Cover image: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI sits in St. Peter's Basilica as he attends the ceremony marking the start of the Holy Year on Dec. 8, 2015, at the Vatican. (AP/Gregorio Borgia)
April 12, 2019
Ever since April 10/19 the STAR performer in the global news indisputably is BENEDICT XVI – Pope Emeritus, left out to pay respect to current public opinion.
This is a continuation of the opinion piece we posted in CCV on April 15 on Shadow Pope. For clarity and continuity please refer to it. There are more flash news items and critical pieces on Benedict, on international media and websites, than can be published here. Unfortunately our so called Catholic press and Church hierarchy, seem to be still waiting to see which side is winning, to join in this international conversation.
React to help us
In speaking up immediately as we get informed, the CCV is trying to imitate the transparency of Jesus “Palam locutus sum”, “I have spoken from the house tops.” Down below we are publishing two news items, one dated April 12th and a second dated April 15. Read them and react to help keep us on the right track, remembering honest criticism without fear or favor, is the best brotherly service like saying: Brother“Cave cadas” ‘please see the pit ahead to avoid!’
Both the reports below speak of a 6000 worded letter which means that Benedict has put in a lot of honest thinking and prayerful hours of meditation to produce it. It also hints that he had also informed Francis of his intentions to write it. And although he did not get any pat on the back, he decided to go ahead, breaking all the promises he had given earlier to live a life of seclusion and contemplation.
Honestly we are not able to understand how even such lofty minds seated on Papal thrones calculate to reach 2+2= 5. Is it another example of Post truth or Alt truth or TRUTH trampled under foot, TRUTH crucified? Here we are forced to compare Benedict with much younger highly placed presidents or PMs in US, UK and other countries, where the former presidents or PMs never utter a word for or against the ruling executives, their precedissors.
Here we are again reminded of Francis Pappa telling, evangelization means going out into the world to learn from the best practices there, not to teach them anything. That is why late Cardinal Martini of Milan became famous for saying the Catholic church is 200 years behind times. As for us what we see is proof, that there is no Holy, Catholic, Apostolic church any more, but only a SINFUL CHURCH PRAYING AT PUBLIC SQUARES IN TOP VOICE to attract the whole world. In our terminology what we have is “CONSTANTINE CHURCH” of dictatorship, not a listening CHURCH to the heart-burns of the woorld.
“I AM GAY” Banyans!
This is not to say all what Benedict says are baseless. I remember reading reports about the practice in some US seminaries conducting passtime or entertainments on the terrace led by the Rector wearing banyans proclaiming “I am GAY”. Personally I don’t understand the rational of encouraging this gay culture which still remains for me riddle of 2+2=5. It is being supported by many highly placed Cardinals even today.
Personally I also feel a terrible aversion to using constantly the word CHURCH as it has now become a hackneyed man-made word, worthy of contempt only, as none of the thousands of churches existing and running “profitable business” is worthy of any respect. Jesus lived as a member of the Cattle Class from birth to death wiping the tear and sweat from every face or forehead of the suffering and hard working poor. “Come to me all that are burdened….”
Heaven on Earth!
He came to bring PEACE on earth to men of good will, heaven on earth, not any where in the unknown, unreachable dream land up in the skies: HEAVENS! That can be achieved only through bringing good news to the poor in every sphere – to quench his thirst, hunger, heal his/her illness, clothing the naked, homes, job to earn a living wage, education for civilized communication, violence free social life, opportunity to contribute towards building up a humane humanity of liberty, equality, unity brought through a fraternity of interdependent urge to outdo the other to serve, not dominate, in short to rid this earth of its Lazaruses and fill it with smiling faces which alone can be heaven, peace on earth.
God is dead in secular World
Yes God is dead and disappeared from the public domain, from the secular world because you have dragged Him into your towering heavenly cathedrals(yesterday, Notre Dame, Paris burned down – thus goes the glory of the world) and locked him up in your puny golden tabernacles making it impossible for anyone to see him, love him or serve him outside any church. How can you love some one whom you cannot see?
I too don’t and can’t love God! Loving God and serving HIM(he needs no service if he is God) is impossible! I too don’t and I can’t love God! Why? Very simple! How can you fall in love with an unseen beauty? You say He is that beautiful, gorgeous. But I see and love Mother Teresa hugging to her breast a skinny poor child or a Fr. Damian embracing a leper. And you church-men have not taught people, loving God means, loving the disfigured and down-trodden humans created in God’s image and likeness.
Listen to Shouts of Francis!
It is here the repeated shouts of Francis from the beginning of his pontificate come like bolts from the blue: “Get out, get out from your Church of the Sacristy and go to the peripheries where the hungy Lazaruses live in huts and roofless havalas and Cherries. As Cardinal, Borgoglio used to do such trecking with food and coffee cans in hand. That is the only way to bring God in to the public domain, into the hustle and buzzle of the modern world, into the market place of cut throat compettion, where the poor and peny-less are butchered.
There are any lot of things to write. We simply request you to read through the two articles posted below and reflect to draw your own conclusions. We shall be posting more thought provoking articles.Your work and our work is not to lock ourselves in Church buildings calling ourselves:(vocati, selecti, electi, sanctificati, glorificati) the called, selected, elected, sanctified and glorified.
Ours is to be out in the field where the labourers are tilling the soil, because work alone is worship, not preaching at city corners to be seen and saluted but to be leaven in the dough and salt in the earth to transform society from a hidden position and to be light in darkness for the blind, food for the hungry, health for the sick, which alone is the way to make God present in today’s modern world. james kottoor, Editor CCV.
Please read below 2 articles
reacting to Benedict’s letter!
April 12, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — After six years of public silence, broken only by a few mild personal comments, Pope-emeritus Benedict has spoken out dramatically, with a 6,000-word essay on sexual abuse that has been described as a sort of post-papal encyclical. Clearly the retired Pontiff felt compelled to write: to say things that were not being said. Benedict thought the subject was too important to allow for his continued silence.
Vatican communications officials thought differently, it seems. Benedict’s essay became public on Wednesday night, but on Thursday morning there was no mention of the extraordinary statement in the Vatican’s news outlets. (Later in the day the Vatican News service issued a report summarizing Benedict’s essay; it appeared “below the fold” on the Vatican News web page, below a headline story on relief efforts for cyclone victims in Mozambique.)
For that matter it is noteworthy that the former Pope’s statement was not published by a Vatican outlet in the first place; it first appeared in the German Klerusblatt and the Italian secular newspaper Corriere della Sera, along with English translations by the Catholic News Agency and National Catholic Register.
Benedict reports that he consulted with Pope Francis before publishing the essay. He does not say that the current Pope encouraged his writing, and it is difficult to imagine that Pope Francis was enthusiastic about his predecessor’s work on this issue. The two Popes, past and present, are miles apart in their analysis of the sex-abuse scandal. Nowhere does Benedict mention the “clericalism” that Pope Francis has cited as the root cause of the problem, and rarely has Pope Francis mentioned the moral breakdown that Benedict blames for the scandal.
The silence of the official Vatican media is a clear indication that Benedict’s essay has not found a warm welcome at the St. Martha residence. Even more revealing is the frantic reaction of the Pope’s most ardent supporters, who have flooded the internet with their embarrassed protests, their complaints that Benedict is sadly mistaken when he suggests that the social and ecclesiastical uproar of the 1960s gave rise to the epidemic of abuse.
Those protests against Benedict — the mock-sorrowful sighs that we all know sexual abuse is not a function of rampant sexual immorality — should be seen as signals to the secular media. And secular outlets, sympathetic to the causes of the sexual revolution, will duly carry the message that Benedict is out of touch, that his thesis has already been disproven.
But facts, as John Adams observed, are stubborn things. And the facts testify unambiguously in Benedict’s favor. Something happened in the 1960s and thereafter to precipitate a rash of clerical abuse. Yes, the problem had arisen in the past. But every responsible survey has shown a stunning spike in clerical abuse, occurring just after the tumult that Benedict describes in his essay. Granted, the former Pontiff has not proven, with apodictic certainty, that the collapse of Catholic moral teaching led to clerical abuse. But to dismiss his thesis airily, as if it had been tested and rejected, is downright dishonest.
Facts are facts, no matter who proclaims them. The abuse crisis did arise in the muddled aftermath of Vatican II. Benedict puts forward a theory to explain why that happened. His theory is not congenial to the ideas of liberal Catholic intellectuals, but that fact does not excuse their attempt to suppress a discussion, to deny basic realities. (Come to think of it, this is not the first time that the public defenders of Pope Francis have encouraged the public to ignore facts, to entertain the possibility that 2+2=5.)
That message — the message of Pope-emeritus Benedict — is a striking departure from the messages that have been issued by so many Church leaders. The former Pope does not write about “policies and procedures”; he does not suggest a technical or legalistic solution to a moral problem. On the contrary he insists that we focus our attention entirely on that moral problem and then move on to a solution which must also, necessarily, be found in the moral realm.
As background for his message, Benedict recalls the 1960s, when “an egregious event occurred, on a scale unprecedented in history.” He writes about the breakdown in public morality, which was unfortunately accompanied by the “dissolution of the moral teaching authority of the Church.” This combination of events left the Church largely defenseless, he says.
In an unsparing analysis, Benedict writes of the problems in priestly formation, as “homosexual cliques were established, which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in seminaries.” He acknowledges that a visitation of American seminaries produced no major improvements.
He charges that some bishops “rejected the Catholic tradition as a whole.” He sees the turmoil as a fundamental challenge to the essence of the faith, observing that if there are no absolute truths — no eternal verities for which one might willingly give one’s life — then the concept of Christian martyrdom seems absurd. He writes: “The fact that martyrdom is no longer morally necessary in the theory advocated [by liberal Catholic theologians] shows that the very essence of Christianity is at stake here.”
“A world without God can only be a world without meaning,” Benedict warns. “Power is then the only principle.” In such a world, how can society guard against those who use their powers over others for self-gratification? “Why did pedophilia reach such proportions?” Benedict asks. He answers: “Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God.”
It is by restoring the presence of God, then, that Benedict suggests the Church must respond to this unprecedented crisis. He connects the breakdown in morality with a lack of reverence in worship, “a way of dealing with Him that destroys the greatness of the Mystery.” Mourning the grotesque ways in which predatory priests have blasphemed the Blessed Sacrament, he writes that “we must do all we can to protect the gift of the Holy Eucharist from abuse.”
In short Pope-emeritus Benedict draws the connection between the lack of reverence for God and the lack of appreciation for human dignity — between the abuse of liturgy and the abuse of children. Faithful Catholics should recognize the logic and force of that message. And indeed Benedict voices his confidence that the most loyal sons and daughters of the Church will work — are already working — toward the renewal he awaits:
If we look around and listen with an attentive heart, we can find witnesses everywhere today, especially among ordinary people, but also in the high ranks of the Church, who stand up for God with their life and suffering.
Still the renewal will not come easily; it will entail suffering. For Benedict, that suffering will include the waves of hostility that his essay has provoked, the dismissive attitude of much lesser theologians, the campaign to write him off as an elderly crank. No doubt the former Pope anticipated the opposition that his essay would encounter. He chose to “send out a strong message” anyway, because suffering for the truth is a powerful form of Christian witness.
(Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.)
Please read below another article dated April 15
Benedict's unfortunate letter ignores
Facts on the Catholic Sex abuse Crisis
by Thomas Reese
Apr 15, 2019
The recent essay on clergy sexual abuse by Benedict XVI shows why it was such a good idea for him to resign as pope. In the letter released last week, he shows how out of touch he is with the causes of the abuse crisis.
Most of the media attention since a German Catholic magazine published Benedict's 6,000-word statement has been focused on Benedict blaming the sex abuse crisis on the collapse of sexual standards in the 1960s.Fundamentally, Benedict lives in a Platonic world of ideas where facts don't matter.
The number of abuse cases began increasing in the mid-1960s and peaked in the 1970s. Something was happening, not just in the church but in the world. Actually, he may have a point. Data presented by the 2004 John Jay report on clerical abuse showed that, both in the church and in America as a whole, challenging the church's opposition to birth control, as did most theologians, opened the floodgates to all sorts of sexual sins, including child abuse, in his view. But Benedict also wants to blame sex abuse on contemporary moral theologians who challenged the church's traditional, natural law ethics, especially as it applied to sexual ethics. Contemporary moral theology is less rule-based and, rather, takes a more personalistic and relational approach. On the other hand, sexual abuse was occurring prior to the 1960s. The church and America were just better at covering it up.
While he was prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith from 1981 to 2005, scores of Catholic theologians were fired from seminaries, reprimanded or silenced. Others practiced self-censorship in order to avoid the wrath of Rome.This is a fight Joseph Ratzinger has waged for most of his ecclesiastical career.
It is flabbergasting to hear him in his letter complain that respect for due process kept him from dealing with this infestation. Too many scholars bear the scars of his inquisitional approach to dissent in the church. The congregation's procedures — where it acted as accuser, judge and jury — had no concept of contemporary ideas of due process.
He points to homosexual cliques in seminaries as if they opened the way for child abuse. It does not matter that abusers came not just from the ranks of liberals like Theodore McCarrick but also from conservatives like Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ.It does not matter that no moral theologian can be found who condoned the sexual assault and rape of children. Facts don't matter.
Benedict still considers this the ideal way of preparing priests. Alas, he still wants to blame post-Vatican II theology for all the ills of the contemporary church. Most of the priests who abused in the 1970s were products of an old seminary system that existed before Vatican II, which isolated seminarians from the very men and women with whom they would work and serve. It does not matter that he was not perfect, but he was far ahead of John Paul and other Vatican officials who were in denial and too slow to respond.Benedict's essay is especially sad because, as prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger did more to deal with the abuse crisis than anyone else in Rome. I have always defended him against those who accused him of not caring about the crisis. The crisis is not just about the abuse; it is also about the coverup. Most importantly, he passes over in silence the truly scandalous failure of the hierarchy to remove abusive priests from ministry where they could abuse again and again.
It was Ratzinger's disregard for due process that allowed him to take direct action.If the priest's guilt was obvious, he was dismissed from the clerical state. Ratzinger broke the logjam of cases by imposing what some canon lawyers felt was the equivalent of martial law. If he had not, it would have taken decades to clear cases through church courts. Once he recognized the scope of the abuse problem, he often dispensed with a trial after simply reading the priest's file.
His record doesn't excuse his choice to release his letter. Benedict would have done well to keep silent or to have shared his views only with Pope Francis. His message is being used by those who oppose Francis to show what a real pope thinks about sex abuse.
Francis, unlike some of his liberal supporters, does not want to muzzle Benedict. Francis has never been afraid of free discussion in the church. After all, if Francis were to resign and Cardinal Raymond Burke were elected pope, I am sure every liberal would want to know what the retired pope thought about the new papacy.
church should learn from this event.
First, you cannot muzzle former popes any more than you can muzzle theologians. All one can do is urge them to exercise prudence in what they say and then let the debate begin.
Second, the church needs to make clear that there is only one pope.A resigned pope should revert to his baptismal name and put aside the white cassock for a black one. He should not be called pope or pope emeritus. Ratzinger has a right to express his opinions, but they have no more magisterial weight than those of any other retired bishop.
Finally,. Perhaps a good rule would be to delay consideration of canonization of a pope until after all the cardinals and bishops he appointed are dead.we should stop canonizing popes so soon after their deaths, lest the canonization be politicized since even dead popes are becoming rallying points for different factions in the church.
The message I would like to see from Benedict is one forbidding his friends from crying "Santo subito" ("Make him a saint immediately") at his funeral. I would expect the same message from Francis.
Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese is a columnist for Religion News Service and author of .