Daily Archives: October 22, 2021
I have written in another post about a world with Benedict not resigning and remaining in charge. I’d like to sat two words here about his rather proximate meeting with his Maker.
Benedict has, in the past, raised huge eyebrows talking of his salvation as a done deal (I wrote about it), without him being known as a new San Paul or Padre Pio. If I were him, however, I would actually be worried. Let us see why.
The fact is, Benedict isn’t a quisque de populo; he is a guy who has had a big influence on the church and on countless faithful for many decades; and he is a prelate, and a theologian to boot. He must know that he will be judged differently from the old man who, at times, got drunk at the pub.
Dr Ratzinger was a poisonous influence during Vatican II, and the fact that he wasn’t nearly as bad as others made his poison more insidious. He also consorted with, or was appreciative of, theologians who were seen with suspicion or sent to the wilderness only a few years prior. You only need to read books like One Hundred Years of Modernism to understand that this guy was, without a doubt, part of the heretical push, albeit in much lesser measure than others. Everybody, in pre Vatican II time, would have been afraid of hell just stuff like that.
Then we have Pope Benedict, of whom I have just written in the other post. This was the guy wearing red shoes to be reminded that he walked in the blood of the martyrs, but not willing to undergo the harsh conflicts necessary to deal with the harsh realities of the job. Nor has he the excuse of being too simple, or too naive, like John XXIII might have fancied himself on a bad day. No, this one was always – and is, in fact, to this day – a keen and sharp intellect. Therefore, his caving to the wolves around him in everything that really counts cannot really be salvaged by the occasional good decision or sound gesture. Be it Summorum Pontificum, homo mafia, or Bishops’ appointment, Benedict was always wetting his lips, but then he never whistled. He even had to have his own Assisi gathering! This is, I think, a heavy burden for a man who, like every Pope, should set his life at nought , but was afraid of even enforcing Summorum Pontificum.
Lastly, we have the Pontiff Emeritus. On at least two occasions, possibly more, Ratzinger lauded Francis’ Pontificate (I wrote about it on both occasions). It is nothing less than staggering that a man still in full possession of his faculties, as Ratzinger is, would be so gregarious, so much of a yesman to the very end, that he would praise the man systematically trying to destroy Catholicism, including of course that little that Benedict did himself.
I wish the man, sincerely, all the best. Which is why I notice with sadness that, with already one and a half foot in the grave, he has never recanted his role in V II and, in fact, still seems to think he did quite well in it; has never said a word about the effects of his decisions on the Catholic Church; and has not yet said, not even almost in dying, one word of condemnation of the countless scandals of the Evil Clown, though he actually praised him on more than one occasion.
Honestly, if he is not worrying, as it seems he is not, this is another indication of how thoroughly a son of V II Ratzinger is.
The Pontiff Emeritus has recently expressed his desire to go to his reward soon, and this has prompted in me the desire to write not one, but two posts. Let us talk, today, about his health.
Whilst the man undoubtedly still has a fully functioning brain, if you look at a recent picture of his you will see the degree of physical decay that has now set in. Francis may be ill, or not, but he easily looks twenty years younger than his predecessor.
So I reflect on what papacy we would have had in the last eight and a half years, if Benedict had not resigned.
I think we would have had a horrible, horrible one.
Not a strong man when in the fullness of his physical ability, Benedict was, as Pope, clearly never man enough to do what he knew is right. Rather, he was happy with some alibi gestures, like Summorum Pontificum, whilst the wolves around him largely did what they wanted and kept installing their friends as bishops and cardinals. In fact, Benedict’s utter inability to set the tone in the episcopal appointments is, even more than his weakness in having SP seriously enforced, witness of his weakness.
Benedict was the guy happy to commission a 300 pages report on the homo mafia, knowing that he would not be the one who has to deal with the problem.
A strong Pope would have said “pray for me, that I may have some mercy on the wolves”. For Benedict, hunting the wolves was never in the cards. He merely hoped not to be pushed around all day.
If, therefore, Benedict had been still in charge in his late Eighties and Nineties, he would have allowed his handlers to boss him around like you wouldn’t believe, in tune with his innate lack of fortitude and his very German gregariousness and herd mentality.
The problem with that is, I believe, that whilst Benedict was never man enough to be a strong Pope, he was always intelligent enough to realise it. He must have looked with discomfort at the more and more overt pressure that would have been exerted on him as years go by. A lion will, with age, lose some strength in his roar; but a kitten is in real trouble. Faced with a difficult situation, and lucidly seeing his limits, Benedict did was all quitters do: he quit.
I think this is a sensible reading of the situation, and one that accounts for Benedict’s desire to feel that he was not fleeing from the wolves, but doing the sensible thing seeing his advanced age and declining physical abilities. Still, this tells me that, in good part thanks to his eight years’ inaction on the homo mafia and to his episcopal and cardinals’ appointment, we would have been in trouble anyway. In fact, we might have been better off with a total idiot and Clown as a frontman, allowing more people to open their eyes, than with John Paul II 2.0, showcased to the simple as a wonderful example of health martyrdom whilst the wolves feast in the background.
However, looking at him now, I cannot but realise that we would have been in real trouble anyway.