Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Frédéric Martel on the Tragedy That Is the Pastoral Career of Joseph Ratzinger — A Tragedy for the Entire Church

From Frédéric Martel, In the Closet of the Vatican, on the tragedy of Joseph Ratzinger's (Benedict XVI's) pastoral career:

More perhaps than another man of his generation, Joseph Ratzinger has run counter to history – and to his own life. His reasoning, which is absolutely perverse, would soon lead him to justify discrimination against homosexuals, encouraging their dismissal from workplaces or the army, encouraging the refusal of employment or access to housing for them. By legitimizing institutional homophobia in this way, the cardinal and then the pope would inadvertently confirm that his theological power was not without its prejudices. 
Perhaps that was how it had to be? Because let us not forget that Joseph Ratzinger was born in 1927, and that he was 42 when the gay "liberation" of Stonewall happened. He became pope at 78 – already an old man. His thinking is that of a man who has remained locked in the homophobic ideas of his time (p. 450)

This should be noted: this is a personal tragedy for Ratzinger, a pastoral career so misspent, to such a cruel and unnecessary end. But it's also tragic for the entire church. The consquences of Ratzinger's fixation have been enormously destructive in the life of the Catholic church and for its evangelical mission.

On the latest iteration of what is an ongoing, seemingly intractable tragedy for the Catholic church and its mission at this point in history, emanating from the choices of Joseph Ratzinger and Karol Wojtyła, see Allison King, "The Louisville archdiocese forced me to resign because of my gay marriage."

This savagery need not have been, need not be. Though the Catholic church is targeting queer people in a uniqely savage, hateful way at this point in its history and is certainly doing harm to them, it is also inflicting a grievous wound on itself in the process — and is paying an increasingly high price for pandering to hate.

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