Koforidua, April 21, The out-going Catholic Bishop of Koforidua, the Most Reverend Charles Palmer-Buckle, has allayed fears that the election of Joseph Ratzinger of Germany as the new Pope would lead to doctrinal changes in the Catholic Church.
He said the Church's doctrine was based on the traditions and interpretations of the 2000 years of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday, Archbishop Palmer-Buckle stated that, "the Catholic Church is by nature conservative in the positive sense of the word", adding that "it holds to the truth revealed by Jesus Christ as eternal. The Church respects whatever had been time tested and preserved for it for posterity". "The truth is Jesus and Jesus is truth. "I don't expect any change in doctrine; there will rather be continuity."
Archbishop Palmer-Buckle who is the Metropolitan Bishop elect for Accra said "if anything, the change will be in the mode of presentation, language and how, but not what will be communicated." On what the early election of the new Pope meant to the Church and the world, he said it indicated how easy it was to reach consensus when dealing with people with the same faith, discipline and commitment to a cause.
He said he was not surprised about the early election of the new Pontiff by the 115 cardinals, since they had been together for the burial of Pope John Paul II, since April 8. Archbishop Palmer-Buckle said: "They had nine days of mourning together before going into the conclave and therefore had time for consultations among themselves before the election." He also cited the fact that Pope John Paul left an elaborate directives on the election of future Popes which they followed.
Archbishop Palmer-Buckle said the Catholic Church was open to new ways of expressing the "perennial truth it had always conserved as an unchangeable heritage.
He said every Pope was the only custodian of that which the Church had upheld from the time of Jesus to date. Archbishop Palmer-Buckle observed that Pope Benedict XVI, election would influence Germany's international politics, saying "I, however, believe his choice as Pope and his own choice of the name Benedict have messages for God, for the Church and the world for two reasons."
"Firstly, the message for the Church is that he intends fighting the new tendency of relativism in the religious culture, especially of Europe and the Western world, which had given rise to moral laxity and dangerous expressions of individual freedoms."
"He intends to call Europe and the Western World to their Christian origin because St Benedict is considered as the Father of Europe and European civilization."
He said Pope Benedict XV, who reigned between 1914 to 1922, had to contend with the World War One, which ruined Europe. "He also had to correct a lot of the errors of modernism and I think Pope Benedict XVI will also have to correct errors of our neo-liberal cultures of Europe and the Western World, which Pope John Paul termed 'the culture of death' symbolized by people propagating such disvalues as abortion, divorce and breakdown of family, so-called gay rights, euthanasia, etc."