger was involved with slave labor. The last part isn't explicitly stated, but it's implied by the association. I like Slac's example, so I'll repeat it: "John Kerry served in the US Army during the Vietnam War. This army was involved in atrocities such as the My Lai massacre." Both are factual statements, but when put together it suggests that Kerry is somehow involved with war crimes, and is thus completely POV editorializing. If Ratzinger directly guarded the slave laborers, managed them, made statements approving of their enslavement, etc, then that would be appropriate to mention. Yes, people deserve to know that BMW used slave labor during WWII, but that info belongs in the BMW article, that's why we have these wonderful hyperlinks. If it's OK to put any fact in this article, then perhaps we should say: "Ratzinger served in an anti-aircraft outfit that guarded a BMW plant. That BMW plant made airplane engines for Luftwaffe." Both are true, but are those engines at all germane to the Pope Benedict XVI article? -Eisnel 07:17, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

This argument is just stupid, all the Jewish organizations have stated that he has helped Catholic-Jewish relations and that he is not a nazi and is not connected to war crimes. The ADL even said that he is not an anti-semite, THE ADL! They think that someone who doesn't like Ariel Sharon is a servant of Hitler, I mean come on give it a rest.

Is anyone here happy about moving the issue into a footnote? I don't think it solves the problem. Str1977 19:34, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I don't think it solves the problem either. It should be included in the main text of the article. Fact of the matter is, it is factually accurate, and should be included. What he was guarding IS relevant; it was where he was stationed. If I was stationed in New York City on 9/11, I'd expect that to be included too. If I were in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed, then why wouldn't it be included? Saying that he was guarding a BMW plant which produced airplane parts using slave labor is NOT POV; it is quite neutral. Just because some people apparently cannot read what is written does not mean it is not NPOV. That is like saying that a paper undergoes genetic drift because its content evolves with the revisions - you're not putting it together correctly in your mind. Titanium Dragon 21:56, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Until I see "John Kerry served in the US Army in Vietnam, which massacred and raped thousands of Vietnamese women and children", this has nothing in this article to do. --83


Do we really need half a dozen press photos of him? It rather weakens our claim for fair use if we're just building a gallery of AP images. ed g2stalk 00:34, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I think we're waiting until official Vatican photos come out. At least, that's the case with the infobox photo: no promotional photo has been released yet. Bratschetalk random 00:52, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)
Only one photo of him was released from the Vatican. Maybe we should use his cardinal photo in the info box until we get a free use one from the Vatican. BTW, I sent an email to the Pope, so I will see what he writes back. :) Zscout370 01:10, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I like the idea of using his cardinal photo in the info box. It would be nice if some wikipedia users could get/take some free license pictures however. I would take some, but I am kind of nowhere near Rome right now :p SenorAnderson 03:08, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I could use a trip to Rome myself. Imagine all of the flag spotting/hunting/buying I will be doing....(smack from reality). Ow, I do not have any cash though :(. (Seriously, try a Google search). Zscout370 03:27, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Funeral Information

To whoever removed the funeral information, I want to know what was your logic behind it. I believe it is important that B16 was heavly seen (by the world for almost the first time) at the funeral of John Paul II, and I believed that visibility and the way he handled that situation probably caused him to win the approval of his peers for the papacy. Zscout370 01:14, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Controversial views>Abortion

Shouldn't Benedict denounce both the Democrats and the Republicans? The Democrats support abortion and the Republicans support the death penalty. Aren't both against catholic social teaching? SenorAnderson 03:03, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • Technically, yes. JP II was against both of those ideas, and did anything he could to pressure the United States (as a whole) to stop allowing both to happen. And since JP II's thinking is nearly the same as B16's, I am sure B16 will say something about it yearly. Though (my pov here), the latter has a better chance of it being stopped than the former. Zscout370 03:06, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Why more angry? The killing of innocent babies somehow seems more evil then removing a dictator from power who... killed innocent babies, and humans in general, ordered rapings, tortures.. etc. Rangeley 04:13, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • Because this war had just happened. All I am trying to say is that he should denounce all politicians that don't follow a principle of the catholic social teaching, not just the ones who don't follow the one on abortion. SenorAnderson 05:19, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
"The war had just happened", but the atrocity called abortion is also happening right here and now and the war would have to continue for a very long if it wants to emulate the "abortion body count". But that's not the real point. There's a difference in these three issues: abortion, death penalty, war (in Iraq).
Abortion is an intrinsically evil act, just like murder is and never be justified (save for the defense of the mother's life)
The death penalty however is in itself within the scope of the state's measures to keep the peace (traditionally represented by the sword). However it is a highly problematic measure for a couple of reasons and therefore it should be restricted and avoided as long as there's no alternative to keep the peace. Now the Church, the Pope (and me too) think that there are alternatives in the US (and elsewhere) and hence their stance.
With the war, again, Catholic doctrine holds that there can be just(ified) wars, where both the ends are just and the means too (obviously my rendering is superficial). Think about wars in the last century and you will come up with just wars, don't you. Of course there's a shift towards more pacifistic view in the Church because of the changes in war technology (you can see that especially in JPII). Now in the case of the Iraq war the Pope has admonished those in power towards peace, but the decision in this complex issue rested with the government (see, the Church doesn't take over governments) and those that went to war will have to answer for it somewhere. Of course that's true for abortion proponents too, but the difference is: their stance cannot ever be justified.
As for Democrats and Republicans: the Church doesn't discriminate according to party affiliation.
Str1977 08:42, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
1)The death toll of war in general is much greater then the death toll of abortion and we should not promote war.
2)Also, by not giving communion to politicians the church does not solving the problem. The church should be working on changing peoples opinions on abortion and not on changing the law. Even if abortions are illegal there are still going to be abortions and as well as other related problems. Fight the problem at the source by changing people opinion. Abortion can not be justified under CST, but keeping it legal can.
3)As long as prisoners are in jail, they are not a threat to peace.
4)This war has not followed many of the principles of the Just war theory.
5)Also, the church is discriminating because of party affiliation since it will give communion to politicians with one view contrary to CST but not the other. SenorAnderson 17:36, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
OK, once again, let me explain, Mr Anderson,
1)I don't promote war, neither does the Church. The death toll of war in general (since when) is huge, yes, but so is the death toll of abortion (in the US it's been 50 million in a little more than 30 years, it's 130,000 every year in Germany and if I researched the globala figures I would be shocked again.
2)Not giving communion to someone is aimed at making them feel that something is wrong and they should change something. (That only works to Catholics who should care much for receiving our Lord's body, as we Catholics call it.)
I'm all for changing people's opinion and also for helping future mothers "in need". But my first thought goes out to the dead children. They cannot wait until everyone has a change of heart. Would you argue that way in regard to postnatal killings? I don't think so.
Yes, the law cannot prevent everything (neither does the law against murder prevent every murder, but without this law ...). Even if you compare the botched, exagerated figures given by pro-aborts in the early 70s, abortion in the US is much higher now (consider almost a million every year) than it used to be before it was legalized.
3)I agree completely. I'm against the death penalty too, just like the Church. She says that the death penalty is not necessary in the US or other western states or somewhere else. But if you belonged to some nomad tribe or similar things. Also, detention for life no picknick either. That said, it's better than execution. Again, I agree with you, but please accept that the Church position is more nuanced. (Oh yes, by the way, the legal system (with or without the death penalty) deals with criminals, what crime did the unborn commit for deserving to die?)
4) Again I agree. This war is IMATPO not right according to just war theory (and it's also not legal under the current system of international law). But generally speaking, war can be justified (not this case, but in .. well think for yourself) and so can't say "he waged a war, he's in mortal sin" - and to be careful is wise. Don't worry, no "evil-doer" (to use a Bush term) will escape the consequence of his action.
5)What you are describing is not discrimination a long party lines (see reply to Quasipalm) Your using the term Catholic social teaching (I guess that's CST?) very loosely. Neither war, nor abortion are integral part of that, but if you wish so ... again, the difference is: abortion (including the laws) are intrinsically evil acts (apart from the one exception I gave), war can be justified under certain conditions (ends and means) and death penalty can be justified it there were no alternatives.
You might not agree with that distinction but it is a rational view and it is the view of the Church.
And what Catholic politicos are you talking about, that push death penalty and the Iraq war? Bush, Rummy and Wolfowitz are out of bounds anyway.
Str1977 20:18, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
"the Church doesn't discriminate according to party affiliation." Actually they do. The whole controversy was based on the Catholic Church saying, more or less, that democrats were evil because they are pro-choice. They never once said that Bush supporters were evil for supporting war or the death penalty. --Quasipalm 18:51, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Quasiplam, no she doesn't. Any pro-abort republican will be treated just as any pro-abort Democrat and every pro-life Democrat will be treated just as any pro-life Republican. Yes, unfortunately one party is much more devoted to abortion but neither is that the Church's fault nor does that mean it is discriminating according to party. The difference of the issues is explained above.
Str1977 19:44, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Pope's email address

There was an article on the new pope's email addresses, one for Italian and one for English. Should that be included in the article? --LeoTheLion 03:19, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • We can do that. I mentioned earlier that I sent an email to the Pope. I will let you know if I get anything back (and what it is included in the email). Zscout370 03:25, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    • Awesome, I just realized that JP2 had his own email address too. I'd be curious to hear his reply. [2]
      • You'd be curious to hear JP2's reply? Me too! Probably something like: "Heaven isn't quite what I expected. They didn't let me keep my hat. :( -JP2"   -Eisnel 07:31, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)   ;o)

"Cult of the Spade"

A little clicking suggests that this is probably a semi-ironic term for Reichsarbeitsdienst.

If so... excellent color phrase. But a parenthetical (like this one) defining this would be appropriate. The word "cult" is an eyebrow-raiser in a bio of a pope.

"Traditional, Traditionalist, Orthodox etc."


Consequently, orthodox theologians have hailed his elevation, while liberal theologians have not.

This isn't clear from the interviews that I've heard. Roadrunner 06:32, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Changed the wording of supported traditional Catholic, as the term "traditional Catholic" is used to refer to Catholics that have issues with Vatican II which does not seem to be the case with Benedict XVI. Roadrunner 06:35, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, Roadrunner, I reinserted "traditional". The word "current" has a fashion-like, temporary implication (as if it will or could be changed next week), so I don't think it's appropirate. I understand your objections to "traditional", but I think that would be more "traditionalistic" or "ultra-traditional" or "radical traditionalist" (rad trad). Tradition is of vital importance in the Catholic Church both before and after the Council. It's the rad-trads that accuse the postconciliar Church of breaking with tradition, but that's IMO not true. Again, I don't insist on "traditional" but only opposed "current". Str1977 08:50, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

My last post refers to the "supports the traditional catholic doctrines" or "opposed changing ...". Further down I made a change concurring with your point, changing "traditionalist" to "orthodox". Also further down I changed "modernist and tradionalist" to "modernist and anti-modernist". That's more appropirate as traditionalist is a bit anachronist (see above) and can be misleading. Also the efforts of Pius X back then are generally called anti-modernist (by himself) and Benedict XV tried to reconcile the factions while retaining orthodox teaching. Str1977 08:58, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Since Traditional Catholic has an accepted meaning referring to those who demand exclusive use of the Tridentine Mass,it should be avoided as a description of Benedict's admirers within the Roman obedience.If you look at Traditional Catholic websites like you will find they are already denouncing the new Pope as a left-winger.--Louis E./ 18:48, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
That the rad trads claim tradition all for themselves is clear, but should we surrender the term? And I don't think traditional with a small t is such a set term. But my concern was more what I posted above (especially the "current")
Str1977 19:30, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

"His Holiness"

Isn't the parenthetical in the introduction ("considered holy by the Catholic church") taking neutrality to an absurd end? If that parenthetical remains, we should, logically, put "considered majestic by historical convention and some of the British people" after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I've removed the "considered holy" because it just seems so patently mealymouthed. Mowens35 09:04, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Actually, someone removed the parenthetical before I had a chance to. But the intro hould state His Holiness, because that is what he is called. (Even the Dalai Lama's own website describes him as His Holiness.) Who keeps removing the HH? And for what reason? If we're going to be consistent, then we have to remove all such styles across Wiki. Mowens35 09:11, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

In point of fact, the Wikipedia entry on the Dalai Lama does 'not call him "His Holiness." I'm sure the Dalai Lama's own website does, just as the Vatican is welcome to call the pope "His Holiness." Wikipedia is supposed to have NPOV, the sites made by followers of various religions presumably do not.Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 21:04, 2005 Apr 22 (UTC)

I don't consider "His holiness" to be POV (as the remover obviously does), but also would not object muchly to removing it (despite my personal opinion). The Parenthesis however should not be allowed, as it is actually a negation of the "formal reference to the pope" (which is a fact) and a comment on the person's holiness (though that's not the meaning of the form). I agree with Mowens, it is neutrality taken to an absurd end, neutralityspeak used as POV. But in the end the article should conform to the style book and retain "his holiness Str1977 10:22, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

To not allow 'His Holiness' is the exact opposite of neutrality, and to somehow make the title less then it is would be an extreme POV. His Official title is 'His Holiness.' I dont care if you find Queen Elizabeth majestic or not, her title is 'Her Majesty.' Likewise. it doesnt matter if you find the Pope holy or not, his title is 'His Holiness.'Rangeley 14:31, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Somebody once proposed "title: His Holiness" after the name. 18:23, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

That would be simply wrong. It's a style (manner of address), not a title. Jonathunder 21:10, 2005 Apr 22 (UTC)


Has Entry been Frozen?

I cannot edit anything at all; was trying to shift a comma but was blocked from doing any editing at all. Has the entry been blocked? Or have I for some unknown reason? Mowens35 09:14, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Panzer Cardinal

It's not so much the content of his opinions as the forceful way that he expresses them that has gotten him his nicknames. One thing that needs to be mentioned is that his opinions aren't that different from Johnpaul II, but John Paul II didn't tend to provoke such a strong reaction as Benedict XVI. Roadrunner 14:04, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I think it's more the intellectual consistency in his statements (a Panzer - a tank is something very solid and firm) that has earned him that name. And note, that his previous office (in a way his office was to be enforcer) was more prone to such attack, than the Pope was. And his German descent makes it easier - try to come up with a Polish parallel? I can't. Plus: he is from Germany, which is also a hotbed of dissent (though I think the term Panzerkardinal is more of US provinence. Never heard it in Germany.) Str1977 14:20, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, your post got lost in reverting the vandalism. I now took out the "most", as it's not warranted and wrote "consistent and unyielding stance" with "orthodox" (even though IMO it is orthodox) Agree? Str1977 14:23, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Inconsistent DOB info

Current revision says "He was born at 4:30 A.M. on Easter Sunday and baptized only four hours later", but also gives DOB as April 16, 1927, which was a Saturday (Holy Saturday/Easter Eve, when baptism would in any case have been extremely unlikely except in an emergency). Anyone know which info is correct? Vilcxjo 14:46, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The issues

So short a time in office and so much debate about the man already.

Are we not conflating two issues - (1) Ratzinger/Benedict XVI the theologian/philosopher/person and (2) the legacy/influences of WWII?

Ratzinger is probably the last public figure for whom what that person did in WWII is considered relevant.

Will there be similar debates long after the event about other persons influenced by a negative legacy from the past? For example - the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe, dictatorships in Latin America, and Apartheid - to pick three different examples from widely separated regions.

Probably yes, but only if that "other person" annoys some people by "telling it like it is". Yes, that's POV but sorry, it's my POV. If Benedict had given in to all the people's pet issues, no one would be talking about hitler youth and BMW. Str1977 20:39, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I meant more in the sense of eg what the Stasi and other secret files said about relevant persons.

The point is that there will always be the double discussion - the person and the context in which they found themselves in the past which may have a bearing on the present about which people are ambivalent.

Sorry my post was more a rant than an actual answer (but I've wasted to much time with this issue already, but what can I do)
Could you please sign your post in any way.

Str1977 21:33, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)


With all the rewrites the list of works seems to be duplicated - and the link on papal conclave should be fixed.

Works Page

I think I found another one of his works: Europa - I suoi fondamenti oggi e domani. Zscout370 15:29, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Latin mistake in coat of arms

I don't know his motto, but "Cooperatores Veritatis", given in the text, is good Latin, whereas "Cooperatores Veritas", in the image, is not (it makes no sense). Bill 17:45, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • I have no idea either. I was just used the image that was presented to me on a mailing list. If the image is wrong, then we should make a note on the page. If the text in the article is wrong, then we can change the text. Zscout370 17:49, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Could the article have some information on the pope's transportation? --Contrib 18:26, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

There's an idea - boot him off to Australia, only to return on penalty of death! :) jguk 20:41, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • Unless he is using the Popemobile (or if you are a fan of Dennis Miller, the Popebulance), he has not (to my knowledge) went anywhere using a special vehicle. Zscout370 18:28, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

How does he get around? --Contrib 18:30, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • A car, from this photo grab. It looks like it is heavily secured by Italian police. Zscout370 18:37, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • In a Panzer tank towed by Rottweilers. 18:50, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The thing about the Panzer tank is that vandalism? Is that false information? --Contrib 18:53, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I think someone was trying to be a funny-man. Zscout370 20:15, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

A car will be used on most occasions. The popemobile is a way of presenting a pope to crowds, as on trips and formal occasions, and would expected to be used by this pope. --Oldak Quill 19:16, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

To be honest, it will be odd seeing this Pope in the popemobile after seeimng years of JPII in one. Zscout370 20:15, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Is there any possibility that he will bring back the sedia gestatoria for papal audiences?...I think it's in storage somewhere.--Louis E./ 20:28, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
No clue on that one either. Zscout370 20:35, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Some rewriting on the section on condoms. Although the Catholic Church has officially condemned the use of condoms as contraception, it has to my knowledge not spoken as authoritatively on the use of condoms for the purpose of preventing AIDS.

Furthermore, even if it were to do so, it's not clear what the Church's position is or would be on education on the use of condoms.

This is what makes Ratzinger's comments interesting. He took one side of a debate that has not been closed within the Church.

Roadrunner 19:55, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Someone may want to remove the picture of the Star Wars Emperor...

  • It does not appear in the article. Plus, I notice the reverts come quickly and swiftly. Zscout370 20:42, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Hey yall. Just hold onto your information in a another document, because with the various vandalism that is taking place, many of your well-meaning edits will be gone. Sorry about that, since I had to revert twice in a few mins, and I know a good edit was toast. Please bear with us, the seas will be rough for a little bit longer. Sit down, relax, fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the "fun" that is taking place on here. Zscout370 20:50, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Voting quote

Lulu of the lotus-eaters has asked for documentation regarding the new Pope's letter on voting for pro-abort politicians. Here is the relevant paragraph:

"A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons."

The whole document (Cardinal Josef Ratzinger’s Memorandum Sent to Cardinal McCarrick and Bishop Gregory - Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion. General Principles) can be found, among other sites, at: (Scroll down until after the link to JPII's Evangelium vitae. Hope that settles it. Str1977 21:25, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

OK, I'm persuaded by the documentation. It certainly differs from how the letter was previously exerpted and characterized in the US press, but it looks like a direct quote. I won't touch a reversion of the phrase. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 22:17, 2005 Apr 22 (UTC)

His Holiness

Since this has triggered some kind of edit war between believers and non-believers this definitely contains certain degree of POV on both sides.

It's almost humorous to watch the quasi-vandalism by pro-Catholic POV supporters of the use rather than mention of the honorific/style "His Holiness." Specifically, I browsed through a bunch of previous popes, none of whom are addressed this way in Wikipedia, with the exception of JPII, who had the honorific recently added (presumably in response to this talk page). Likewise, the Dalai Lama was never refered to as "His Holiness" in his Wikipedia page until today (by a user whose main other edits are to Pope Benedict XVI).
In other words, the clear pattern is (1) this style HAS NOT been used widely on Wikipedia; (2) For reasons unknown, some POV Wikipedians really want to add this usage for the new pope; (3) The POV'ers are selectively finding a few other high-profile pages to gratuitously add the style to, to make it seem like it's Wikipedia policy.
FWIW, I definitely concur that the article should mention the fact the honorific is used. But NPOV absolutely prohibits Wikipedia specificially endorsing that (highly charged) usage. If I were to start my own religion and tell people my honorific/style was "The One True Messiah Before Whom All Popes and Priests Are False Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters"... well, an article on me might mention the (silly) fact, but it shouldn't blithely endorse the usage. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters

There's an important distinction here. QE2 may or may not really be "majestic", but even if you don't think she is, it's a little white-lie formality to use the term. OTOH, for followers of religions that do not consider the pope "holy", it is an act of sacrilige to address him by that term. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters

The style is not something only Roman Catholic Christians use. (I am not Catholic.) To use a style is not to express an opinion on whether a reigning prince really is serene, or whether an office holder is excellent or honorable, or whether a monarchical cleric is holy. It is simply giving the traditional form of address. Jonathunder 21:31, 2005 Apr 22 (UTC)
The terms "Your Grace" has been used before, but I was not sure how. Plus, if this is getting a problem, I will email the Vatican (again) to see if this issue can be settled. I will go back into the archives and find the link I gave out to support my stance on using His Holiness. Zscout370 21:35, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Not for many centuries. Your Holiness has been the standard form of style for many centuries. FearÉIREANN 22:06, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
So is that the test for adding honorifics now? Being used for centuries? I think that's a poor excuse. --Quasipalm 08:55, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Please see: Talk:Pope_Benedict_XVI/His_Holiness. Since this topic has been discussed in the archives, I consolidated all the comments from each Archive page into one spot. Johntex 21:38, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I posted my suggestion for a compromise - formally addressed as "His Holiness" - This avoids both sticking it in front of the name, or calling it (wrongly) a title, or restraining its usage to Catholics (as Jonathan said - In fact, as Catholic, I would say that any politician or diplomat is more likely to address the Holy Father with "Your Holiness" or the Bishop with "Your Excellency". Str1977 22:00, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The phrase "formally address as His Holiness" seems accurate to me. It indicates the "style" (née title) without endorsing the claim it makes. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 22:23, 2005 Apr 22 (UTC)
Read this - Wikipedia:Manual of Style (biographies). Here you will see it is correct (or at least it's consistent with the Style Guide) to use the honorific title His Holiness in the first reference to the pope in this article. As for followers of other religions considering it sacrilegious to use the style - well they don't have to, but like it or not His Holiness is the Pope's honorific title. Therefore I'm amending the article accordingly. Arcturus 21:43, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Were you around on the JPII article? If so, perhaps you'd realize that the manual of style was in fact edited by jguk in order to promote his view that "his holiness" should be included before the name of the Pope. I have changed that section back to its original form, which included such as "Saint", "Sir", "Sri", and "Reverend" - actually, those were the examples given. "His Holiness" and "The Right Honorable" are VERY different from those. Titanium Dragon 22:08, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It is rather usual to call the pope the "Holy Father". Luis rib 21:48, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

But his formal style is His Holiness, just as monarchs are His/Her Majesty, many presidents are His Excellency, etc. It is standard. As to Lulu's comment on some religious seeing the title as a "sacrilige" (sic), so what? Many people disagree with religious titles of other leaders, but that is irrelevant. In writing an article we are not supposed to reflect the prejudices of others, but produce facts. Roman Catholicism technically doesn't accept the validity of Anglican orders, and pre-Vatican II used to refer to the "co-called Archbishop of Canterbury", or put Archbishop of Canterbury in inverted commas. But frankly it doesn't matter what Roman Catholicism thinks, we (rightly) refer to Anglican clerics by their titles and styles. Different branches of Islam and Judiasm dispute the validity of individual office holders' titles. We rightly don't. We treat every religious office holder according to their official title and style. The only exception is fringe individuals who declare themselves to be something they patiently obviously are not - like the Montana priest who was 'elected' Roman Catholic pope is a phone conclave of his friends and was installed in a hotel ballroom surrounded by 28 people. He isn't called His Holiness Pope Pius XIII as you could fill the number of people who believe he is the real pope into a small minibus. So whether some people are offended by it or not, we rightly call the pope "His Holiness", his standard title. Whether some people are offended or not we call Rowan Williams the Archbishop of Canterbury, etc etc etc. If we allowed the POV of outsiders from an organisation to veto how we refer to a head of an organisation wikipedia would become unusuable with people screaming 'I'm offended' everytime an article was written.

WRONG. We do NOT descriminate. This is POV, and you aren't seeing you're biased. What if I considered Catholics to be a "fringe group"? Maybe I do. I'm an atheist after all, and I see most religious people as being at least a little "off". Why should we be honoring the leader of such a bizzare "fringe group" which engages in a weekly mock cannibalistic ceremony with the style that group gave him?
I agree. I only see two options:
1) no honoristics, period.
2) all honoristics. including those for people who aren't popular, like say Hitler.
To say person A gets a honoristic title and person B does not is POV. To remove the POV, it's far easier to say no honoristics, period.
I also agree with the person who said this is probably a misunderstanding between European and American custom. I bet everyone complaining about the "His Holiness" line is an American (as am I) that finds the title in a reference setting off-putting. Europeans probably see it as a polite gesture, devoid of true meaning -- while formalities surrounding Kings, Queens, and other leaders are generally very unpopular and ignored state-side, probably due to a lack of history surrounding a ruling class. --Quasipalm 22:50, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Now do you see why this is biased? Who defines "fringe"? There IS no neutral way to define it. All religions are cults.
Pius XIII is just as entitled to be called "His Holiness" in Wikipedia as Benedict XVI is. Even if ONE PERSON, yourself, called you by that style, in theory we would have to include it if you were important enough to merit an article. We would also say WHY you have said style - you gave it to yourself. It is important enough to warrant inclusion, but it is NOT NPOV to include it at the beginning of an article, unless you want to include it for everyone who has a style, no matter how small a number of people call them by it. If they're important enough to warrant inclusion in Wikipedia, then such details are relevant.
You are showing your bias in this matter. Pope Pius XIII is not the head of the Catholic Church; he is the head of the true Catholic Church (tCC) and claims to be the head of the Catholic Church. He is induitably the head of the tCC, and as such deserves the style as much as the head of the Catholic Church. Or do you think the prince of Monaco is not worthy of a style either because he is the leader of such a small country? Titanium Dragon 22:20, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Put simply - it is for Catholics and no-one else to decide how popes are styled. It is for Anglicans and no-one else to decide how Anglican clergy are styled. It is for states and no-one else to decide how heads of states are styled. We simply reflect that. Choosing to ignore their choice would be POV and we can't do that. FearÉIREANN 22:06, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

You can style the Pope however you want in your personal life; you can call him "His holiness, heir to the throne of Peter Pope Benedict XVI". However, this is Wikipedia - we are supposed to be neutral. It isn't neutral to call the pope "his holiness" in the beginning of the article, it is neutral to state that he is officially styled "his holiness". Do you think we should call Hitler a hero, because the Neo-Nazis claim him as their own? After all, he IS their hero, and they can style him as such. If a neo-Nazi came along and changed the "Adolf Hitler" entry to "Hero Adolf Hitler", would you complain and revert it? Titanium Dragon 22:20, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Just for information:
There is no common usage honorific called "hero" in regard to Hitler. In his case the honorific is identical to his title "Fuehrer", possibly with an article or an possesive pronoun.

Str1977 23:50, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The question of the correct name has nothing to do with beeing POV or not, "His Holiness" is simply not part of his religious name. Have a look at the vatican homepage. The manual of styles is irrelevant here because "His Holiness" is not considered part of the name but Sir or Sri are. In the Encyclopedia Britannica for instance you will find no "His Holiness" before "John Paul II" in the corresponding article but the entry for Peter Ustinov is under "Ustinov, Sir Peter". --Tarleton 22:24, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

We are not talking about "names" we are talking about "styles" which is something totally different. Wikipedia policy is to use styles in articles. His Holiness, Sir, The Right Honourable, His Excellency etc are all styles and their usage is clearly laid out in wikipedia rules. Any attempt to remove a style in any article will be instantly reverted, a long standing policy. BTW I opposed the use of styles at the start of articles but was outvoted. The decision has been taken and is clear. If you disagree with it you can debate the issue elsewhere. But here as elsewhere the agreed democratically taken decisions on the use of names, ordinals, styles etc are and will continue to be enforced by wikipedians until policy is changed. So constantly complaining about the use of the style here is pointless. It is the agreed format which we all have to follow, which is why, as you may have noticed, every attempt to remove His Holiness has been reverted and will continue to be reverted into the future automatically. FearÉIREANN
Voted? Where was this matter voted on?! And how would that even happen on Wikipedia? Are you sure that claim isn't just, ummm, a lie? In any case, it is clearly wrong to start the Pope Benedict XVI article with the style and not do so for the Dalai Lama (which clearly deliniates the limited scope of usage of the style). Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 04:20, 2005 Apr 23 (UTC)
Here is the issue. The reason "his holiness" was added to the list of examples was because someone much like yourself (jguk) actually unilaterally ALTERED, without discussion, that particular policy. It was POV pushing at its finest, and was done in very bad faith. The decision was not made, it was pushed onto the community by a single individual without discussion. His holiness should NOT be there, and it is NOT NPOV. If after discussion in the style article it is eventually decided it IS actually official wikipedia policy and not just POV pushing, the first thing I'm going to do is go and alter the "Lucian Pulvermacher" article and change it to look a great deal more like this one, because that is the neutral thing to do. I'm going to change it to "His holiness Pope Pius XIII (born Lucian Pulvermacher)", ect. because if it is official wikipedia policy to have such honorifics, we must do so neutrally. The Dalai Lama does not (unless someone added it very recently) have "His Holiness" before him, despite the fact that it is his official style.
It was not a democratic decision, and you should not call it such. Titanium Dragon 22:52, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Get a load of this. Here you see that the Vatican does indeed use the title/style His Holiness (albeit in this example for John Paul II). If it's good enough for them then it's good enough for Wikipedia. I notice Tony Blair is referred to as The Right Honourable. Many people would say he is a long way from being honourable. However, that is his (honorific) title, and that's how he's described in Wikipedia. Those of you against His Holiness - are you suggesting we trawl though Wikipedia to remove all such styles? Someone noted above that the manual of style was edited to include reference to The Pope - so what! The style Guide is free to be edited; it evolves. I believe it is correct to include the example of The Pope. As for the argument that introduces the concept of POV - what rubbish! Read what NPOV/POV is all about; putting both sides of an argument in an article. It's not about these types of issue, but it's been hijacked by contributors who think it is. Anyone care to revert to His Holiness - I've already had my three reversions, I think. Arcturus 22:53, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
But it is not good enough for CNN, which is a far more reputable (not to mention neutral) source. This style pushing was a unilateral decision by jguk ages ago. And yes, I would suggest we trawl through Wikipedia and remove all the inappropriate styles, because it would be a great deal easier than trawling through and ADDING all the inappropriate ones to all the articles that do not have them. I would even volunteer to do so. You apparently do not know what NPOV means. It means you are saying it from a neutral point of view. CNN and other similar media outlets call the Pope just that - Pope Benedict XVI. They do NOT call him His holiness Pope Benedict XVI. It is netural to call him that. It is not neutral to call him "His holiness". It is neutral to call Sir Connery exactly that. It is neutral to call Reverend Sharpton that. It is neutral to call President Clinton that. But it is not neutral to call the Pope "His holiness". It is neutral to call him "Pope Benedict XVI". Titanium Dragon 22:58, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • And yes, the style is used in the Dalai Lama, and no, I did not just add it either. It reads, verbatum "The Dalai Lama belongs to the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. The current and 14th Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso. Between the 17th century and 1959, the Dalai Lamas were the most powerful political leaders in Tibet, controlling a large portion of the country from their capital at Lhasa. The Dalai Lama is also the most respected and venerated Tibetan Buddhist religious leader; in English, his followers and many others use "His Holiness" (or HH) as a prefix in his title. The Dalai Lamas, however, never had authority over every region of Tibet nor over the other sects of Tibetan Buddhism." Zscout370 23:01, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    • And from the article of the current Daili Lama: "Tibetan Buddhists normally refer to him as Yeshe Norbu, the "Wish-fulfilling Gem", or just Kundun, "the Presence". In the West he is often called "His Holiness the Dalai Lama", which is the style that the Dalai Lama uses on his official website," Zscout370 23:03, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    • But look at the Tenzin Gyatso article; he is the Dalai Lama, and thus should have "His holiness" stuck on before his name assuming this is the correct policy. However, I do not think it is, and people will invariably complain that it is wrong to append "his holiness" to the start of his article, Pope Pius XIII's article, ect. It would be far more neutral to simply state it is their official style and not put it in the front. CNN does it, most encylopedias do it that way. Why can't we? It makes sense. Sir, Sri, Reverend, and Saint are all very different from "his holiness"; "Saint" cannot even be something a living person can be. Titanium Dragon 23:07, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Since you seem not to grasp the facts, it is wikipedia policy to use styles. I disagreed but was outvoted. Until the community decides otherwise it is standard to use styles here and and in hundreds of articles. All attempts to remove the agreed format wlll be reverted on sight. A continuous refusal by a few individuals to decide that they will override the decision of the community will be treated as vandalism. I don't care how the pope is referred to. But like other users I will continue to apply agreed rules until those rules are changed. And so will other users. If people continue to vandalise the article to push their POV in breach of the agreed rules then a request will be made to have the page protected and those who vandalise the page blocked from access to wikipedia. FearÉIREANN 23:04, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • Pretty much with the latest messages from Arcturus, Jtdirl and myself, we just proved our case on why the style must be included in the article. Any more questions? Zscout370 23:07, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • So, let me get this straight: I should report you guys for changing Wikipedia policy without discussion, and constantly vandalising articles by adding styles to them despite the best efforts of fellow Wikipedia members to stop you? Because, you do realize you have not read a word I've said about it. 'It was changed by jguk to support his POV'. It was done without discussion. Don't label people vandals when you yourself could be seen as such. Titanium Dragon 23:12, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    • Alright, rereading your post you're mentioning a vote. Where and when was aforementioned vote? I don't see it on the article that everyone is referencing regarding the Pope's style. Titanium Dragon 23:16, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

CNN - who are they, the fount of all knowledge? So CNN are more reputable than The Vatican in these matters - I think not. Thanks for reminding me that the Dali Lama also has the style His Holiness. I'll edit his article. Arcturus 23:08, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Yes, espcially given what they did to Galileo Galilei and how it took them a century to accept evolution. I would not exactly term them a neutral or highly reputable source. Titanium Dragon 23:09, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
But they are when it comes to deciding what to call The Pope. Arcturus 23:15, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
What Arcturus is trying to pin-point is that on issues dealing with the Vatican, we want it to get it straight from the horse's mouth (in this case, the Vatican). The CNN, though it is a good news organization, cannot be right about the Vatican 100 percent of the time. Only the Vatican can (damn, I think I just thought up of a song. Reality, please hit me again.) Zscout370 23:17, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Here's the point though. The Vatican is not a neutral source. CNN is a reputable news agency, and as such it is in their best interests to remain as neutral as possible regarding such things. BBC agrees with CNN, as do Fox, ABC, CBS,... these are far more neutral sources than the Vatican on the appropriate way to refer to the Pope in a neutral manner. ALL of them refer to him as Pope Benedict XVI (or simply Pope Benedict). Not one of them called him "His holiness Pope Benedict XVI", because that is not neutral. Titanium Dragon 23:25, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Some thoughts: Yes, it is more common (or rather more commonly known, US Diplomats can play the game too) to use such honorifics, especially in Britain. The CNN (repubtable?) link does not prove anything, since it's just a news article, not a encyclopedia entry. (And Dragon, your last post is just plain silly, no more on that!) I don't care how the style book came into existence, its content should be applied (especially since the alleged unilateral decision was "ages ago") That Dragon has problems in recognising "fringe" groups is his problem. Even if that pseudopope calls himself "His Holiness", noone else does. That's different with Pope Benedict. And if "Reverend" is ok., than "Holiness" is too. Reverend is a style too (though used more ferequently) like the "Right Honorouble" Tony Blair or the "Right Reverend" Rowan Williams or "His Holiness" Benedict XVI Str1977 23:19, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

We, the American people, have honorifics that we use. We always refer to leaders by their position of power (President, Governor, Senator). We send our citizens overseas as ambassadors, and they get an honorific or two. Zscout370 23:25, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, all Americans, I meant no disrespect. It seems to me there a tendency to merge titles and honorifics in US usage, as in "Mr President" or "Reverend Sharpton". Str1977 23:31, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The reverend, however, can also be a positional title, which is why news sources use it. Father is also used as such. Pope is a positional title. If you say Al Sharpton, most people will know who you are talking about; the same goes for John Paul II. But we call them by those names because they describe their position. People often simply refer to the Dalai Lama by his actual position rather than his name. Titanium Dragon 23:28, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

If it is an encyclopedia reference you want, look here, or maybe Encylcopaedia Britannica, or possibly the Columbia Encylcopaedia. Titanium Dragon 23:32, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Note that if you do a look-see for some other titles, though, such as Sir, you'll get something like this. I'm fairly certain that the examples they gave were given specifically because they are what they are: recognized by encylopedias. Actually, reverend does not seem to be, but Saint, Sir, and Sri are showing up, though I'm not so sure about Sri, as it may be the Lanka kind. Titanium Dragon 23:36, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Allright, Dragon, I accept your examples as valid, that a encyclopedia might or might nor include honorifics. Whether wikipedia should or should not is another matter. I say stick to the style book (no matter how it came about) or change the style book. I actually don't have a preference except for insisting that including this honorific is definetely not POV. But it might be considered superfluous.
Str1977 23:54, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I proposed in the original debate that the style be included in the text, in the form officially styled [style] in the text. But that was outvoted and it was decided to use the style at the start rather than contextualise it in the text. I think that was the wrong option (and predicted edit wars like this would result where people didn't understand what a style is and interpreted it as a POV, when in fact it is unambiguously NPOV. But we agreed on a policy and so all articles on people with styles should have them placed at the start. Where they are not there because the people writing the article don't know of the policy we all add them in as standard. FearÉIREANN 00:13, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The basic fact here is that "His Holiness" is no different from other styles/honorifics that we include in the opening of articles. Further, it is not a style that is recognized only by Catholics. There is perhaps an argument to be made that styles/honorifics should not be at the beginning of any article, but this is not the place to do that. john k 23:34, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Str is right, we do merge titles and honorifics together, like Mr. President. I believe that we just call Pope Benedict XVI, President Bush, Rev. Sharpton those names since we are id'ing in two words their name and their job. However, what I think some meant by styles and honorifics is "How do we address this person." Some leaders have a website where they state how the leader should be styled/addressed in this situation and how to do it in that situation. Plus, Str, I am not offended at all :). Zscout370 23:36, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

John is correct. If you disagree with starting an article as HH debate it in the relevant place. But right now that is wikipedia policy. You cannot make up your own unique policy here. HH has to stay in, according to the agreed format on wikipedia, until wikipedia decides otherwise. FearÉIREANN 23:41, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Alright, because this seems to be causing some infighting, why don't we discuss ithere? Thing is, the manual of style states we should include honorifics before the names. However, if you look at the honorific entry, you will notice something - it doesn't say the sort of thing like "his holiness"; it is "sir", "father", ect. Style (manner of address) is something entirely different. Someone (jguk) four months ago entered a few styles (including "His holiness") into the list of example honorifics on the Wikipedia policy page, despite the fact that it is not an honorific but rather a style. He did this in order to support his PoV that we should put "his holiness" before the Pope's name in the John Paul II entry. If we want to include styles in all Wikipedia entries, perhaps we should discuss it, but as it stands the policy states that honorifics are what needs to be put in before the name; it says nothing about requiring styles to be there. Let us discuss this there and come to an agreement rather than have an edit war on this page. Resolving this issue would make our lives a whole lot easier. Titanium Dragon 00:46, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

My view, which I have held consistently, is that we should merely report what happens in real life, without comment. If something happens or is used in real life, we report it. That way we avoid accusations of bias.
So I apply this NPOV principle to the issue of whether we should use styles. And the conclusion is that we should use them as they are used in real-life. IE We should use them, but not over-use them.
It can't be overstressed that the only reason we use them is because they are used in the real world. It is this that dispenses of all POV arguments - we make no comment on whether styles should be used, we just report that they are used. The only statement our usage of them makes is the demonstrably correct assertion that they are used in real life. By having this as the deciding criterion in article after article, we easily avoid accusations of bias.
Conversely, a ban on reporting certain pieces of information from being reported, or a ban on linguistic styles that are commonly used in real life by many people, would itself be POV. That is, if we have a policy of going against what real life usage is, we are then necessarily making a statement that real life usage is wrong. (Incidentally, over-using styles in a way which is unrealistic in real life should also be avoided, because such over-use would also be POV.)
However, this shouldn't really be a big deal. We mention a biographical subject's formal name and style at the start of an article - it's wholly unreasonable to suggest that we should edit or alter that name or style to suit some WPians political beliefs. Styles and honorifics are well-established and have been around since time immemorial - they exist in real life - what's the problem with using them? jguk 08:01, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

For the record, lest people be confused with this, and in particular be confused by Titanium Dragon's constant misrepresentation of the facts.

  • Wikipedia does not use styles in article names.
  • Wikipedia policy is to use a style at the start of an article. So papal biographical pages start with His Holiness, pages on monarchs start with His/Majesty, pages on other royalty start with the relevant styles, pages on senior clergyman use their appropriate official styles, etc.
  • Where an article is written that does not include a style, wikipedia editors, along with correcting spellings, following the agreed use of British English or American English, removing copyright material and other things, automatically insert the relevant style in an article.
  • Those articles on popes, royalty, office-holders etc that don't include the relevant styles right now don't because the editors haven't spotted the error or have not gotten around to adding it in now. But all such articles will have styles added as a matter of routine.
  • Jguk, contrary to TitaniumD's claims, did not unilaterally impose an unwanted style on the article. He did as everyone else does and filled in one into an article that was not following the agreed format. That is normal practice.
  • There is no point complaining here about the policy. It is a set policy. It can be debated elsewhere, but nothing here will change the policy.
  • All attempts to remove the 'His Holiness' style will be reverted on sight as soon as it is spotted, unless and until the community policy non styles changes. In reverting editors are simply putting back the agreed format which cannot be unilaterally removed by people in one article out of thousands possessing styles. Styles either are used everywhere or nowhere. The wikipedia policy is to apply it everywhere and that policy is followed everywhere.

FearÉIREANN 11:52, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Well said, Brother Jtdirl. Zscout370 12:19, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Piano Referece

This was removed in one of the various edits of the page: "He plays piano with a preference for Mozart and Beethoven." Should this be put back in? Zscout370 23:37, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

yes. FearÉIREANN 23:39, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I put it back in. Zscout370 23:47, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I removed it, because it was already mentioned elsewhere in the article (and in a more approbriate place in my opinion) --Tarleton 00:07, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I hope someone can find a place in the article and way of communicating his (apparent) fondness for cats. ref: [3]. - Nunh-huh 04:32, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Explanation Require re Father's anti-Nazi beliefs

To simply insert the Sunday Times comment is wrong. It is an open-ended quote begging for explanation re the moves and relocations stated. There is no connection made between Joseph Sr's troubles with the Brown Shirts and the family's moves. I therefore have added footnotes re that he was demoted and transferred as a result (from articles in The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune) as well as a supporting quote from Ratzinger's brother, given The New York Times, re his father's belief that Nazism was incompatable with the family's Catholicism. Please leave this information in; it is not POV nor is it derogatory. Mowens35 10:44, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Nomenclature for Cardinals

Per Wikipedia, is the form for a cardinal, upon first reference, to be John Cardinal Smith or Cardinal John Smith? Mowens35 11:35, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I don't know the Wikipedia rules, but John Cardinal Smith is more accurate. E.g. Benedicts name until his election was, as the announcement gave it, in Latin: Josephus Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalis Ratzinger - in common usage however the SRE is omitted as it's obvious. Str1977 15:19, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Joseph versus Josef

Has anybody been able to determine whether or not his birth name is Josef or Joseph? This may seem obvious to many -- since he is nearly always referred to as Joseph in the English-language press -- but the German-language press seems to err on the side of Josef, or has many times in the past. Josef, after all, would be the usual German spelling for the name, just as his brother is Georg, the German spelling for George. Any insights? Mowens35 11:42, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

His full name is Joseph Alois Ratzinger -- Hauke 11:48, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I realize this but the German press seems to beg to differ on that point. I am asking if anyone knows what the spelling of his BIRTH name is. Mowens35 11:55, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Well, AFAIK Joseph Alois is his birth name. Found this information on german wikipedia -- Hauke 12:02, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Hauke, the question is simply "-ph" or "-f".
Mowens, the problem is that both spellings exist in German. Some official statement would be needed to be certain. Maybe you should email the vatican.
Str1977 12:04, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I did two things:
First a google search (only of German pages) the result was 402.000 entries with "ph" vs. 11.500 with "f"
Since google is to prone for error, I searched the homepage of the archdioecesis of munich and freising (, where the new Pope was bishop before he was transferred to Rome, and they consistently spell it "Joseph". So I guess that's the correct spelling.
Str1977 12:13, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I'll leave "Joseph" as is, for obvious reasons, but will email the records office in Marktl am Inn to see if someone there can check the parish register for his christening record. That should do the trick. Mowens35 12:36, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I know that Ratzinger, though born elsewhere, considers Traunstein his hometown, as he has stated in his memoirs. Numerous newspaper profiles of him state that his family lived in a village "near" or on the "outskirts" of Traunstein, not within the city limits proper. Can anyone confirm or deny this, with a source, as to the location of the family's home? Mowens35 11:54, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Sound clip

Today, Benedict made a public adress at a news conference thanking the media. He did so in several languages, including English. Since we are using several images under fair use, it may be interesting to get a clip of this address (in English). It gives users an impression of his voice and fluency. --Oldak Quill 12:10, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Whoever included the animal section originally, please provide documentation for the the claim: Pope John Paul had earlier proclaimed that "the animals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren.") Str1977 15:29, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)