'Benedict XVI, An Uncomfortable Message'

From Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa via Mirada Global:

  It looks like one of the destinies that Benedict XVI, the theologian turned Pope at the age of 78, is similar to that of his predecessor Paul VI, who appointed him Archbishop of Munich, creating him cardinal in 1977- is that of being criticized by right and left alike even by those who profess themselves “Ratzingerians” and should therefore help him spread his message.


When he was elected Pope seven years ago, the media cliché that hung over Joseph Ratzinger —who had been Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for over twenty years— was that he was a conservative “panzerkardinal”, a rigid custodian of Orthodoxy who had allegedly “hindered” John Paul II’s push for innovation, hung over him, while in fact, remained and extremely loyal and compliant collaborator.

The imminent reconciliation with Lefebvrian traditionalists, preceded by the decision to liberalize the old Mass, cost Benedict XVI widespread dissent, even among some bishops: the Pope had intended favoring the possibility that the old pre-conciliar rite and the new post-conciliar rite could mutually enrich one another, by helping recuperate the sense of sacredness and the encounter with divine mystery in the Old Mass —at times too readjusted by slovenliness and by liturgic abuses— and the wealth of the Holy Scriptures introduced into the New Mass, into the post-conciliar mass. The attempt has only been partially successful because of certain reactions that didn’t always understand the Pope’s will but also because of the development of certain forms of aestheticism that bear no relevance to the essential elements of the liturgy.

But Benedict XVI has also been accused by those who expected him to be tough and implement “doctrinal rectifications”. He was also expected to reaffirm Europe’s Christian identity against Islam. While the left believe him to be stuck in the past and unable to read the signs of the times, the right considers him as too weak.

Read the rest here.

Also available in Spanish.

Tim Reidy


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6 years 8 months ago
Long live the Pope!
His praises sound
Again and yet again:
His rule is over space and time:
His throne the heart of men:
All hail! The Shepherd Pope of Rome,
The theme of loving song:
Let all the earth his glory sing
And heav’n the strain prolong.

Vince Killoran
6 years 8 months ago
I agree with Thomas Rooney-what on earth has Pope Benedict done to disappoint the right?  I know there are some out on the blogsphere who wanted him to shut down the Jesuits and refuse communion to known Democrats.  Short of that he has been exactly the kind of pope most expect.
Thomas Rooney OFS
6 years 8 months ago
Perhaps it's because I am a theological liberal; but reading through scores of conservative blogs since Benedict's papacy began, I have rarely seen this Holy Father cast as weak.  Unless you count the SSPX and other traditionalist movements (most who deny the Second Vatican Council as valid).

Maybe I missed something?
Michael Barberi
6 years 8 months ago
Benedict XVI is very much like John Paul II when it comes to a profound distrust of the Western world. JP II and Benedict XVI have a dim view of American and Western democracy. Both misunderstand the West and believe it represents the evil in the secular world that is spreading like a cancer into other countries through the world and making the light of Christ and the Truth hard to understand and accept. For Benedict XVI (as his predecessor),

> It is the culture of death versus the culture of life,
> Contaception versus chastity and abstinence,
> Equality for women versus their natural God-given primary role as mothers and caregivers, servants of husbands and the male clergy,
> The protection of children from sexual predator clergy versus the the protection of the sanctity, reputation and power of the Church.
> A world view called Classicism versus Historical Consciousness

The result is a "tragedy" defined as the inability of the Pope and Roman Curia to bring the light of Christ and the Truth to the world, so that it touches the hearts of every child of God. To make the Divine Truth "intuitive" to the practical reason and connaturality of all the faithful who are striving to understand the truth and lead morally upright lives in accordance with the Gospel of Christ.

All we hear is "excuses" like the evil of the secular world is making it difficult or impossible for the Truth to touch the hearts of the faithful. Perhaps it is time to re-think those Church teachings "Not Received". Could it be a message from the Holy Spirit who dwells in the hearts of the faithful and lead us all to the Truth and the Good?Could the problem be some of the Teachings and in the Governance of the Church?...Or, is the evil in the world (and in the Church) "winning" the souls of humankind and denying the Church and the Pope the ability to bring the light of Christ and the Truth to the masses?
david power
6 years 8 months ago
I think that both Popes are afraid of the idea that people can live happily without their blessing but Ratzinger is far more of a realist than Wojtyla ever was.
Pope Benedict has had to face up to the corruption of his predeccessor and has done so only part of the way.He speaks wonderfully but then does the opposite of what he says.You can be sure that as he spoke of "ecclesiastic structures" etc he was palming off some office to a trusted friend.
Despite the best of intentions he can only be viewed as a disastrous pope.Completely unable for the demands of the job.The bar is pretty low as the last pope was an egomaniac with a messiah complex who abandoned governance for 27 years so he could get some applause,Benedict is at least humble.
The next Pope or the Pope after will have to face the reality.
I think a genuine saint could still restore Christianity and catholicism.People are tired of fakes (think of America's top Bishop) but if there was a humble and holy man who had not buried so many bodies I think hearts would return to Jesus.
As the years have passed I have come to see more and more the greatness of Roncalli.
I think that Pope Benedict is now just counting out the years.He ducked the challenge of Ireland and is secretly hoping that the Lord takes him.
Michael Barberi
6 years 7 months ago

I am happy that you have grasped this reality, especially JP II's messianic idealogy. His philosophy was rooted in the culture of 1930s-1950s Poland, 19th century Polish Romanticism and a profound misunderstanding of Western democracy and human sexuality. His closest advisor in post War II Poland was Dr. Wanda Poltawska, a survivor and victim of the Ravensbruch concentration camp medical experiments. It was Dr. Wanda who believed that contraception lead to neurosis in women and that it also lead to abortion. Neither was proven by any serious scientific study from the time of this assertion to today, despite the incorrect conclusions based on correlation arguments as opposed to cause arguments.

Both abortion and contraception were viewed as genocide in a country that lost 6 million people to Nazism and Communism and had to grow its population. These issues are a tragedy and no one denies that this culture, suffering and misery in Poland influenced JP II. However, this is a far cry from the reality of the greater world and human sexuality. This is especially true in Western countries that are characterized not by evil, but by pluralism, freedom and democracy. The Western world has generated more good than any other country. Unfortunately, Rome sees only evil.


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