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On Ratzinger, the New Pope Benedict XVI

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On Ratzinger, the New Pope Benedict XVI ; Ratzinger

by Matthew Fox


(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, Wisdom University Author Original Blessing www.wisdomuniversity.org

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 conservative. "

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 children).

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 constituted.

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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