Daily Archives: December 30, 2022
Pray For Benedict, The Tragic Pope Who Fled For Fear Of The Wolves.
The earthly journey of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is now coming to an end. The latest I have heard is that he can still assist to mass, but if his condition is called “serious” we all know how this is, most likely, going to end in the next few days.
The legacy that the man will leave is, if you allow me to be so blunt, a total failure (in execution, but most likely not in intention) with the addition of Summorum Pontificum; a measure, the last one, in which Benedict also managed to fail as he was spectacularly AWOL when the most difficult part (the enforcement) came.
The report on the homosexuality in the Church, which he himself commissioned, and on which he, once again, refused to act, is the other, tragic, pole of his Papacy. I consider the latter the most grave failing of his Pontificate, even worse than his very weak defence of Summorum Pontificum. But there are other issues about which I prefer to speak now, when he is still alive.
Benedict was, if you ask me, the controlled opposition to the dominant V II HomoChurch. Having flirted with heresy himself in his youth (as always in his life, as a moderate heretic, a position of sub-zero risk in the Church of those years), he progressively recovered – in a journey that went on for decades and completed, if it really completed, only when he was Pope – a more orthodox understanding of his place in the great scheme of things. But he never was the guy who would do anything forceful.
Those Cardinals who made him Pope (yes, my dear readers: it’s the Cardinals, not the Holy Ghost, who elect the Pope) evidently knew very well that the man depicted in the secular press as a (ahem) German Pastor eager to defend the Church was, in reality, an already old, already frail man, with less desire for battles than he had ever had in his life, and with an extraordinary propensity for being manipulated, ignored, or openly disobeyed without any consequence. They knew very well that the guy was, again, controlled opposition, giving a facade of austerity and seriousness whilst the Homo Party went on undisturbed. The result was the extraordinary admission of being afraid of fleeing for fear of the wolves. Something which, as it is abundantly clear now, the man actually did.
And a man of the power apparatus Benedict, as expected, was. His appointments of bishops and cardinals were atrocious. The German Shepherd was the obedient lapdog of the dominant groups within the Vatican. The problems we have now are also caused by almost eight years of such appointments.
The weakness of character (which should have advised him to simply ask the Cardinals to pick someone else) was his greatest weakness. Vanity was the second.
It was, if you ask me, vanity – however he might have called it – that led a Pope fleeing from the wolves, and likely obsessed by his fear of being remembered as such, to stress that he was not actually fleeing by – and this is not casual – clinging to the title and the pomp. How much better for him would have been to request to be sent, with the title his successor would deem fit, in some monastery in the extremely beautiful corner of the planet where he was born, and to live there a life in prayer. But no: the failure of his Pontificate, the actual absence of the balls required to simply do his job, had to be hidden behind a veil of gravitas, keeping the title (in a way common, in Italy, to Professors, and which Benedict knew perfectly well) as he was relinquishing the job. A Professor who retires is called Emeritus to allow him to get the honour of the position when he does not have the job anymore. Benedict invented for himself a way of doing exactly the same himself. The issues that this engendered are well-known and, whilst they are totally unfounded, it cannot be said that Benedict made things easier.
Now, let me come to the main event: the fleeing.
If you look at my blog posts of those times, you will see that I had given the man the benefit of the doubt, thinking – very rationally, if you ask me, and avoiding the sin of detraction – that he had decided to resign because he knew that he did not have the physical strength to keep doing the job, something also influenced by the sad spectacle offered by the last years of John Paul II. I stay behind everything that I have written at the time, and consider it, to this day, the most logical reading of the events.
I changed my mind about it – and persuaded myself that the man was, actually, fleeing all the time, and a water carrier of the “progressive guys” all his life – when I saw the unconditional approval Benedict gave to the obviously heretical pontificate of Francis. This, my friends, is not the behaviour of a man who is strong in spirit, but decides to leave the office so that others may continue his work with the necessary energy. This is the behaviour of a yes-man who will do whatever it takes, even with approaching judgment, in order to be seen as an obedient wheel of the apparatus. This is the guy who will never, ever rock the boat.
Ratzinger was never a leader. In typical German fashion, he was born a follower. The job offered to him in 2005 was the possibly most unsuited to his character and inclinations. He could not have changed his character, but he could, and should, have recognised that he was absolutely not cut for the job. Whatever excuse he gave to himself (“the will of the Lord” and such like), let me tell you that, is you ask me, vanity, again, was in play.
A career as a theologian based on heresy-light. Then a pontificate as a fake hard guy. Then a post-pontificate (in itself a problem) marked by complicity with evil.
This is the legacy of Joseph Ratzinger; the man who always managed to do it safely, comfortably wrong.
He is, now, very near to that terrible moment, the moment that awaits all of us. I will pray with all my heart that he may die at peace with the Lord, as I wish for myself and, my dear readers, for all of you.
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