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11.05.2004    |    Voice of the Vatican
Ahh, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the traditionalist’s traditionalist. There was a not-very fair and balanced piece on Cardinal Ratizinger in today’s Washington Post. For starters, the article ensures that we know that Ratzinger is head inquisitor:
Ratzinger has headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1981, three years after John Paul II became pope. The congregation is the historical successor to the Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition, one of the oldest departments in the Vatican. Sometimes, it is known as the Holy Office. John Paul II has said its functions are “to promote and safeguard the doctrine of the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world.”
Get out my hot pokers and fingernail pullers, got us some infidels that need chastisin’ here. And note carefully that “safeguard the doctrine of the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world.” This is what likely sticks in the craw of the liberal secular press and their friends out there.

The man’s sins are legion for those on the left. He’s worked against Marxism in the guise of “liberation theology", he warns against rampant feminism:
The letter [from Ratzinger] criticized forms of feminism that made women “adversaries” of men. He wrote that the blurring of sexual identity had “made homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent.”
He’s strongly opposed to the gay agenda, and minces (sorry ’bout that) no words about it, calling homosexuality an “intrinsic moral evil.” Worse yet, he’s convinced that not all religions have equal worth. Shocking, isn’t it? A Christian who believes that Jesus is the Way, and the only way, to the Father.

Ratzinger then goes on to commit the cardinal sin (not sorry ’bout that one) of warning the faithful that if they are in a state of grave sin (I don’t need the scare quotes that the Post uses) they are not in full communion with the Roman Church. The cardinal went so far as to actually stand up for this viewpoint:
… a letter he sent in August to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington advising clergy that they must deny Communion to supporters of abortion rights who, he said, persist in cooperating in what he termed a “grave sin.” The note also provided advice on how Catholic voters should proceed when faced with a choice that included a candidate who supported abortion rights. No names were mentioned, but several American bishops had spoken out against Sen. John F. Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, for his views on abortion.
Ouch. Here’s a foreign devil, meddling in our internal politics. How dare he?

Well, it is quaint to see a high churchman insist that its doctrine be upheld, especially in matters as grave as the lives of unborn children. You may not believe that the unborn have rights, even the right to life, but that happens to be the Catholic Church’s hard position. I agree with that position, as a matter of my Baptist faith, but I can certainly understand how some Protestants might disagree.

What I don’t understand, and this gets back to why the Catholic Church needs a Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and an enforcer like Joseph Ratzinger to stand in the gap: far too many Catholics are like John Kerry. They call themselves Catholic but then choose to ignore basic teachings of their Church. And they get rather angry when their church calls them on it.

As a final note on this, the problem isn’t Cardinal Ratzinger, as much as church liberals would like to have us believe. It certainly isn’t for me to criticize Catholic doctrine or those members of that Church who are unfaithful – until those who are unfaithful drag it into the public square and blame righteous men like Joseph Ratzinger for trying to keep them on the straight and narrow.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.