Saturday, February 7, 2009

What Benedict Knew When: God's Rottweiler Caught Off-Guard?

Again, the question of what Benedict knew when, re: Richard Williamson and his gross anti-Semitism (see and

Today's Clerical Whispers blog picks up an editorial from the 5 Feb. Financial Times (London) that notes the following:

Mr Williamson has long been openly anti-Semitic . . . .

For this German Pope to devote years to bringing these errant brethren back into the fold and not know one of their number is a Holocaust denier is solipsism of cosmic proportions.

Yet this learned Pope is not just a scholar but a student of power and the guardian of a dogmatic doctrinal certitude (

As head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) excelled at compiling detailed dossiers about theologians suspected of doctrinal lapses. It was his careful work at policing the church in this office that earned him the title by which he is often known in Europe, God's Rottweiler. Policing, monitoring, spying, receiving secret allegations about theologians: this was Ratzinger's metier for years.

The church that John Paul II and Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, worked hard to fashion through such methods is one in which there has been a powerful theological chill for years now. Theologians have been terrified to open their mouths, to exercise their God-given voctions in the church.

The church fashioned through such repressive measures is a church that has suffered tremendously. The suppression of open, respectful theological discourse has left the Catholic church entirely unequipped to meet the challenges of postmodern culture in any effective way.

The church has also suffered tremendously due to the willingness of John Paul II and Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) to rely on information-gathering methods that keep theologians (and many bishops) in fear: spying, behind-the-scenes tattling, compiling secret dossiers have been par for the course jin the central offices of the church for some years now. These techniques have been used to reinforce an autocratic, centralized system of governance that suppresses local governance in the church, and which turns local leaders into lackeys who live in fear of displeasing the center.

And we're expected to believe now that Benedict did not know of Richard Williamson's gross anti-Semitic views prior to Benedict's rehabilitation of him?