22 Questions for Cardinal Ratzinger and the
Silver Lining in the Election of this first Grand Inquisitor as Pope
By Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox
The other night I was all hooked up to be on "Hardball with Chris Matthews" to be interviewed about the new pope. I was listening as he prattled on with some Catholic lawyer about altar boys and Latin in church when they suddenly cut the line and said they did not have time for me (I had been promised "at least 30 minutes" and there were 60 minutes left on the show).
I said: "This is a political act." The TV man hooking me up said it was the "first time in 8 years of working in television" that he had seen anything like that happen.
I think Chris' Matthews' program should be renamed "Softball." When it comes to religion the American media is soft, soft, soft.
Thus I have taken it upon myself to feed journalists with some real questions about this man and his record and his intentions. Twenty two questions follow:
1. You come from Bavaria, that part of Germany that most admired Hitler and first voted for him. Did you ever denounce Hitler or fascism? If so, when? If not, why not?
2. If you denounced Hitler why do you support today the Spanish priest Escriva who admired Hitler publicly? And why did you rush Escriva, founder of the Opus Dei movement, into canonization thus leaving the impression that fascism is a path to holiness?
3. If you denounced Hitler then why do you carry on in his ways such as
1) bookburning and denouncing of thinkers and theologians? 2) whipping up hostility toward homosexuals as he did? 3) excluding women of all decision-making and leadership? 4) create scapegoats including people of religions other than Catholic, theologians, women and gay people?
4. Do you want to put gays in concentration camps like Hitler did? (In the second of two documents you wrote and the past pope signed denouncing homosexuals you did not cite even ONE scientific study of homosexuality but cited your catchechism five times. Is this anti-intellectual attitude not another Galileo case in the making?)
5. Do you know the difference between ideology and theology? Why have you destroyed the latter by condemning theologians while you create ideological churchmen by your loyalty oaths? Is this not the explanation for the scandalous pedophile crisis in the church--that you have so dumbed down the hierarchy since the only criterion for their "elevations" is loyalty, that they had neither the intelligence nor the integrity to stop pedophile priests? Why was Cardinal Law, the poster boy for hierarchal pedophile support, "elevated" to a plum parish assignment in Rome?
6. According to a serious study done on the death of Pope John Paul I, cardinals were part of the plot that killed him. Do you know which cardinals were involved in his murder and have they ever been brought to justice?
7. How much was the CIA involved in the rushed election of John Paul II?
(A CIA agent told me he had been "their man in Poland" for many years.)
8. You once said you wanted a "smaller church." Might you tell us why?
Does it have anything to do with absolute control?
9. Do you agree with Lord Acton that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?" What are you--the champion of papal infallibility (as in "the fuhrer is always right")--doing to prevent that from happening in your organization?
10. How do you sleep at night knowing that your theology of forbidding condoms in a time of AIDS has contributed to the death of millions in the African continent and beyond?
11. How do you sleep at night knowing that your theology of no birth control is contributing to the destruction of 25,000 other species annually as well as to the degradation of life among human beings?
12. Did Jesus ever say anything at all about condoms or birth control or homosexuality or the ordination of women? (In fact, today's scholarship shows how many women were in position of leadership in the early
church.) Then why are you so sure of your absolutist position?
13. You complain about "the dictatorship of relativism." Isn't there also--and more easily--a dictatorship of absolutism? Isn't that what you have been involved in for twenty-five years by aggregating ALL decision making, all theological teaching, all bishop-making back to Rome in spite of Vatican II's explicit teaching to spread it to bishop's conferences and to lay gatherings in parishes?
14. Why do issues of social and economic injustice play so little a role in your definition of morality which seems to be 98% about sex? (Hint:
15. Are you aware that your destruction (with the help of the CIA) of liberation theology and base communities in Latin America has stripped Catholicism so bare that Pentecostals are taking over the continent?
16. Why did you canonize the Escriva who favored Franco and fascism and not canonize the holy martyr Oscar Romero who favored the poor against the military in El Salvador?
17. Jesus was on the side of the anawim (those without a voice). When have you or your dictates ever been on the side of the anawim?
18. Are you a Christian? (A canon lawyer who spent years in Rome told me that to understand you I had to first realize that you are not a Christian.) Can you prove it to us please.
19. Are you the first Grand Inquisitor to be elected pope? What does that tell us about the state of the Roman Catholic Church at this time in history? How does that feel to be treading such fresh ground?
20. A Native American woman who is also a Roman Catholic went to Rome a few years ago for the beatification of Blessed Tekekwitha. It was her first visit to the Vatican and she was looking forward to it. However, she came back shaking her head saying, "there are evil spirits in that place." Was she correct? Have evil spirits taken over the Vatican at this time in history?
21. Why do you denounce Buddhists as "atheists" and "autoerotocists?"
Why do you condemn Hindus? Protestant churches? Pagans? Goddess worshippers? Native American believers? Feminists? The practice of Yoga? (You write that it gets you "too much in touch with your body").
Is your church--mother of Inquisitions and Crusades and anti-Semitism--without sin and the holder of all spiritual wisdom? Why did your church never excommunicate Hitler?
22. Why do you forbid Catholics to talk about God as Mother? God as Child? Original Blessing instead of Original Sin (which is not in the Bible)? God as female as well as male?
Now the good news. The silver lining in the election of this, the first Grand Inquisitor as Pope, is this: Now people of conscience the world over have a clear choice between Religion and Spirituality; Fundamentalism and Wisdom; A Punitive Father God and the Mother-Father Creator of Justice and Compassion; Fascism and Control vs. Letting the Spirit Work; between a preferential option for the rich and powerful (cf. Opus Dei) and a preferential option for the poor (as in liberation theology).
Now all people--and Catholics in particular--are called to find their consciences and take a stand about the Punitive Father God of Fundamentalism and the Divine Wisdom of Justice and Compassion and against idolatry including religious idolatry and papalolatry and the television cult of personality, and between lies and truth.
This is already happening. I received an e mail this morning from a life-long Catholic who says she is now leaving the Ratzinger Church.
Ratzinger and his German entourage have been running the Vatican for the last twenty-five years while Pope John Paul II traveled about the world.
From that point of view, nothing has changed.
Only that their head man is now the man out front. ALL bishops and
cardinals have been appointed through Ratzinger already. This is how
he got so many votes so swiftly in the conclave. It is his church.
It is a schismatic church. They are out of touch with the spirit and
letter of Vatican II as well as the person and teachings of Jesus.
A New Reformation can happen swiftly. It is already underway. The Internet can help feed it. The myths that have kept the Roman Catholic Church afloat for 1800 years have been washed away. (The historical Jesus never said: "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church." That came later.) Maybe the new version of Christianity need not be Peter based (Roman Catholicism) or Paul based (the Protestant
option) but Mary Magdalene based. Any takers?