Benedict’s resignation marks a high point in his papacy
By Liz O’Malley
In a true act of devotion to his Catholic faith, Pope Benedict XVI has given up his papal status for lent.
If you’re not familiar with Saint Malachy’s Prophecy of the Popes, it states that the next pope will be the antichrist, “who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people.” Despite the fact that all revered prophecies tend to focus solely on a few vaguely correct attributions and neglect the hundred other false ones, I can’t help but ask how the Church could possibly move in a more backwards direction than Benedict.
It’s no huge surprise that the Catholic church is facing difficulties in the wake of a secularizing patronage, and is desperately struggling to evangelize their youth. Pope Benedict XVI’s reign was mired with repugnant laxity towards the pedophilia scandals, an unethical campaign against condoms in HIV/AIDS plagued nations, and a highly anti-feminist initiative. As far as making religion seem like an attractive endeavor in a modern world full of harsh realities, Benedict has utterly failed.
Benedict is well-known for preferring a smaller, more orthodox church. Before becoming Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was in charge of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, the likely reason for his emphasis on doctrinal integrity. Benedict worked tirelessly towards “pressing a conservative interpretation of Vatican II’s key teachings, appointing like-minded bishops and making his priority the revitalization of traditional Catholicism in a world, which he often laments, seems to think that it can do without God.”
Pope Benedict XVI has dealt with two specific groups of “dissidents” who have attempted to move the church towards a more progressive ideology. The first group, a group of Austrian priests, was pushing for the ordination of women into the priesthood as well as the ability for priests to marry. Though this proposition was greatly in response to the ever diminishing supply of men entering seminaries, it also seems to be a reasonable solution to the imbalance of experience priests have in practical matters regarding the concerns of married persons. However this did not prevent the Pope from “questioning whether their call for disobedience was more about imposing their own ideas on the church than renewing it.” This shows Benedict’s commitment to preserving orthodox notions of priesthood as well as his own ignorant approach to the current state of Catholic affairs. Still, amidst a worldwide shortage of men joining the calling, women are still seen as too defective to take on the role of a preacher.
The second group, punished more harshly because of their gender, is Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)–accused by the Pope of endorsing “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith” including “some commentaries on “patriarchy” [that] distort the way in which Jesus has structured sacramental life in the Church.” He also accused the group of taking positions that undermine church teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality, “focusing its work too much on poverty and economic injustice, while keeping “silent” on abortion and same-sex marriage.” Though it sounds as if the nuns are actively living out the mission of Christ by helping those in need and embracing the ‘sinners’ instead of rejecting them as the rest of society does, there is no way for nuns to challenge the counterintuitive position of the Church because their subservient roles leave them with no real say in legislature or the formation of Church doctrine.
To remedy this situation of ‘dissidence,’ instead of calling on the group to reform itself as he did with the group of ‘dissident’ Austrian priests, the Pope went as far as to call LCWR incapable of making changes on its own. He appointed a council of bishops to “revise the conference’s statutes and review its programs and publications.” Thus, the largest organization of Holy women in the United States has been publicly humiliated and shamed for their actions, stripped of their power and relegated to the control of a dominant power (perhaps here we can draw the limitless parallels to the life of Jesus Christ).
Aside from the absolutely appalling attitude of Benedict towards women, he has acted even more despicably towards the controversial rape and human rights scandals, working to protect torturous pedophiles instead of the horribly scarred victims of their heinous atrocities. Benedict had knowledge of the scandals decades before they broke, and once in charge did absolutely nothing to make things better. He has more knowledge on the child abuse scandals and cover ups than almost anyone else in the world after having read through thousands of documented cases of abuse, yet failed to provide legislation that would protect children in the future.
Deplorably, the Pope has acknowledged his hand in protecting rapists in the Church, and has asked to meet with Italian President Napolitano on February 23 to beg for not only immunity, but protection, from prosecution in his dealings with the abuse cases. In response to this disgusting plea for protection, The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State wrote Napolitano a very serious letter that accurately assesses the matter, powerfully saying:
“I need not remind you, Mr. President, that under international law and treaties that have been ratified by Italy, you and your government are forbidden from granting such protection to those like Joseph Ratzinger who have aided and abetted criminal actions, such as ordering Bishops and Cardinals in America and elsewhere to protect known child rapists among their clergy.
Your obligation to the Vatican through the Lateran Treaty does not negate or nullify the requirements of these higher moral and international laws; nor does it require that you give any protection or immunity to a single individual like Joseph Ratzinger, especially after he has left his papal office.”
I don’t have much more to say on the matter other than I hope that Benedict gets legally fucked in the ass just like all those poor kids he failed to protect. As we await the next Antichrist Pope, who is somehow going to be worse than a chauvinist-Hitler-youth-pederast-guardian, we can pray that he’ll do a better job at moving the Church forward with the times before dragging us down to hell. See you there, Joseph Ratzinger.