This rather severe role has landed Ratzinger the nickname "The Enforcer." From a BBC profile of him:
"To others, he is an intimidating 'Enforcer', punishing liberal thinkers, and keeping the Church in the Middle Ages. "
"While many theologians strive for a Catholic Church that is more open and in touch with the world around it, Ratzinger's mission is to stamp out dissent, and curb the 'wild excesses' of this more tolerant era.
"He wields the tools of his office with steely efficiency. By influencing diocese budgets, bishops' transfers and even excommunications, what an opponent calls 'symbolic violence', Ratzinger has clamped down on the more radical contingent of the Church.
"He has even claimed the prime position of the Church of Rome over other Christian Churches. Although he has apologised for this, he has never been so contrite about excluding liberation theologians, more progressive priests or those in favour of the ordination of women."
To me, it only makes sense to bring in somebody who is a Fundamentalist Catholic, since the world right now seems to be caught between the Fundamentalist Christianity of America, and the Fundamentalist Islam of the Arab world.
A moderate or even - dare I say - progressive pope would be awash in a sea of hard-line all-or-nothing stances and ultimatums.
Ratzinger is also said to be the author of the leaked memorandum last year which laid out the principles under which a bishop or other minister could deny the Sacrament of the Eucharist (Communion) to any politician supporting abortion - namely John Kerry.
Even more fun than that though is that as a young man, Ratzinger was a member of the Hitler Youth in Bavaria, and was drafted into the Wehrmacht, the Nazi army.
And yes it was "mandatory" but that doesn't absolve people of responsibility for their lives. Also, it's been pointed out he was never a member formally of the Nazi party. Again, yes and?
Anyway, some claim he deserted the Wehrmacht, but either way, he ended up in an Allied POW camp in 1945. As counterpoint - here's a Catholic page about how Ratzinger hated the Nazis and resisted them. Also, here's a thread on the forum on the Ratzinger fan club site about his Nazi past. (It's also addressed on the FAQ of that site)
Also have a look at this quote from a Washington Post article from November of last year:
"Observers said Ratzinger's views have been heavily influenced by the harrowing experience of two contending ideologies: fascism, which he experienced as a youth in Germany, and the Marxism rife in German universities during the 1960s.
"Having seen fascism in action, Ratzinger today believes that the best antidote to political totalitarianism is ecclesial totalitarianism. In other words, he believes the Catholic Church serves the cause of human freedom by restricting freedom in its internal life, thereby remaining clear about what it teaches and believes," wrote John Allen, a journalist and biographer of Ratzinger.
"In his early years in office, Ratzinger moved to stamp out vestiges of liberation theology, a current of Catholic thought born in the 1960s that emphasized grass-roots organization to free people from poverty. Its association with Marxist groups and revolutionary movements appalled both John Paul II and Ratzinger.
This rigid anti-Communist stance fits very much in line with Ratzinger's involvement also in the Fatima mysteries. If you'll recall, the Virgin Mary herself supposedly appeared to peasant children in Portugal during the first World War to warn of the rise of Communist Russia. The so-called "Second Secret" she revealed at Fatima went:
"Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will suffer much and various nations will be annihilated."
On that note, Ratzinger is the titular author under whom the "Third Secret of Fatima" was revealed by the Vatican in 2000.
Kept in silence for decades, Ratzinger proclaimed that this secret was a prophesy of the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II (coincidentally, this was the year Ratzinger became Grand Inquisitor).
The actual substance of the vision though is extremely different from the 1981 incident. Take a look at the actual report on the Third Secret on the Vatican's own website. The vision goes (in part):
"the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions."
Rather than the 1981 failed assassination attempt, this reminds me much more of the papal prophecy of Malachy, who states the following in regards to the reign of the final pope, nicknamed in Latin, Petrus Romanus (Peter of Rome):
"Amidst external persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep in many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed, and the terrible Judge will judge his people. The End.
Not a perfect match, but rather more interesting and likely - that is if we're going to dip into the wells of prophecy. I also found this quote from a site on prophecy:
Pope John Paul II, when asked about the Third Secret in Germany, stated that "we must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not too distant future, trials that will require us to be ready to give up our lives."
Pope John Paul II, as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, elaborated this theme during a visit to the United States in 1976: "We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American Society or wide circles of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. It is a trial which the Church must take up."
Coming back to hard facts though, Wikipedia points out that Cardinal Ratzinger is in charge of both John Paul II's funeral, as well as the Papal Conclave of 2005, where the next pope will be chosen.
At 77, Ratzinger is the oldest of the eligible candidates for pope, but he's long been considered the Pope's right hand man. From the Washington Post article quoted above:
"Cardinal Ratzinger is a singular figure in the history of his office and perhaps the church," said Gianni Baget Bozzo, a theologian who specializes in the Vatican. "He takes the initiative on a wide range of subjects in a way that is usually reserved to the pope. That's not to say he acts against the pope. He is trusted. But he is a kind of vice pope."
"He is certainly very visible," said Thomas J. Reese, editor of the Jesuit magazine America. "He has always been extremely strong, given the pope's friendship and confidence. He keeps his finger in everything."
Ratzinger's visibility and the pope's frailty have reawakened the question of who is in charge at the Vatican. Some observers predicted that he would be a strong candidate to succeed John Paul II. His conservatism fits with the thinking of most of the cardinal electors picked by John Paul II. But at 77, Ratzinger is the oldest of the so-called papabili, cardinals frequently mentioned as papal candidates.
"In spite of his age, Ratzinger has recently jumped to the top of the list of candidates," wrote one Vatican watcher, Sandro Magister, in L'Espresso magazine recently. "Some look at him as if he were already de facto pope, the stony defender of the faith in a church under attack from modernity."
It's also been suggested (notably in a Time article) that Ratzinger's age, 77, is a plus, because the Conclave will actually be seeking a shorter-term "transitional" pope, after John Paul II's unusually long reign. The Post article ends:
"Ratzinger, who has sought ways to adapt church governance for modern times, might be willing to agree to an age limit and pass on the job after a few years.
Oh, and speaking of leading a church threatened by modernity, I almost forgot to point out that it's one of Ratzinger's deputies, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who is leading the attack against Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code.
Whoo! Anyway, for more info on Ratzinger, there's also a rather good list of articles online about him kept at the official Ratzinger Fan Club site. Bon apetit!
A wonderful reader also just pointed out the following horrendous tidbit about Ratzinger:
Ratzinger is also the author of a May 2001 letter to bishops stating that the "Crimine solicitationies" law (regarding strict secrecy in sex abuse cases) is still in effect.
For more info on this, we turn to an article on the Guardian's website. Ratzinger in 2001 reminded everyone this rule was still in effect. It referred back to a 40 year old church document:
"The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of 'strictest' secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who speak out with excommunication.
"They also call for the victim to take an oath of secrecy at the time of making a complaint to Church officials. It states that the instructions are to 'be diligently stored in the secret archives of the Curia [Vatican] as strictly confidential. Nor is it to be published nor added to with any commentaries.'"
"Bishops are instructed to pursue these cases -- in the most secretive way -- restrained by a perpetual silence - and everyone - is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office under the penalty of excommunication".
They also provide a link to the actual document itself (PDF). I have absolutely no idea why I never heard about this, and why this simply didn't explode across the media. To me, this pretty much trumps all the other negative things I've compiled above about Ratzinger. There's simply no justifiable reason for priests to be fucking kids, and for anybody to be protecting those who are doing it. Even if this order came from elsewhere, Ratzinger's name and responsibility are still on it.
The weirdest part of all the Ratzinger stuff, I think, is that I didn't really even need to dip into any alternative or questionable sources to find it. All this shit is waaay out in the open. I wonder what he's got on his hands that isn't such common knowledge?
* Adventures of an Occult Investigator
Hi! I'm Tim Boucher and I always thought mystical/supernatural shit was really cool, so I became a real-life occult investigator. I study all manner of myths, magic, saints & superheroes, from the esoteric to pop-culture.
Cardinal Ratzinger Nazi Pope