40 Germans against German Pope! German theologians blast Benedict’s letter as ‘failed, improper’ account of abuse crisis



 Joshua J. McElwee

Apr 16, 2019


“Lord that I may see ALL what you want me to see and ONLY what you want me to see tody!. LORD that I may SEE, DESIRE, THINK, LISTEN, SPEAK, WRITE AND DO today ALL what you want and ONY what you want.” This used to be my daily prayer as I get up daily, for the day, as I am unsure of the morrow.

I have been doing this from my 60th birthday imitating the blind Bar Timeus of Jericho ever since I heard read and commented in the Church. By sheer chance, I happen to go to church on he 60th birth day, not because I was ever a pious guy.


For Benedict?

This is the prayer I was prompted to say also for Benedict the retired Pope. I do not know if he was infallible when he was Pope and not infallible now he is no Pope. I don’t believe in this stupid infallible indigestible stuff  of the Catholic Church. Pope or no Pope, one is infallible only when he happens to say the correct thing, not the presumed arrogant falsehoods. That is what Good Pope John XXIII said of himself.

He further said he never climed the Pappal throne to sit there and produce an infallible statement. May such a sense dawn on Benedict is my prayer. Still if he fails, he may be cajoled by hook or crook – no violence please, even what Jesus used in temple cleansing — to get out of the Vatican city and give him a very comfortable dwelling place among monks who have  taken the vow not to open their mouths for the rest of their lives.


Let him follow Assisi Francis’ advice!

After all that is what the Poor Francis of Assisi told his follows: “Following the Lord’s command, go round the whole world and preach, only don’t open your mouth.”  Much of it is done by the reigning Pope, Francis through his actions, like falling down to kiss the feet of warring Muslim rulers.

Long live Francis Pappa with one lung. Better to have such a Pope or no Pope at all. Totally abolish the practice of ante-deluvian office called Pappacy. Pappacy is dead. Long live the hierarchical ladder on which many bishops and cardinals are vying with one another to climb to reach the top, with or without the help of St.Gallan Maffia.


Catholic Democracy please!

The German theologians, 40 of them at least have made known their thinking. But don’t be slavish to colonial thinking, to accept something just because it is German! You readers are free to reject it and  come up with  your own conclusion, after reading the German and American views. You may be correct and not they. Long live the Catholic Democracy, proper to each country! james kottoor, editor, CCV.


A group of prominent German-speaking theologians has sharply criticized retired Pope Benedict XVI's recent letter on clergy sexual abuse, saying it "instrumentalized" the Catholic church's continuing crisis to rehash stale, decades-long theological disputes.

In a blunt two-page letter released April 15, the theologians said the former pontiff ignored scientific research on the causes of abuse, neglected evidence of the centuries-long history of the problem, and did not speak from the perspective of victim-survivors.

"The analysis of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI is based on a number of false assumptions," said the German Association of Moral Theologians, which represents about 40 prominent academics. "It is assessed by us as a failed and improper contribution to the resolution of the abuse crisis."

In his letter, released April 11, Benedict had partially blamed the abuse crisis on developments in theology following the Second Vatican Council. The ex-pope alleged that there had been a "collapse" in moral theology in recent decades that left the church "defenseless" against changes in wider society, and even identified two German theologians by name.

The letter, one of a handful Benedict has shared publicly since his resignation in 2013, immediately drew criticism from Vatican watchers. They noted it did not address structural issues that abetted abuse cover-up, or Benedict's own contested 24-year role as head of the Vatican's powerful doctrinal office.

Prominent U.S. theologians also expressed concern that Benedict's action risked undermining Pope Francis' efforts to address clergy abuse and played into narratives splitting Catholics between two popes.

In their April 15 response, the German theologians say they felt compelled to comment on Benedict's letter because it was a "reproach and insult to the reputations of former and current members" of their association.

The academics say the former pope's decision to pin the blame for abuse on the upheavals of the 1960s is not new for Benedict, who before his 2005 election as pontiff was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a German theologian and head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

"In the past, he already portrayed the Church as victim of a hostile world," the theologians say of Benedict. "By stating this [again], however, he conceals the fact that in many cases it was the ecclesial office holders themselves who, by denial and cover-up, knowingly shielded the perpetrators."

"Of their own volition, those in authority within the Church did not develop an appropriate response nor did they even come to terms with the situation, as many of the victims have repeatedly told us," say the academics.

The association's letter is signed by two theologians on behalf of the larger group: Christof Breitsameter, of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, and Stephan Goertz, of the University of Mainz.

Benedict has spoken as pope emeritus before about his theological disputes with other academics. In a 2016 book-length interview, the ex-pontiff described his break with famous Swiss theologian Fr. Hans Kung, claiming that over time Kung had become "increasingly radical."


[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]


You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *