Death of Benedict XVI announced…

Farewell to Benedict XVI: ‘Humble worker in vineyard of the Lord’

The 95-year-old Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away on Saturday at 9:34 AM in his residence at the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.

By Vatican News

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has returned to the Father’s House.

The Holy See Press Office announced that the Pope Emeritus died at 9:34 AM on Saturday morning in his residence at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, which the 95-year-old Pope emeritus had chosen as his residence after resigning from the Petrine ministry in 2013.

“With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 AM in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. Further information will be provided as soon as possible.  As of Monday morning, 2 January 2023, the body of the Pope Emeritus will be in Saint Peter’s Basilica so the faithful can bid farewell.”

News of worsening health condition

Already for several days, the health conditions of the Pope Emeritus had worsened due to advancing age, as the Press Office had reported in its updates of the evolving situation.

Pope Francis himself publicly shared the news about his predecessor’s worsening health at the end of the last General Audience of the year, on 28 December.

The Pope had invited people to pray for the Pope Emeritus, who was “very ill,” so that the Lord might console him and support him “in this witness of love for the Church until the end.”

Following this invitation, prayer initiatives sprung up and multiplied on all continents, along with an outpouring of messages of solidarity and closeness from secular leaders.

Funeral plans

In the next few hours, the Holy See Press Office will communicate details for the funeral rite.

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  1. Paddy Ferry says:

    My encounters with Joseph Ratzinger — and Pope Benedict XVI


    I first met Joseph Ratzinger in June 1994 when he was the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. No, I was not being interrogated by the Grand Inquisitor. This was long before I got in trouble with the Vatican as editor-in-chief of America magazine. I was in Rome to interview him and other church officials for my book, Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church.

    I almost missed the interview. Cardinal Ratzinger was sick the day of our appointment. When I arrived, I was asked whether I wanted to meet with the congregation’s secretary. I agreed, figuring it was better than nothing. When I was ushered into his presence, I hadn’t gotten a word out before the secretary, Archbishop Alberto Bovone, assaulted me with questions: “Who are you?” “What are you doing here?” “I will decide whether you can see Cardinal Ratzinger.”

    “But the cardinal already agreed to see me,” I stuttered. That meant nothing to him; he demanded a list of questions I was going to ask. He then assigned a young Dominican to interrogate me.

    Jesuits being interrogated by Dominicans working for the Inquisition has a long and unhappy history. On the other hand, Dominicans have also come to our rescue. When Lorenzo Ricci, the Jesuit superior general died in 1775 after being imprisoned in Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo by the pope, the top Dominican was the only one willing to preside at his funeral. The tradition has continued ever since.

    In any case, I was handed over to the Dominican, who, it seemed, was already on my side. During my interrogation by Bovone, he had been making faces and rolling his eyes behind the secretary’s back. Rather than interrogate me, he advised me on what to do. “Write a letter to the cardinal. Explain that you are leaving at the end of the week and that you would like to meet with him for 15 minutes.”

    I wrote the letter as soon as I got back to my room, faxed it to the CDF and got a new appointment. Ratzinger agreed to meet with me in the afternoon, when Vatican offices are usually closed. The interview went more than an hour.

    I learned a lot about Ratzinger before the interview even began. He was kind and willing to go out of his way to help a young scholar, even at a time he was not feeling well.

    On the other hand, having a bully as his No. 2 man showed either blindness on Ratzinger’s part or an unhealthy dependence on people who, though loyal, were not fit for their jobs. Neither as prefect nor as pope was he good at choosing his subordinates.

    When we sat down for the interview, Ratzinger asked whether I wanted to do it in German or Italian. With a panicked voice I said, “English would be much better.” He agreed, saying “My English is very limited.” In fact, it was excellent. Only once during the interview did he struggle for a word.

    He told me that he was at first undecided whether to accept the position as head of the congregation. Pope John Paul II had to ask him three times before he said yes.

    “Give me time, Holy Father,” he told John Paul. “I am a diocesan bishop; I have to be in my diocese.” He ultimately agreed to come to Rome in 1982.

    In our interview, he spoke of fostering a dialogue between theologians and his office, but theologians who lost their jobs or were silenced by him did not experience it that way. He was upset by the insulting language of attacks on his office, even if he could laugh at the situation.
    (I should have remembered this years later before foolishly referring to the “inquisitional” procedures of his congregation in an editorial in America.)

    What is most striking about the interview today was his admission, “I do not have charism about structural problems.”

    In other words, Ratzinger was at heart a scholar not a manager, but he would become head of a billion-member organization with a hierarchical structure and a complex bureaucracy in Rome.

    In 1998, after my book was published, I became editor in chief of America, a magazine first published by Jesuits in 1909. My goal was to make it “A magazine for thinking Catholics and those who want to know what Catholics are thinking.”

    Although almost always careful in editorials to stick to the Vatican line, I thought I could publish alternative views in the opinion section of the magazine if I insisted that these articles did not necessarily represent the views of the magazine. We were, after all, a journal of opinion.

    During my seven years as editor, the CDF published important documents on which I asked relevant scholars to comment. They usually praised the parts they liked, and criticized those they did not. I was always happy to publish critical responses to these articles.

    I also published articles by many bishops and cardinals, including then Archbishop Raymond Burke, whom I invited to explain why the church should deny Communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians. I asked Chicago Cardinal Francis George, a prominent conservative, a half dozen times to write something for us, but he always refused.

    A high point of the magazine as a forum for dialogue was a submission by Cardinal Walter Kasper, the head of the Vatican ecumenical office, criticizing the ecclesiology of Cardinal Ratzinger. As the article was going to the printers, I sent a copy to Ratzinger inviting his response. At first, he declined, but later changing his mind, sent a response in German, which we had translated and published.

    We were delighted to have two prominent cardinals debating an important issue in the pages of America, but later I learned that Cardinal George complained about the exchange and asked the Vatican Secretary of State to tell the cardinals not to debate in America because it scandalizes the faithful.

    Despite my attempts to be fair, it became apparent that neither John Paul nor Cardinal Ratzinger wanted a journal of opinion unless it reflected their opinions. After two and a half years as editor, I heard from the Jesuit superior general, Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, that the Vatican was unhappy with an article on AIDS and condoms written by Jesuit theologian James Keenan and Jesuit physician Jon Fuller.

    I would have been happy to publish a rebuttal from anyone in the Vatican, but I never received anything directly from the congregation. The congregation always communicated with me through my Jesuit superiors.

    In June 2001, I was told that the congregation found “Father Reese’s way of criticizing the Holy See, and particularly the congregation, aggressive and offensive.” In particular, they took issue with an editorial we ran on due process in the church (April 9, 2001). We were accused of being anti-hierarchical.

    At the end of February 2002, Father Kolvenbach said that CDF had decided to impose a commission of ecclesiastical censors on America “at the request of American bishops and the nuncio.” The censors would be three American bishops.

    Not only was this a bad idea, it was totally impractical, since we published weekly.

    In April I received a list of items published in America that the congregation did not like. They included a book review by Jesuit historian John O’Malley of Papal Sin, the article by Keenan and Fuller, an article on homosexual priests by Jesuit James Martin and articles on the CDF document, Dominus Iesus, by Francis X. Clooney, Michael A. Fahey, Peter Chirico, and Francis A. Sullivan.

    Ratzinger seemed to have a thin skin when it came to documents coming out of his congregation.

    Only two editorials were mentioned — one on Dominus Iesus (Oct. 28, 2000) and the other on “the abortion pill,” RU-486 (Oct. 14, 2000). We condemned the abortion drug but hinted that it might be time to rethink the church’s teaching on birth control as a way of reducing the number of abortions.

    Interestingly, America’s extensive and forceful coverage of the sex abuse crisis was never mentioned by the congregation, though I knew that some American bishops did not like it. Ratzinger, although not perfect, was better than anyone else in Rome on the topic.

    No one could tell me which U.S. bishops had requested the censorship board. I knew it had never come up at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Nor was it discussed at the administrative committee of the U.S. bishops’ conference, according to my sources, among them Archbishop Thomas Kelly, who was on the committee during this time.

    When I asked Bishop Donald Trautman, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, he grew furious that a censorship board was set up without consulting his committee. He planned to object vigorously.

    Nor was American Archbishop John Foley, head of one of the communications offices in the Vatican, consulted. He said that, if he were asked, he would have said it was a bad idea. He jokingly referred to himself as the “left wing of the Roman Curia.”

    I asked for help from Archbishops Kelly, John Quinn and Daniel Pilarczyk, but they all said that they were not trusted by Rome, so their support would do no good. Quinn and Pilarczyk had been presidents of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Kelly had been conference general secretary and on the staff of the papal nunciature in Washington.

    I approached Jesuit Cardinal Avery Dulles, who thought a censorship board was a terrible idea. He promised to put in a good word for me with Ratzinger. “You publish me,” the very orthodox cardinal said.

    Sometime before the end of July 2003, Kolvenbach met with Ratzinger and was able to talk him out of imposing a censorship board. Kolvenbach warned me that the congregation would be watching to see how America responded to CDF’s upcoming document on gay marriage. I asked associate editor James Martin, who had written extensively on gays in the church, not to say anything about the document. I wanted to protect him and the magazine. He agreed.

    Our first article on the subject was on June 7, 2004, by Monsignor Robert Sokolowski, a philosopher at the Catholic University of America, who was strongly opposed to gay sex and gay marriage. I had to talk him into dropping a paragraph comparing gay sex to sex with animals.

    His article, not surprisingly, elicited strong responses, one of which came from Stephen Pope, professor of theology at Boston College. Even though I got Pope to tone the article down a notch, and even though I allowed Sokolowski to respond to Pope in the same issue, I knew as it went to the printers that this could be the final nail in my coffin.

    Although I had never opined or editorialized on the topic, it was clear that merely allowing a discussion of some issues in America was more than Ratzinger would tolerate.

    Almost immediately after the publication of the Dec. 6, 2004, issue, my American superior heard complaints from the papal nuncio in Washington. He also complained about an article on politicians, abortion and Communion by U.S. Representative Dave Obey, who had been denied Communion by Burke. There was acknowledgement that we published articles on both sides of the “wafer war.”

    As 2005 progressed, the world focused on the sickness and death of John Paul and the conclave that elected Ratzinger Pope Benedict XVI. During this time, I was busy working with the media explaining and commenting on what was happening.

    Before the conclave, at an off-the-record dinner with some journalists in Rome, I was asked, “What would be your reaction if Ratzinger was elected pope?” I responded, “How would you feel if Rupert Murdoch took over your newspaper?”

    On the day of Ratzinger’s election, I had already promised to appear on the PBS Newshour. On the program, I blandly opined that some people will like the results, some won’t. After that, my response to press inquiries was “no comment,” because I believed that his election was a disaster but, as Jesuit, I could not say so.

    On April 19, 2005, as I heard the announcement of Ratzinger’s election in St. Peter’s Square, I knew my tenure as editor of America was over. For the good of the magazine and the good of the Jesuits, I had to go. In addition, after seven years of looking over my shoulder, I had had enough.

    I stopped giving interviews and left Rome.

    When I got back to New York, the other Jesuits at the magazine would not let me resign. A few days later, I met with my superior, the president of the Jesuit Conference, and learned that my time as editor was over. Only then did I learn that back in March, Ratzinger had told the Jesuit superior general that I had to go. For various reasons they had not gotten around to telling me. So I resigned.

    My Jesuit superiors had always been very supportive of my work, but I knew that ultimately, they could not protect me unless I was willing to compromise my values as an editor. They had not been able to protect numerous Jesuit theologians who had been disciplined by CDF.

    When the news hit the press, I was portrayed as Benedict’s first victim; the truth was, I was the last victim of Cardinal Ratzinger. Because I was so well known by the media, who had frequently used me as a source, the coverage was extensive and negative toward the new pope.

    The coverage was so bad that the Vatican stepped back from the planned removal of the Jesuit editor of the German journal, “Stimmen der Zeit” (“Voices of the times”). They let him serve out his term as editor.
    If I were a unique case, my story would be interesting but not important in judging the legacy of Joseph Ratzinger. Sadly, mine is only one of hundreds of examples of the repression of free inquiry by reporters and theologians during the papacies of John Paul and Benedict.

    A few months before my resignation, Jacques Dupuis, a distinguished theologian who had been disciplined by Ratzinger, told us the story of his own meeting. After the congregation had condemned one of his books, the elderly (and ill) theologian prepared a 200-page response. When he met with Ratzinger and the CDF, he told the editors of America, they surprised him by asking him for his response. When he pointed to the document on the table before them, which had taken him months of work, they scoffed, “You don’t think we’re going to read that, do you?” Dupuis died not long after our meeting.

    Whether I was right or wrong in my views is irrelevant. What matters is that after the Second Vatican Council open discussion was suppressed by Ratzinger under the papacy of John Paul. If you did not agree with the Vatican, you were silenced. Yet, without open conversation, theology cannot develop, and reforms cannot be made. Without open debate, the church cannot find ways of preaching the gospel in ways understandable to people of the 21st Century.

    The papacy of Pope Francis has reopened the windows of the church to allow the fresh breeze of the Spirit. Conversation and debate is possible again, even to disagreeing with the pope. Unlike his predecessors, Francis does not silence his critics. Change will not happen quickly enough for many in the church, but allowing the conversation to flourish is essential to preparing for reform.

    This story appears in the The Ratzinger/Benedict XVI legacy feature series. View the full series.

  2. Joe O'Leary says:

    Paddy, thanks for posting this eye-opening account of bullying in the high ranks of the church in the 21st century. Good Jesuits like James Keenan, Francis Clooney, Thomas Reese, James Martin had to keep looking over their shoulder in a way that is questionable to me. The document on gay marriage was an assault of the rights of real human beings, but Fr Reese had to publish a piece supporting it. This is not tolerable! That Ratzinger was thick-skinned about criticism of the awful documents his Congregation produced, notably Dominus Iesus, bemuses me. He crushed liberation theology, inculturated liturgy, honest discussion of what are disgustingly called ‘the hot button issues,’ interreligious theology, and much else. The current depletion of Catholic thought is due to him just as the current depletion of American democracy is due to Trump. Just as Trump’s omnipresent voice has bored the world since 2015, so the voice of Ratzinger pervaded Catholicism as a headache for thirty years, and even into the pontificate of Francis.

  3. Paddy Ferry says:

    Press Release

    A contradictory theologian who leaves behind a difficult legacy

    We Are Church International offers prayers for the repose of the soul of the retired Pope Benedict XVI who died on 31 December 2022.

    We Are Church International sees the late Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, former Pope Benedict XVI, as a highly contradictory theologian who shaped the Roman Catholic Church for decades in a backward-looking way like no other post-conciliar church leader. He left his successor Pope Francis and the entire Church a difficult legacy to overcome, leaving a climate of fear and a theological standstill.

    While Joseph Ratzinger helped shape the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) as a young theologian and advisor, he later proved to be a theologian driven by mistrust and frozen in fear in his 31 years at the Vatican (1982-2005 as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II, 2005-2013 as Pope Benedict XVI), who was overwhelmed with his leadership tasks.

    Joseph Ratzinger did not develop an understanding of the future dimension of faith. Rather, he tried to limit or even withdraw the reform impulses of the Council. He thus proved to be a relentless reactionary who ultimately failed. During Benedict’s reign, it became more and more obvious that maintaining the Church hierarchical system is totally inconsistent with, if not opposite to, the Gospel’s message. Even as “Papa emeritus” he repeatedly spoke out in a highly problematic manner, despite his promise to the contrary. With his implausible statements on the second Munich abuse report, he himself severely damaged his reputation as a theologian and church leader and as a “co-worker of the truth” (his bishop’s motto). He was not prepared to make a personal admission of guilt. In doing so, he did great damage to the episcopal and papal office.

    His commendable resignation in 2013 demystified the papal office. It would have been logical, however, if he had also taken off the white cassock.

    May he rest in peace.

  4. Joe O'Leary says:

    ‘Joseph Ratzinger did not develop an understanding of the future dimension of faith.’

    This seems profoundly true, even though he wrote an Eschatology (mostly along the old individualistic lines of the Four Last Things) and an encyclical Spe salvi.

    How come that a theologian of his competence was completely incapable of dialogue with those who devoted much thought to the future of the Church, the future of the Kingdom, the central theme of Jesus’s preaching (which I do not recall finding anything about in ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ or in the Declaration ‘Dominus Iesus’)?

    The powerful grip of the past is perhaps the reason.

  5. Paddy Ferry says:

    Pope Benedict XVI Dies
    By Massimo Faggioli
    January 4, 2023

    The Legacy of Pope Benedict XVI

    Almost ten years after making history for resigning from the papacy, Joseph Ratzinger—Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI—has died at the age of ninety-five, in the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae monastery, where he had been living since May 2013.

    Born in Bavaria, Germany, on April 16, 1927, Ratzinger had a remarkable impact on the life and intellectual tradition of the Catholic Church, not only as pope, but also as one of the most influential theologians at Vatican II. After publishing major works commenting positively on the documents of Vatican II during the council and in the late 1960s, his insights affected the reception of the council from the 1970s onward, as his anti-progressive views—often expressed with a contrarian spirit—became inseparable from his persona, even after his election to the papacy in 2005.

    As a powerful doctrinal policy-maker in the era following Vatican II, Ratzinger was in many ways the alter-ego of Pope John Paul II, whose pontificate is impossible to interpret without considering Ratzinger’s role. After a stint as archbishop of Munich (1977–1981), he was appointed by John Paul II as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, an institution reformed after Vatican II. Under Ratzinger’s leadership, it gained greater prominence and generated controversy. His importance and influence was so valuable to John Paul II that the pope turned down his requests to leave his CDF post, which also helped make possible Ratzinger’s eventual election to the papacy.

    Already known for revisiting Vatican II interpretations of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI turned his attention to other post-conciliar developments, most notably liturgical reform. He helped himself by remaining something of the theologian-in-chief while occupying the chair of Peter, with no one under him serving as influential a role as he did under John Paul II. Yet he was unable to establish and maintain the distinction between his personal theological views and the theology of the Church, so for many Catholics around the world these came to be conflated. This can be traced in part to his shyness and reluctance to “perform” on the global media stage the way his predecessor did (and his successor does)—something crucial for a pope in the twenty-first century.

    In December 2005, eight months after becoming pope, Benedict delivered a speech in which he laid out his interpretation of Vatican II as a “hermeneutic of continuity and reform” (as opposed to a “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture”). This soon proved problematic. Response to this framing came to function as a litmus test of orthodoxy for some interpreters of the council, who as supporters of Benedict focused far more on “continuity” than “reform,” rather than thinking of them together as the pope had described. Yet at the same time, it’s hard to find an example of “reform” that Benedict himself proposed that didn’t try to undo changes brought about by Vatican II and the early post-conciliar period.

    Ratzinger was in many ways the alter-ego of Pope John Paul II, whose pontificate is impossible to interpret without considering Ratzinger’s role.
    Also problematic was his 2007 motu proprio, which reintroduced and encouraged use of the pre–Vatican II liturgical rite. This reinvigorated the traditionalists in the Church (especially in the United States) and legitimized a theological agenda not only obsessed with “liturgical abuses” and desacralization, but also hostile to Vatican II itself. The resurgence of an anti–Vatican II agenda in the last few years, and not just on the fringes of Catholicism, must be viewed as part of Benedict’s legacy.

    Yet it was under his pontificate that the Church also began to face up to the magnitude of the sexual-abuse crisis, beginning with sanctions against Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. Though the punishments were mild, they at least signaled an end to the denial of the crisis by John Paul II and led to a visible shift in the Vatican’s approach to acknowledging and addressing sexual abuse and abuse of power, especially since 2018.

    Of course, it was his resignation from the papacy for which history will remember Benedict, and which will have lasting impact on the Catholic Church. His decision to step down, made while he still had the physical and mental ability to serve as pope, was in line with the ecclesiology of Vatican II, and even the “spirit” of Vatican II—ironic, given his theological views about the relationship between spirit and letter, because under the letter of Vatican II resignation from the papacy was taboo. With his resignation, the papacy as an institution entered uncharted territory. It resulted in a new position, “pope emeritus”—a title he created himself (one that raised concerns even in conservative Catholic quarters)—and in a new tradition and way of living, which he soon set about defining: he would choose the monastic life, but he wouldn’t be a hermit.

    These decisions will not be binding for any future popes who choose to resign, but they will be impossible to ignore. His attempts not to interfere with Francis, or to avoid creating even the impression of interference, have not always been successful. From 2013 to 2020, Benedict’s entourage intervened with books and essays published under his name, but likely not always under his editorial control, on a number of issues—including the intra-Catholic ecclesial debate over divorce and remarriage, theological discussions on the relationship between the Church and Jews, and major public matters like the roots of the sexual-abuse crisis. This sparked tension between Francis’s entourage and Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who in February 2020 had to leave the post of Prefect of the Papal Household, a position that Benedict XVI had given him when he was planning his retirement at the end of 2012.

    The resurgence of an anti–Vatican II agenda in the last few years, and not just on the fringes of Catholicism, must be viewed as part of Benedict’s legacy.
    Ratzinger’s legacy will also live on through appointments that have reshaped an entire episcopate, in bishops who hold unshakeable opinions on contraception, ordained ministry, and the role of women in the Church. It will live on through his theological contributions to the Catechism of 1992, John Paul II’s encyclicals, and other texts, writing that helped tilt the papal magisterium and the official teaching of the Church toward a more conservative stance on the reception of Vatican II. His popularity both as Cardinal Ratzinger and as Benedict XVI provides cover for the shift in conservative Catholic intellectual tradition, from the neo-conservative project beginning in the 1990s to today’s American Catholic neo-traditionalism. His theology amounts to a new apologetics, but in spanning the range of ecclesial (ecclesiastical) matters, it is not identified with any one particular idea that changed the theological landscape. This is fully in character for an intellectual and cleric with a strong sense of tradition who is deeply suspicious of theological innovations.

    Both as cardinal and pope, Ratzinger met with some failures or came up short. He was unsuccessful in recasting the papacy in such a way that a pope could avoid being a spokesman for a post-European, global Catholic Church and for interreligious dialogue, a posture since embraced and embodied by Francis. Ratzinger also did not work to bring about the canonical and theological change that the sexual-abuse crisis made painfully and clearly necessary; instead, he continued to view the scandal through the lens of the post-1968 culture war. And, he never made a real attempt at reforming the Vatican and the central government of the Catholic Church.

    After the “long nineteenth century” (as characterized by John O’Malley) of the Catholic Church was brought to an end by the calling of the council in 1959, Benedict XVI was in some ways the last pope of the delayed conclusion of the twentieth-century Catholic Church, a short century beginning with John XXIII and Vatican II and ending in 2013 with the election of the first non-European and non-Mediterranean pope. Joseph Ratzinger was a brilliant theologian and public intellectual, but also a provocative cleric who as pope had the courage to risk unpopularity. He will remain one of the most widely published and widely read popes in Church history, and likely one of the most controversial. Few committed Catholics will be indifferent or dispassionate about him.

  6. Michael J. Toner says:

    Pope Francis handled the situation well. The “wise old grandfather” was treated lovingly. Even if “wise old grandfathers” are not always listened to as they would like. I`m certain he lived and taught according to his own vision of truth, which actually and demonstrably is in very large measure shared by Francis, to judge by the degree of continuity in the vision of the documents each has produced. Meanwhile, Meanwhile, Pope Francis has got on with his job. Let The Lord -and history – evaluate Benedictict XV1.

  7. Joe O'Leary says:

    The dignified ceremony was blemished by people waving a huge Santo Subito placard, a vulgar and opportunistic intrusion. When CL organized their Santo Subito chant at the last papal funeral they should have been stoutly resisted instead of being treated as the Voice of the Faithful. People abused the idea of ‘canonization by popular acclamation’ in the case of JP2 overriding the norm of a five year wait. Wiki: ‘John Paul II’s cause for canonisation commenced one month after his death with the traditional five-year waiting period waived. On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed venerable by his successor, Benedict XVI, and was beatified on 1 May 2011 (Divine Mercy Sunday) after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints attributed one miracle to his intercession, the healing of a French nun called Marie Simon Pierre from Parkinson’s disease. A second miracle was approved on 2 July 2013, and confirmed by Pope Francis two days later. John Paul II was canonised on 27 April 2014 (again Divine Mercy Sunday), together with John XXIII.’ Rules exist for a reason and should never be ‘waived’ without gravest cause. (Re the hermeneutics of continuity, Nicholas Lash claimed the this was directed not at liberal theologians supposed to have seen Vatican II in terms of discontinuity with tradition, but at the Lefebvrites who claimed to perceive such discontinuity. Perhaps a wishful interpretation.)

  8. Sean O'Conaill says:

    Is there anywhere a fully satisfying account of what happened to theologian Josef Ratzinger in and around 1968? What exactly was the context of university turmoil in that time in Tübingen, culminating in ‘disturbances’ in 1968 – and what has been recorded of Josef’s own personal experience and reaction?

    Given the importance of this turn to a ‘fortress mentality’ by one of the last century’s most notable Vatican II Catholics I am dissatisfied with my own crude and confused summary of it – something like ‘rowdy and blasphemous students traumatise sensitive and pious theologian who never gets over it’. Has anyone attempted a detailed monograph of these events, drawing upon all of the available primary evidence, including the recollections of others closely involved before they too head off?

    Did Josef himself ever leave a memoir of it all?

  9. Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

    “His “Seven Modern Social Sins” that included destroying the environment, genetic manipulation, obscene wealth, creating poverty, drug trafficking, immoral scientific experimentation, and violation of the fundamental rights of human nature, portrayed a man present to contemporary challenges confronting the world. Pope Benedict was a keen observer of the changing global religious landscape.”

    I see Trump’s name being tossed around on this site without people understanding the decision that has shaped the world (hopefully).

    If anyone has any interest in removing plastics/synthetics from crossing the blood/brain barrier, October 31 (also the founding date of the global environmental group Extinction Rebellion) rings as a date where industrial hemp established its footing in North America (a web search of industrial hemp and October 31 should provide you some information on what was happening in 2018).

    I believe the step into the “Modern Social Sins” coupled with Francis’s commitment to the poor and the environment (see: Laudato si) have shaped the world as we will witness.

  10. Michael J. Toner says:

    Lloyd Allan MacPherson, Clarification of your statement above would be very welcome: “I see Trump’s name being tossed around on this site without people understanding the decision that has shaped the world (hopefully).” Thanks,

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