17 May 2017


Someone called Elton John said not long ago how much he admires Pope Francis. Very commendable! What I found intriguing was that he couldn't leave it there; he couldn't resist the temptation to go on to attack the last Roman Pontiff ... curiously concentrating on his clothes: about which the speaker observed that even he himself would not wear such things in Las Vegas. (I wonder why the interviewer didn't ask him exactly where he, the aforementioned Elton, would wear a mitre and a pallium. Why does a certain sort of interviewer decline to ask a certain sort of interviewee certain sorts of questions?) And indeed, according to an undergraduate newspaper here, the Crooner referred to Benedict XVI as an a*s*h*l*. The national press were, I think, too coy to include this sweet little detail. 'Sir Elton' is a national treasure, and such evidence of deranged spite might damage the image! (Is there a para prosdokian in this individual's apparent preference to compound procto- with -phobia rather than with -philia ?)

Why do people still carry on about Pope Benedict, and why with such visceral hatred?

I print below something that I wrote in 2015, with its original thread. But I cannot refrain from  first inserting here a paragraph from a book I've only just looked at, which John Allen published in 2000 as Cardinal Ratzinger: the Vatican's enforcer of the Faith, and reissued in 2005 as Pope Benedict XVI:
"This polarisation is reflected in ... the frequent plays on the cardinal's name in progressive Catholic circles (Rat-zinger' being the most obvious). The scorn sometimes shades off into rage. One of the more lurid stories that broke in the Catholic world in late 1999, for example, concerned a Web site for gay priests and religious that had been hacked into by a right-wing group. The hackers collected emails and pictures from the site and made them available to the wider world. The images were graphic indeed, but the emails were remarkable less for their sexual content, which ranged from tender to sophomoric, than for the vitriol that sluiced through them about Ratzinger. The clergy and, in one case, a South African auxiliary bishop, called Ratzinger a 'Nazi in Rome' and 'Der Furher's [sic] Oberst Ratzinger'. There were joking references to his need for sex, even to the possibility of killing him. It was obvious that Ratzinger had become the focus for the anger these men felt about the church."

So I'm not the only person to have noticed this unwholesome phenomenon. (Allen, I remind you, wrote his book to criticise Ratzinger.) Readers will recall that the 'Mickensgate' emails of 2013 dwelt somewhat on the joyful possibility of Pope emeritus Benedict's death.

But satis superque. So here follow my original 2015 words.                   

Why do they still hate Ratzinger?

I may have got this wrong, because in such matters one can only be anecdotal. But I think a particular constituency, just one among a number of others, is that of ideological homosexual extremists. Why do they detest him? Apparently he is the symbol of 'homophobia'. Ratzinger's views on homosexuality were, surely, no more 'definite' than those of S John Paul II. But it was Ratzinger who seemed to attract their venom. They loathed him because they apparently saw him as the enemy of their campaigns; and at the same time they tried to convince themselves that he was himself one of themselves, so that, by a paradox of weird inversion, they could hate him all the more.

Why? Here's my hypothesis. A noisy minority of homosexuals seem to need comfort and reassurance and can only get it by convincing themselves and anybody who will listen to them that pretty well everybody else is also homosexual. Particularly anyone who doesn't go along with their own narrative and world view. So: either you are openly homosexual; or, if you aren't, that simply proves how hypocritical you are to conceal your condition! Either way, GOTCHA!!

During the last pontificate, a lot of fool journalists fell for the daft claim that Pope Benedict's choice of garments proved him to be 'gay'. Anybody who was not historically illiterate could see through that. Both his liturgical and his non-liturgical choices (Roman chasubles; red slippers) were clearly archaisms designed to make the point that he was the successor not only of the post-Conciliar popes but also of those who had occupied the Chair of S Peter before Vatican II. But the Elton Johns of this world may not have primed themselves carefully on the Hermeneutic of Continuity. Nor do such people have an instinctive reticence when it comes to shouting their mouths off with regard to things about which they know nothing.

And, time and time again, we had to listen (how sophisticated and witty some of these people like to think they are!) to loud pronunciations of his secretary's name as "GAY ...... org", and to other pieces of laboured and immature innuendo so similar to the ways in which playground bullies have always harried their victims.

There was indeed something immensely nasty going on there.

Perhaps the exaggerated enthusiam some people now have for Papa Bergoglio, and the violence with which some of them react to any criticism of Bergoglio, are not unconnected with this surviving Ratzingerphobia.


Little Black Sambo said...

People will go on hating Ratzinger just as other people go on hating Margaret Thatcher: they need him. I expect some people belong to both groups. (The only really worrying article of vesture was that baseball cap.)

Liam Ronan said...

The violent and obsessive howling of some which endures against Benedict XVI to this very day seems eerily akin to demonic rage, the Gadarene demoniac if you will.

One cannot escape the feeling that it is not sufficient merely to discredit Benedict XVI but rather, if possible, he literally ought be torn to pieces and altogether annihilated both body and soul.

This smacks of possession.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

...The speaker observed that even he himself would not wear such things in Las Vegas...

Said he who appeared at a public concert dressed as a duck.

Tamquam said...

Oh, there is indeed something very nasty here, and they are bullies, attempting to gain by threat of violence what they cannot by reasoned persuasion. I believe that they know in their heart of hearts that what they espouse is not simply wrong (both in the sense of error and of sin), but deeply wrong. Yet it is, at least in their own minds, an integral part of their identity. Were they to admit to the former in light of the latter it would make them fundamentally flawed in a way that would force them to reject themselves, an unbearably painful situation. The antidote is, of course, the admission that all are flawed and fallen, have access to redemption by grace and are called to repentance and conversion to gain it.

Ratzinger, even before his elevation to Papa, was hated by the Marxist inspired Left precisely because he laid out the truth of Gospel and exposed as sin and error all the "new" standards of morality and orthodoxy the Left was promoting that intentionally undermined the truth of the Gospel. (He was known in my circle at the time as "The Zinger of Ratz.") Evil always tries to hide its true nature even from itself, and violently resists exposure. A good part of the hate is intended to make truth tellers fall silent. The Left has organized this virulent opposition to truth tellers in what Orwell characterized in '1984' as "two minutes of hate." It builds solidarity among the haters (ironic that they call those who oppose them "haters" (projection, anyone?)) and intimidates all others. Today's Left has made "two minutes of hate" into a full time job. But that's totalitarianism for you.

Simple Simon said...

Father, homosexual extremists hating Pope Benedict is predictable, but the really very nasty thing going on is how much camp Bergoglio despise him. As the song says, ‘ There’s your Trouble’. Pope Francis was in my opinion disgracefully disrespectful to Pope Benedict with his first Angelus address. Publicly praising and endorsing Kasper’s peculiar theology of mercy, with its attendant corollary communion for the divorced and remarried, which Benedict had already more than once forthrightly rejected, said it all for me .Francis could not have shouted it louder nor made it clearer. Benedict, JP11 and their magisterium were now for him dead history. Benedict’s clarity and profundity of thought, orthodoxy, command of Catholic tradition, decency, belief in the Gospels and love of the Church’s liturgical heritage always haunted the Bergoglio campers dreams. Unbounded was their joy when he resigned. We now have to endure a cantankerous pontiff who has already entered the Guinness book of records as the most misquoted Pope of all time, and among other things the stupefying ramblings of the Archbishop of Chicago, the altogether wrong direction nuances of Cardinal Vincent, Kasper’s fictional understanding of God’s mercy, all of Camp Bergoglio’s delusional take on Christian morality and conscience, never a mention of the Angelic Doctor, but always barrow loads from the Doctors of Spin. I believe that history will show Pope Francis’s magisterium to have been nothing but an amaranthine weed, eventually suffering the fate of all weeds. Plucked up by the Gardener and thrown on the compost heap.

UnanimousConsent said...

I worked for the NCCB (now USCCB) in the US in the mid 90's. I used to keep a picture of Cardinal Ratzinger by my desk. One day, I arrived at work and it was defaced by a swastika. I tossed it, replacing e d it, and it was defaced multiple times. Alas.... What could one expect otherwise....

rtjl said...

I'm going to carry on about Pope Benedict. I miss him.

mark wauck said...

What I'm going to say has nothing to do with why "they" hate Benedict, but it is the bone that I have to pick with Benedict. He has throughout his career suggested that what he calls "the concept of natural law" is no longer useful in our dialogue with secular society. Obviously, that's a lot like the idea that, well, we won't actually deny a truth of faith but we need to find a pastoral workaround. I maintain that the concept of natural law is part of the Apostolic Tradition and, to simplify matters a bit, I would point to Paul's Letter to the Romans, especially the first two chapters, in that regard. I would further maintain that truth never goes out of fashion, and I think I would have people like Chesterton and Lewis on my side in this. Here, quoted in "NATURAL LAW: Human Rights as a Basis for dialogue" (2009), is a typical expression of Benedict's views--but it's a theme that he has developed on many occasions:

“The natural law has remained (especially in the Catholic Church) the key issue in dialogue with the secular society and with other communities of faith in order to appeal to the reason we share in common and to seek the basis for a consensus about the ethical principles of law in a secular, pluralistic society. (Note: no one is questioning whether the Church should abandon the concept of natural law. It is a matter of how useful it is and how it can be presented in this particular dialogue with the secularist society.) Unfortunately, this instrument has become blunt. Accordingly, I do not intend to appeal to it for support in this conversation. The idea of the natural law presupposed a concept of nature in which nature and reason overlap, since nature itself is rational. With the victory of the theory of evolution, this view of nature has capsized; nowadays we think that nature as such is not rational, even if there is rational behavior in nature. This is the diagnosis that is presented to us, and there seems to be few voices today that are raised to contradict it. “

What does that leave us with in our dialogue with secular society? In the conclusion to his Subiaco lecture on "Europe's Crisis of Culture"--which amounted to the then Cardinal Ratzinger's campaign speech for the papacy--he had little more to offer than Pascal's famous "wager":

"We must reverse the axiom of the Enlightenment and say: Even one who does not succeed in finding the way of accepting God, should, nevertheless, seek to live and to direct his life veluti si Deus daretur, as if God existed. This is the advice Pascal gave to his friends who did not believe."

I don't find that sound at all. A commenter from CUA had this to say, which I regard as a trenchant but fair critique:

"Echoing Pascal's wager, Ratzinger proposes that nonbelievers should adopt elements of the Christian faith hypothetically, as a position that produces a better outcome than the alternative. But while Pascal, perhaps ironically, justified the benefits of Christianity by reference to the next life, Ratzinger sincerely proposes that the person and the state are better here and now for wagering that God exists. A believer may wonder whether such a utilitarian appeal has not conceded too much to the very values of modernity it attempts to counter. A skeptic may conclude that evidence is thin for the superior humanity and purpose of Christian states and persons. Both may question the authenticity of a faith motivated by such an appeal. Indeed, Ratzinger seems at times to be arguing, not for the faith of the Church and the Bible, but simply for the operation of a nominal "civic religion"; in this regard, he compares the American model of church and state favorably to that of Europe."

ChrisB said...

Fr. Hunwicke and readers:

When I as a largely ignorant grown Catholic man started to understand what happened to our Holy Catholic Church in the wake of Vatican II, I was time-and-time again pointed by writers and essayists and web-sites to one man: Joseph Ratzinger.

He won my heart, as a true Catholic father to me, by his serene presence on the ugly battlefield of our contemporary world, and its manifestation in our contemporary Catholic Church.

He seems, by contrast, to be the very opposite of the current pontiff, never playing to the crowd or stooping to wound-with-words those he dislikes.

There are so many important things he taught me...one especially stands out now, in contrast to these days of purposeful divisiveness: That God is the only totaling open being, and that to imitate Christ, we must make ourselves open to others...and to be open...we must be willing to be wounded.

There is a reason why men like Cdl Wuerl and others who promote the current pontificate of "the-St-Galens-Mafia" cannot answer straight questions - because they are not open: they are not open to discourse, in the same way that they are not open to tradition. They are closed...culturally bound to the zeitgeist.

Benedict was open...and willing to be wounded. May our heavenly Father bless him forever for his openness.

Stephen said...

Interestingly enough, many of the leaders of the SturmAbteilung (SA), Hitler's early para-military group of thugs specifically designed by him to enact violence and promote fear, were homosexual. I don't know whether Hitler and the SA specifically recruited homosexuals at all, but all SA members were certainly recruited for their capacity in inflict pain and intimidate.

Needless to say, from the filioque to Cardinal Kasper, Germans can be troublesome. (And, this does not in any way impugn good Papa Ratzi, who after all is a Bavarian anyway.)

Kathleen1031 said...

There is a Protestant attorney/pastor named Scott Lively. Mr. Lively has a "PhD" in dealing with gay activists and homosexuals, and he has a free book on his Defend the Family website, I believe it is called "The Pink Swastika", and it presents the evidence that there is a direct tie between Nazi Germany and homosexuality.

Catechist Kev said...

"He seems, by contrast, to be the very opposite of the current pontiff, never playing to the crowd or stooping to wound-with-words those he dislikes."

Rright on, ChrisB!

I cannot recall how many times I get so flummoxed by Pope Francis on *what* he says about faithful Catholics and *how* he says it.

Mercy? What mercy?

Catechist Kev

Michael Leahy said...

Mr Wauck,

Thank you for that information about the pope emeritus. I am surprised by two things.
Firstly, that he should accept the Theory of Evolution (presumably he means the Darwinian version), which is if anything seeming more shaky than ever, not to mention that there are versions of evolution that may not be "irrational". Also, surely there is no degree of irrational contingency that cannot be transcended by the omniscience of God?
Secondly, if nature is irrational, does this not cut the ground from under any human statement that this is so, since the human making the statement, a product of nature, cannot be said with any certainty whatever to be rational. Indeed, is it reasonable to imply that reason can proceed from unreason?

William Tighe said...

"(presumably he means the Darwinian version)"

A rather rash presumption, should think, in the absence of evidence.

Michael Leahy said...

Mr Tighe,

I certainly did not mean to be rash, and is it so to presume that this was the theory the Pope Emiritus referred, when it is the one proclaimed by the vast bulk of the scientific establishment and also it is the one that most fits the description of irrational?

mark wauck said...

@Michael Leahy: My take is that he's referring to some modern form of Darwinism, basically the type of theories that maintain that the universe as it is is a result of pure random events--the type that maintain that a monkey at a typewriter--woops, keyboard--if left to work long enough would eventually type out the works of Shakespeare. Of course, this isn't the worldview of any traditional culture (cf. the works of Mircea Eliade), certainly not that of ancient Israel (the Decalogue is a reflection of that), nor of Jesus as we know him from the Gospels, nor of his Apostles or the various early Christian writings, whether contained in the New Testament, the various creedal formulations, or whatever.

Many Catholics are upset at the Kasper/Bergoglio ploy: we would never dream of denying dogma, but pastoralism ... People are upset because, as applied, that hits them where they live: practical morality about the family and the very identity of the human person. What I meant to point out, though, is that Benedict, from his early days as Ratzinger to the very present day, has adopted a similar attitude toward natural theology (metaphysics, what have you) and natural law: don't deny them but maintain they're utterly useless in dialogue with the modern world. The obvious response is: how can truth be useless? So I think he's being disingenuous, since I know he's not stupid. But here's the thing: most people don't understand in their gut that natural theology/law is the very foundation of the Christian morality that they hold dear. Ratzinger is plenty smart enough to know that he needs a workaround if he's going to dismiss natural law from the discussion of moral issues but ... Pascal's wager hardly makes the grade.

All of which is to say that the Church's current troubles run very deep and the Nouvelle Theologie that took over at and after V2 is no solution. It's a part, a major part, of the problem. I say this while giving Ratzinger/Benedict full credit for good intentions, wishing to preserve Christian morality and the beauty of Christian worship. But he has also been part of the problem. His stand with tradition is, IMO, ambivalent. Sadly.

These are complicated issues, and this only scratches their surface.

William Tighe said...

With respect, "the vast bulk of the scientific establishment" no longer holds to anything like the (real historical) "Darwinian version" of slow and gradual changes (most of which such changes it has come to regard as either deleterious to the survival of the members of species affected by it or else as effecting but minor advantageous changes, but in no way leading to the emergence of new species" continuous over long periods of time. The whole field of "evolutionism" seems to be in some intellectual confusion, with perhaps the majority of evolutionists holding to some version of long periods of no significant "evolutionary changes" punctuated by sudden (and so far inexplicable) changes (often involving mass extinctions) and the emergence of new species. This is far from anything historically "Darwinian" and I suspect that "Darwin" and "Darwinianism" function in it more like a fetish or a talisman brandished to reenforce the dogmatic atheism of "evolutionary thinking" and, in particular, to exclude any consideration of "intelligent design."

Michael Leahy said...

Mr Wauck and Mr Tighe,

I thank you both for your very helpful replies.

Michael Leahy said...

In retrospect, and given society's increasing hostility to moral and biological reality, it seems all the more imperative to deploy the arguments of Natural Law. I understand the Pope Emeritus' opinion that this deployment renders dialogue with secularism impossible, but I disagree that we should compromise on that account. We have the Truth, let's stick with it. The secular doctrines rest on foundations of sand and will eventually be washed away. Increasingly, we see the scientific establishment desperately clinging to their authority as their world-view becomes increasingly questionable.

Rose Marie said...

For a recent look at Darwinism and neo-Darwinism read Tom Bethell's Darwin's House of Cards (The Discovery Institute, 2017). It is true that many people who would say they accept Darwinian evolution couldn't say which version or wrinkle they think is correct. But at the root of every form under whatever name is a thorough-going​ materialism that precludes any rationality or purpose. All of these materialist theories should be critiqued for what they claim to be: scientific. The proponents must produce evidence to support their claims and eliminate alternatives. Do not try to refute materialism by asserting a faith claim. Make it demonstrate itself.

I am not sure why the wide acceptance of a theory of irrational and nonpurposeful biological development should require the abandonment of rational moral arguments, but I agree proponents of the former do seem also to be practitioners of the latter. When I find myself in a discussion with such a specimen, I offer to punch him in the nose, as I really want to and it would make me feel better. I have yet to find one who could produce a cogent argument to dissuade me.

Tony V said...

Back in the late 1990s I remember a website--possibly sponsored by ACT-UP but if not by them than by a very similar group--that was soliciting for dirt on Ratzinger, especially any accusations of homosexual activity. I conclude they never received any, or they'd have been sure to use it! The website is long gone, and given the era I suspect it may not be retrievable (eg, via the Wayback Machine).

El Codo said...

Well said ,Father. I miss Papa Benedict like you and we can only hope that he is not suffering too much.

Nicolas Bellord said...

There is an interesting report that Pope Benedict has written an afterword for Cardinal Sarah's book "The Power of Silence" which will appear in future editions. Cardinal Sarah's book appeared in French in September 2016 and it contains a plea to Pope Francis to promote the reform of the reform of the liturgy with specific suggestions. Pope Francis's immediate response was to remove most of Cardinal Sarah's staff and replace them with progressives. For Pope Benedict to endorse Cardinal Sarah's book is surely a momentous event.

Ben Whitworth said...

Tony V has a good memory! I also recall the online appeal for evidence of Cardinal Ratzinger's presumed homosexuality. I think it was on the website of OutRage (Peter Tatchell's campaigning group), and must have been there by 1999, as I came across it while reading up about Mr Tatchell prior to attending one of his talks at King's College London, and my involvement with KCL was between 1995 and 1999. No other Catholic prelate, as far as I am aware, was the object of OutRage's scrutiny, though of course they did harass some Anglican bishops.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

After the USCCB established their sexual abuse guidelines that went into effect in the early 2000s, after that went into effect, mind you,, we Catholics had elected as the USCCB President Cardinal George and USCCB Vice President Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz. both of whom protected priests who were known predatory homosexual perverts and all that was known prior to their election.

Some reform movement, eh?

ABS was living in the Diocese of Portland, Maine when the St Sebastian's website was exposed by the Roman Catholic Faithful and ABS saw the website in all of his demonic perversity.


Page 21

And when ABS moved from Portland, Maine into the Palm Beach County Florida Diocese, he was here during the reign of two consecutive actively Homosexual Bishops and had preyed on the innocent adolescent males and both walked-away without so much as one day in the slammer while their victims and their families will suffer until the day they die.

It was so damn bad, and so damn perverse, that the last homosexual Bishop, O'Connell, actually faxed his priests during the evening and asked them to arrive at the cathedral in the morning for an announcement and then surprised them and the world by confessing his homosexual activity and then had the gall to thank his priests for publicly gathering to show their support for him. ABS is good friends with one of the priests who received the fax and he was even angrier than aghast at the blatant manipulation of his person and stellar reputation.

And then the Bishop ducked out of there and one of the gang of eight, Bishop O'Malley succeeded him and did a fantastic job of helping to heal the wounds of the faithful (although not much the actual victims of the abuse).

And, of course, it is well known that Pope Benedict XVI desired to rid the Church of this filth but we hear no more about the Homosexual network so firmly entrenched in Rome.

But Bishops always skate and their flocks are fleeced of their hard earned cash while the bishops responsible for this perversity are allowed to slither away and they end-up working in another field within the sheep gate.

Now, there are two conclusions to be drawn here:

1. If you learn ABS has moved into a particular Diocese, you can expect all hell to break loose even if he has aught to do with it

2. The Church has yet to seriously confront the filth and the confrontation must begin at the top and it must begin with the remove of the filth rather than to continue to protect and promote the filth.

Lepanto said...

"By their fruits.... " I think, Father, the group of concerned lay Catholics who exposed that foul website would not be happy at being described as a 'right wing group'. The South African auxiliary bishop who said that he always hoped that there would be lots of good looking boys at his confirmations, went on, I believe to become a 'Youth Worker'!

Winslow1191 said...

Homosexuals hate Pope Benedict because he once referred to homosexuality in the Roman priesthood as "filth!" He was right.

Joshua said...

Forgive me for saying it - but it was Pope Benedict XVI's resignation that has allowed Bergoglio to ascend to the Supreme Pontificate. If Benedict - whom I revere - hadn't resigned, he would still be gloriously reigning. Instead, what a mess!

geneticallycatholic said...

Michael Leahy says "I understand the Pope Emeritus' opinion that this deployment renders dialogue with secularism impossible, but I disagree that we should compromise on that account. We have the Truth, let's stick with it.'

I agree - did not Our Lord say that one should NOT light a lamp and keep it under a bushel? The Truth is the Light, and it needs to shine.

I must say that that even though for the most part, I love reading Benedict XVI's work (also when he wrote as Cardinal Ratzinger), I am disappointed in Benedict XVI.

This idea about Natural Law is the one of two disappointing items. The other was the concept of 'two popes, one contemplative, the other active. I understand from the blog of priest who lived in Rome at one time, that yes, this has been Benedict XVI's thinking for sometime.

I guess I take the Gospel too literally: "A light should not be kept under a bushel; You are Peter, and upon this rock I shall build my church, and the gates of hell shall not over come it. .."

Scary to know that the Papacy which is supposed to ensure that the revelation is protected, is actually not doing the job. ... To whom should we then turn?