Pope Benedict’s fitting punishment.
I must think rather often of the Pontiff Emeritus these days; namely, every time the Bishop of Rome decides to impart to us another lesson in heretical thinking, revolutionary Christianity or abetting of sexual perversion.
Pope Benedict appointed almost half of the Cardinals going into the 2013 Conclave. Francis’ election is, to around half, literally the result of his own doing. It must, therefore, be rather bitter for the Pontiff Emeritus to see how his own successor – for whose election he himself, Benedict, is responsible – to mock, dismantle or threaten everything Pope Benedict has worked for.
This is, if you ask me, a fitting punishment; it is, the way I see it, as if the Lord would force him to see the consequences of his own mistakes, whilst still on this world.
Benedict always acted like the one who thinks he does not need to act, and a couple of symbolic gestures and sundry encouragements will be sufficient to steer the Barque in the right direction. Unfortunately it does not work that way, and he who is put in a position of power and responsibility but fails to exercise this power and shoulder this responsibility is an excellent candidate for failure and ridicule.
Pope Benedict liked the Tridentine Mass, but he did not have the guts to forcefully impose it to his bishops; he sincerely wanted sound, and orthodox bishops, but when the big conflict came (with Monsignor Wagner, in Austria) he refused to impose himself on the Austrian clergy and caved in in the most shameful way; he would have certainly wished a successor willing to continue on his path, but he obviously did not have the energy to appoint those sound, conservative, orthodox Cardinals who would have never dreamed of appointing a maverick like Bergoglio.
In this tragedy, I suspect the lack of teeth played only one part. We must reflect that Benedict is still a product of V II and one of the man who – admittedly, from the second row – shaped it. He does not have the “lio” madness of his disgraceful successor, but he was certainly “collegial” enough not to stem the tide of stupidity coming from his dioceses. He must have thought – at least in part – that whatever the instances and the flawed ideology of the local churches, they have a right for these instances and these ideologies to be reflected in the appointment of bishops, and even cardinals.
The result is plain to see: bishops waving their hand like disadvantaged kindergarten children in Rio, and cardinals able to appoint a Bergoglio to the top job.
Pope Benedict will live his last years in the bitter knowledge he is the ultimate responsible not only for his own humiliation and the dismounting, brick by brick – I use this expression on purpose – of his own Pontificate, but for the plunging of the Church in an abyss of populism he must, most certainly, abhor.
A fitting punishment, as I have already pointed out. Let him see what happens to the Church he certainly loves when absence of spine and adherence to conciliar values meet to create such an explosive result as Pope Gay The First.
If Benedict had only paid more attention in his appointments of cardinals, he could now relax and watch with satisfaction his predecessor continuing on his line with more energy and enthusiasm. If he had also refused to cave in to the local hierarchies and had appointed sound and orthodox bishops, he could now look with satisfaction at an increase in vocations – and the right ones – as the fabric of the Church in the Western countries is slowly repaired. But he did neither the first nor the second, and now even Summorum Pontificum, for which his own Pontificate will be most surely remembered, might be swept away the first morning Francis feel like a bit of “lio”.
This is what happens when those in whose power it is to act prefer to teach instead, and do not care that their pupils are riotous and only waiting for them to go away.
The single man who bears the most responsibility for Bergoglio’s appointment is the Pontiff Emeritus. No one else can say he played such a big role in his election as Ratzinger did.
He will have to live with the regrets and the humiliations for the rest of his life.
They are both of his own doing. Therefore, he deserves both.