Ratzinger, the New Pope Benedict XVI ; Ratzinger
(Matthew will be on
Chris Matthews tonight at 7:30 PM 4/19/05)
Why should we be surprised that the
current Catholic hierarchy, who elevated Cardinal Law the poster
boy for pedophile clergy, to a special place of power in
Rome, has just elected Cardinal Ratzinger as pope? The
“Yes Men” of Pope John Paul II’s church have chosen one of their
own who is guaranteed to play the Punitive Father.
Now we have the Inquisitor General
of the 21st century, who led the assault on theologians
and women, yoga (“dangerous” because it gets you too much in touch
with your body), homosexuals (who are “evil”), liberation
theology, ecumenism and interfaith, made “spiritual
head” of 1.1 billion people.
Cardinal Ratzinger is living proof
of the dictum coined by Catholic historian Lord Acton after the
First Vatican Council’s declaration of papal infallibility when he
said “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Ratzinger, far from supporting movements of justice, has committed
his career to silencing those who have and elevating the rich and
powerful, such as Escriva, fascist sympathizer and founder of opus
dei, to sainthood. It is a sad day and a decisive one for the
Roman Catholic Church.
Dr. Matthew Fox,
This article, is also by Matthew Fox
Opus Dei Sunday
(written in 2002 when Pope John Paul
II canonized Escriva)
Matthew Fox, PhD
Opus Dei is a “personal prelature”
approved by the Vatican and founded in 1928. The recent canonization
in October, 2002, of its founder, Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer,
rushed through in record time of twenty-four years, is the 800 pound
gorilla now sauntering through the palatial halls of the Vatican.
It is in the open. This Emperor is without clothes. The naked
agenda of this papacy is staring us all in the face and it is not
pretty. The media, the religious pundits, the priests, bishops,
provincials and cardinals, can no longer hide in denial mouthing
pious shibboleths of “wait for the next pope” or “this pope is
Was Hitler conservative? (The man
they just rushed into canonization is on record as praising
Hitler—for his “stopping communism.”) Was Mussolini conservative?
Or Franco? (The man they just canonized admired Franco so much—and
vice versa--that several of his opus dei members were on Franco’s
cabinet and Franco’s special attentions gave them access to higher
education and much financial support.) These people are
not conservatives! (Any
self-respecting conservative should rise up and shout about this.
Where is George Will when we need him?)
These people are ideologues.
This has been the agenda all along of Cardinal Ratzinger and others
running the German mafia in the Vatican these days: To dismantle
Vatican II and replace all
theological debate with ideology.
The expulsion of theologians—I think
of Leonardo Boff in Latin America and Eugene Drewermann in Germany
and myself in North America—this happened all the same year—was a
necessary step in this triumph
of ideology. Silencing and expulsions spread fear
instead of creative thinking among future theologians.
Theology has succumbed to ideology in
one of the great religious traditions of the West. The Roman
Catholic tradition has boasted many beautiful and powerful
theological and saintly souls through the centuries. This is a very
sad moment. And scary. Where are the Roman Catholic Universities
and college presidents and college faculty speaking out about this
latest scandal? (Actually, the current Vatican imposed oaths upon
Catholic college teachers not to speak their consciences.) Ideology
is staring out in all its ugliness for all to see. To see and weep.
The ideology of opus dei is an
ideology of men only.
Of an all-patriachal God. Of obedience first and last. Of the
punitive father. Thus it fits perfectly with the nature or right
wing fundamentalism which always boasts those elements.
Opus dei is an ideology of secrecy as
well. (Its most famous member in the United States is Robert
Hammens, the FBI agent who was recently convicted as the most
effective and traitorous spy in American history. When caught, his
opus dei spiritual director asked the government to simply reprimand
him.) The opus dei ideology includes celibates and non-celibates
who consider self-flagellation to be a bona fide spiritual practice
and who pronounce pruriently on the sexual lives of lay people (no
birth control or condoms) and for homosexuals no love-making, for
clergy no women or married people. Covering up transgressions in an
all male clerical fraternity is allowed so long as they do not ‘rock
the boat’ by telling the truth. So long as one is obedient, all is
forgiven (even pedophilia). In fact, if you are a cardinal who
ushered pedophile priests from parish to parish and diocese to
diocese you might be rewarded as Cardinal Law was recently with a
choice plum of an historic church in Rome itself.
Opus dei is deeply embedded in the
banking circles of Europe (they just bought a $42 million building
in New York City) and the media in the United States and bishops and
cardinals drawn from the organization are fast replacing hierarchy
who had a justice orientation in Latin America. The Cardinal of
Peru is Opus Dei and he strongly supported the fascist regime
there. It has been called a “cult” and a “sect” by persons who have
tried to escape from it.
I know one opus dei member in Latin
America who forbade his son to ever be at home alone with his mother
or sister, forcing him to live on the streets from the age of eight
until 8 at night when his father came home from work (in the police
force). He also demanded that the family pray the family rosary
kneeling on bottle caps so that they would bleed (especially the
It is clear from this rush to
canonization of a fascist that the cover up of pedophile priests is
only the tip of the iceberg of this, the most corrupt and
ideologically driven papacy since the Borgias. Its true colors were
revealed on Opus Dei Sunday, October 6, 2002. They are not pretty.
Angels were not rejoicing when fascists gathered in St. Peter’s
square. Canonizing an admirer of Hitler is hardly a sign of
holiness in the church. Escriva said: “Hitler against the Jews,
Hitler against the Slavonics, this means Hitler against communism.”
Every serious believer must look elsewhere for holiness than to the
institutional church. Look inside oneself. Look inside creation.
Look inside all teachings from all wisdom traditions. But it is
hard to imagine looking inside the church hierarchy as it is now
The Catholic Church as we know it is
dead. It is rotten from the inside. It is poisoned by evil forces
of fascist ideologies who have taken it over and who teach that “the
fuhrer is always right,” i.e. infallible and who have, with the
media’s cheerleading, developed a personality cult around the papal
office. I do not believe there is any room left in the Roman
Catholic Church for thinking people or people with a conscience of
justice to remain there without standing up, speaking out or just
plain leaving. The ship of Peter is rotten to the core. New
versions of church await us.
The author is author of twenty-five
books and is an Episcopal priest and professor of spirituality at
Wisdom University (formerly University of Creation Spirituality)
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