April 19, 2005
-- by Thomas Leavitt
[Joseph Ratzinger had served as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [this is the "modern" descendant of the Inquisition] since 1981, working zealously to suppress any and all dissent from hard-line orthodoxy. Not a good sign at all for those hoping for a more compassionate and "liberal" papacy/Catholic Church. -Thomas]
"Today, the princes of the Roman Catholic Church elected as Pope a man whose record has been one of unrelenting, venomous hatred for gay people, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. In fact, during the reign of John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger was the driving force behind a long string of pronouncements using the term 'evil' to describe gay people, homosexuality, and marriage equality. As a long-time Catholic from a staunchly Catholic family, I know that the history of the church is full of shameful, centuries-long chapters involving vilification, persecution, and violence against others. Someday, the church will apologize to gay people as it has to others it has oppressed in the past. I very much doubt that this day will come during this Pope's reign. In fact, it seems inevitable that this Pope will cause even more pain and give his successors even more for which to seek atonement."
- Matt Foreman
Executive Director, NGLTF
UPDATE: Two more commentaries.
Owen Broadhurst, posting to a Green Party mailing list...
Josef Cardinal Ratzinger | Pope Benedict XVI | Fascist
[Please note: It is not my purpose in forwarding this to demonize any faith, attack any religious belief, or to fan the flames of anti-Catholic bigotry. My late parents were both loyal and true Roman Catholics, and their politics were fueled and inspired (as my own are) by their religious beliefs. My father was a socialist. My mother was a Green. - OB]
[Explanatory note: Monsignor Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, the Hitler-praising
fascist who created Opus Dei, was canonized a Saint in October 2002. Monsignor Denis Faul, from Ireland's northern British occupied counties, once compared Opus Dei with the terrorist death squad known as the Orange Order. The martyred Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated precisely because of his faith, was oddly never once even considered for canonization by the prior Papacy, which canonized over 450 Saints, more than any Papacy. When Cardinal Ratzinger presented Dominus Jesus on September 5 2000, a document regarded by most observers as an assault on faiths of Asian origin, he was flanked by two close associates including Opus Dei's Vicar General. Joaquin Navarro-Valls of Opus Dei has directed the Holy See press office since 1984. Opus Dei now has 'personal prelature', which means it answers only to the Pope and no Bishops. Opus Dei's Juan Luis Cardinal Cipriani, the fascist who defamed Father Gustavo Guitterrez, was a close associate of Peru's Fujimori. The Cabinet of the Spanish fascist Franco had 8 Opus Dei members.]
[Josef Cardinal Ratzinger has indeed long been involved in a peculiar form of
bigotry directed towards Asians: warning in December 1989 against Christian adoption of Asian practices of meditation; excommunicating in January 1997 Tissa Balasuriya; referring to Buddhism in March 1997 as "spiritual auto‑eroticism"; diluting in records regarding the Roman Synod on Asia the viewpoints expressed by the Asian Bishops' Conferences; and censuring in August 1998 the Indian Jesuit, Tony de Mello. His loathing for gay people was betrayed in 1992 when he spoke against civil liberties for gay people and claimed "neither the church nor society should be surprised" if "irrational and violent reactions increase" when gays demand civil rights. He declared Hinduism "morally cruel".]
Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of that which was once entitled the Inquisition and is now called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was involved in his youth in a Nazi anti-aircraft battalion, and was trained in the Nazi wermacht. His actions against dissenting theologians include threats of excommunicating even the Rev. Frei Betto- whose many writings on liberation theology prompted me to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation as a Roman Catholic when I was in high school. He was antagonistic towards nearly all of the various liberation theologians who had informed my practice of Roman Catholocism, from Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and the Rev. Charles Curran, to Leonardo Boff and Hans Kung. Hans Kung had his license to teach theology revoked by Cardinal Ratzinger, despite (or perhaps, in many ways, because of) his being a principal architect of Vatican II.
The Cardinal's Crusade against liberation theology have often prompted his opponents to label him "Panzerkardinal." It was he who sent in August a letter to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington urging him to deny the Sacrament of Holy Communion to politicians who refuse to take advantage of and exacerbate gender, race and class inequities in outlawing abortion. This racist activist in August also had urged in Le Figaro that Turkey be refused European Union admission on the basis of religion.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been headed by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger since 1981, and it is the successor to the Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition. According to biographer John Allen, "Ratzinger today believes that the best antidote to political totalitarianism is ecclesial totalitarianism." He called homosexuality an "intrinsic moral evil." He was involved in the Hitler Youth in Bavaria when he was a seminarian. For the record, he never became involved in the party.
This man authored the May 2001 letter to bishops claiming that the "Crimine
solicitationies" law requiring "perpetual silence" in sex abuse cases is still in effect; and this is the man who revealed the "Third Secret of Fatima" fueling Papal efforts to fan the flames of the Cold War. Josef Cardinal Ratzinger penned also what has often been described as having the strength of a Papal Encyclical, ""On the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World", an assault on feminism and gay marriage. It is said that it was Cardinal Ratzinger who stayed the prior Pope's hand when John Paul II planned to declare Mary "Co-Redemptrix".
Matthew Fox was kicked out of the Dominican Order for his dissenting views. These are his observations on this new Pope and the prior one:
Some Reflections on the Recent Papacy of JPII
by Matthew Fox, Ph.D.
While the media responds profusely to the telegenic pope who has just passed, and
while he accomplished some good things such as taking a stand against the Iraq war
and against capital punishment and against the idolatry of consumerism, I really do
believe that history will not be kind to this papacy. This pope and his
self-appointed German mafia headed by Cardinal Ratzinger will have to face the
judgment of history (and very likely God also) over issues that include but are not
limited to the following:
A pre-occupation with morality as sexual issues even when this morality is deeply
flawed. I include the following examples:
The forbidding of one billion Catholics world wide to practice birth control even
while the human population explodes at the seams.
The forbidding of the use of condoms even in a time when AIDS is killing individuals
and whole populations the world over.
The head-long pursuit of Augustine's theology of sexuality (all sex must be
legitimized by having children)
Ugly attacks in the pope's name against homosexuals and the complete ignoring of
what science and professional psychological associations have learned about
homosexuality (for example, that it is a natural phenomenon for 8-10% of any given
human population as well as over 460 non-human species).
Other attacks include documents against yoga (yes!); against Buddhism (calling it
"atheism"); against Thich Naht Hahn (calling him the "anti-Christ"); against
feminist philosophers; against women (girls cannot serve at the altar; nor can women
be priests); against theologians in general. Priests are forbidden to use the
pronoun "she" for God at the altar.
A prolonged effort to render fascism fashionable. This includes the rushing into
canonization of the card-carrying fascist priest who founded the Opus Dei movement
even though this man actually praised Adolf Hitler and also denounced women and has
been accused of sexual abuse of six young men who are alive today.
The taking of Opus Dei under the hand of the papacy granting it legitimacy and power
within and without the Catholic structure.
The conscious destruction and systemic dismantling of the Liberation Theology
movement and the very vital base communities it spawned in Latin America in
particular--a move which has opened up Latin America to an onslaught of Pentecostal
and right wing religious huckstering. The demise of the Catholic Church in Latin
America is now well underway--pentecostals are sweeping away the population--now
that this papacy (with the encouragment and support of the CIA) has destroyed
liberation theology and replaced it with opus dei bishops and cardinals.
The effort to eliminate theology and replace it with ideology by spreading fear
among theologians. The expulsion from the priesthood of three prominent theologians
on three continents in the 1990's sent fear into the ranks of theological thinkers
since. Those 3 theologians are Leonardo Boff from Latin America; Father Eugene
Dreuermann from Germany; and myself in North America.
The sorry appointment of ideological Yes Men as bishops and cardinals and with it
the scandalous pedophile priest situation where the scandal is less about individual
priest's crimes than about the cover-up of these crimes by churchmen who, lacking
either moral integrity or intellectual smarts, moved these criminals from parish to
parish and from diocese to diocese. (One legal commentator points to a Vatican
document on dealing with pedophile priests as "an international conspiracy to
obstruct justice.") Three close bishop friends of this pope in Europe were
themselves forced to resign for sexual misconduct.
Even more curious, is the elevation of one key American churchman, Cardinal Law,
head of the Boston archdiocese where the U.S. pedophile scandal first went public,
to a plum parish assignment in Rome this past year.
The rigid sticking to celibacy as a requisite for being a priest (as well as the
requisite of having exclusively male genitals) means fewer and fewer Catholics have
access to the sacraments and fewer and fewer persons are drawn to study for the
priesthood. The attendance at Mass on Sundays in San Francisco alone has plummeted
70% during this pope's reign.
As a result of his policies the demise of the number of practicing Catholics in the
Northern countries including Ireland and United States continues unabated. In a few
years 2/3 of parishes in Germany will have no pastors and no Eucharistic
celebration. Already, 1400 priests in Germany are from outside the country and the
number of new priests ordained there has dropped from 366 in 1990 to 161 today. The
average priest world wide is over 60 years of age.
The obstruction of Ecumenism and Interfaith to the point that most Protestant bodies
have, in the words of a key player in Canada, "given up a long time ago" on the
Catholic Church supporting ecumenism.
The raising of the papacy to a 'cult of personality' aided and abetted by the
Speaking of the fawning media, this papacy granted a "man of conscience" award to
Rupert Murdoch (who, the year after he got the award, divorced his wife of many
years to marry a young woman).
The Holy Spirit is far smarter and forward looking than any papacy and thus this
destruction of Catholicism's past may well be the Spirit's way of creating a flatter
playing field for Deep Ecumenism and Interfaith in the future. Meanwhile, though,
many good Catholics are deeply hurt and alienated from their church--there are a lot
more recovering than practicing catholics out there--and little leadership appears
on the horizon since this pope's appointments and policies have stifled so much
talent and blockaded so much potential for intelligent faith.
When I think of this pope I think of a hard-working priest who came to see me a year
ago from southern California. He cried as he told me how ALL of the budget for the
ministry to the poor was being cut to pay for a big new cathedral and for priestly
misconduct. He himself was close to leaving the priesthood. I think of another
priest who came to me three years ago and who was the person who actually ran his
entire diocese on behalf of his bishop. He was at his wit's end with the hypocrisy
and lies emanating from Rome--he knew many secrets. Rather than leave and rather
than play the game, he quit his position and diocese and found a ministerial
position in another diocese thousands of miles away.
Now that this pope has passed, let readers reflect on the seriousness of these
matters. And pray for this pope. I for one would hate to have to face my Creator
with a track record like this one.
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The new pope was also a member of Hitler's youth group. Quite a choice!
Posted by: MJ at April 19, 2005 3:17 PM
I recall reading somewhere that an Irish Catholic monk, some centuries ago, made up a list of all future popes. Unfortunately I can't recall any more details about what monk this was.
The interesting thing is that Ratzapper is either the last or next to last Pope, according to this monk...
Back in non-prophetic "reality," this dude is 78 years old and is unlikely to be Pope for very long- which appears to be the best thing that can be said about him.
Posted by: JohnDL at April 19, 2005 3:20 PM
And somehow I think that Pope Benedict XVI won't be much worse than JP II - after all he wrote most of the policies which JP II then forced on the Church!
Posted by: Helga Fremlin at April 20, 2005 2:48 PM
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