From the AJC:
Hours later, when I heard the news that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had been chosen, my heart sank. Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a powerful arm of the Vatican, staunch defender of Roman rule. Of all the potential candidates to succeed John Paul II, he was among those most adamantly opposed to the reforms that I and other progressive Catholics believe are so badly needed if the church is to be true to its mission.
The image I had as the news sank in was of an iron drawbridge going up and clanging shut. My church was being hijacked — the church of my childhood; the church where I had faithfully consecrated all the milestones in my life; the church to which my ancestors, including a Sacred Heart nun, a Jesuit priest and a cardinal, had given their lives — and I was being faced with a decision I had been putting off for years. I thought of Magdalene at the empty tomb. "They have taken my Lord."
How melodramatic and silly this is. Amazing how the eevvvilllll and all powerful arm of Cardinal Ratzinger never managed to make it down to this dissenter. But this reaction is unfortunately common. I had gone to a later Mass last Sunday to a Church that I will never go to again. The priest described the news of when he heard the election of Josef Ratzinger is that he immediately shut off his car radio. He said he wished for a liberal pope and then went on about the common nonsense about divorce and remarriage, homosexuality and such and how the Church needed to be a family that embraces all. I guess a rebuke like "go and sin no more" falls on deaf ears to this priest. He then described what I remember as a fairly good NY Times article about Josef Ratzinger’s experience as a child with Nazi rallies and then as a university professor with more student rallies and how these two groups were basically the same. The priest then described how this had hardened him and made him a hardliner to anybody would would dare to question. He then talked about accepting the new Pope because "it is" and that like a back ache or sore tooth we must learn to accept what is. If there had been another Mass I could have gone to we would have walked out at this point.
But there were grave deficiencies in his papacy as well, especially as he aged. He had blind spots, and he surrounded himself with people who would not challenge his views. In spite of his love for Mary, he refused to ordain women. In opposition to the advice of many of his bishops and the majority of U.S. Catholics, he condemned artificial contraception, inflicting untold burdens on people, contributing to the spread of AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. He refused to lift the ban on priestly celibacy (which has no basis in Scripture), thus contributing to a critical priest shortage and threatening the sacramental life of the church. He made Catholic theologians at Catholic universities sign orthodoxy statements. Pedophilia festered too long before it came to light. The list goes on.
The article ends with:
Lalor Cadley is a spiritual director, adult educator and freelance writer with an office in Decatur.
Spiritual director? Brings to mind the phrase physician heal thyself. She is a spiritual directory trained at the Centacle in Houston, Tx which is your typical retreat (from Catholicism) center. Labyrinths, Enneagram, Yoga, Pagan earth worship, and contemplative prayer as taught by the Carmelite saints. Well actually I was kidding about the "contemplative prayer as taught by the Carmelite saints", but you probably guessed that.
This retreat though cracked me up.
April 26, 2005 — Hunger of the People of God
Monika Hellwig, LL.B., Ph.D.
Minimum offering $15.00 includes lunch
Well it is a good thing that "Hunger of the People of God" includes lunch.