Saint Mary's Catholic Expert Reflects on Newly Elected Pope

Saint Mary's College religious studies professor Tom Poundstone was quoted in an article in the Tri-Valley Herald about the views of Pope Benedict XVI.

The article, headlined "East Bay papal expert says pope sees smaller church," read in part:

A local papal scholar said Tuesday the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI views the church as separate from the world and sees Roman Catholicism as a sort of counterculturalism with little room for doctrinal debate.

He has a view of a much smaller church than John Paul II. He's not concerned about everybody, said Tom Poundstone, professor of religious studies at Saint Mary's College in Moraga.

Poundstone, a moral theologian who holds a doctorate in Christian ethics, described Ratzinger as a brilliant scholar and one of the most intelligent of the cardinals.

The church might end up re-trenching for a period of time, said Poundstone, who said he anticipated Ratzinger would be more interested in preserving a smaller, more dynamic church than accommodating for the rest of the world.

Poundstone said he felt it was important to make a distinction between the new pop's ideology and his personal reputation.

Those who know the former cardinal personally praise him as a shy, gentle, humble man, Poundstone said. For all those who fear, ther's grounds for hope as far as what w've heard about his character.

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