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The Death of "God's Rottweiler"?

The Death of "God's Rottweiler"?

By David Duggan
January 1, 2023

Pardon me if I don't jump on the bandwagon of encomia for Benedict 16, the former Joseph Ratzinger. He will go down in history as a blip in the historic papacy, a "Mr. Inside" who didn't have the stomach for the "inside game" of Vatican politics, a feckless disciplinarian who failed to see the true enemies of the church--the homosexual clergy and officials who have dominated the Vatican for centuries, and a pseudo-intellectual who couldn't come to grips with the Roman Catholic Church's falsehoods in promoting a faith that is wrong on the three planes of intersection of the human with the divine.

Even if having been a member of Hitler Youth doesn't disqualify you from the papacy (which it should), Ratzinger shouldn't be given a pass for his youthful indiscretions. He served in a combat capacity for the Nazis (setting tank traps in Hungary) and was captured as an enemy combatant by American troops. His sojourn in the seminary didn't purge him of his authoritarianism; it just gave him a different group of toadies on whom to impose his will. But even there he was a failure.

The first Vatican "insider" to be elected pope since Angelo Roncalli (John 23--hell with the Roman numerals) who had served in the Vatican's diplomatic corps before becoming Cardinal of Venice, Ratzinger lacked the elbows to combat the "gay mafia" which has controlled the papal enclave (of which at least two of his more recent predecessors were members) since the days of the Medici pope Leo 10. His butler Paolo Gabriele leaked documents, ostensibly to give him cover when the gay network was unveiled. The Vatican bank remained an enduring joke (remember Michele Sindona and Godfather III?) under his leadership.

Ratzinger devoted most of his disciplinary energies to the "liberation theologians" who were telling Latin American peasants that armed revolution was permissible to combat entrenched plutocracies and latent colonialism. Some left the clergy, others took "sit downs" as penance. But by focusing on these outliers, Ratzinger avoided dealing with the homosexual clergy in his backyard, specifically Germany, where his brother Georg (d. 2020) looked the other way when he was "kappelmeister" at Regensburg, a storied choir in Bavaria. Generations of priests were accused of abusing the male choristers from 1945 to 2015. Ratzinger was also a real softie when dealing with renegade archbishop Marcel Lefebvre of Paris, reaching some impenetrable "conciliar" understanding with the man who had objected to Vatican II and defied the pope's authority by "consecrating" four bishops without Rome's approval.

Ratzinger's true incompetence showed when he tried to establish an "Anglican Ordinariate" within the Roman Catholic Church for disaffected Anglicans (Episcopalians) who wanted to preserve their liturgies while not subscribing to that denomination's heresies regarding same-sex marriage (ordination didn't seem to be an issue--I wonder why). This has gone absolutely nowhere but it has impelled at least two Church of England bishops to "swim the Tiber" and embrace Rome. How they can do that is beyond me. The RCC embraces at least three tenets that conflict with the three planes of intersection of the human with the divine: theological, historical, and the operation of the Holy Spirit.

The first plane of intersection, theological, is who God is and what does He demand. The RCC has not rejected "works-based salvation," that you can earn your way to heaven by good works. The second is that the Vatican has been on the wrong side of history, which in some way is working God's purpose out. One need look only to the RCC's profiting from the slave trade by its client states Spain and Portugal well into the 19th century when Protestant nations like Britain were risking their naval assets on the high seas to stop it. Other examples are legion. And the third is that by declaring "exclusive inerrancy" over matters of faith and doctrine, and by extension, standing as gatekeeper for those who petition for entrance into eternal life in Christ, the RCC has barred true saints such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dietrich Bonhoeffer from heaven's mercies all the while sanctifying miscreants such as Louis IX, and more recently Junipero Serra. Ratzinger failed to address these evident issues within the RCC, instead trying to instill a discipline that wouldn't take. Is it any wonder now that the center of dissent within the RCC is Germany?

Joseph Ratzinger: rest in a peace that you denied so many others. Good riddance.

David Duggan is a retired attorney living in Chicago. He is an occasional columnist for Virtueonline

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