Josef Ratzinger joined the priesthood in his native Bavaria in 1951. His career as an academic theologian included very little direct pastoral experience. In 1981 he was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF – previously known as the Holy Inquisition), then elected Pope in 2005. The role of the CDF is “to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world”, code for rule-setting, discipline and punishment. Ratzinger’s legacy, as the Vatican’s top doctrinal official for 24 years, then Pope for a further 8 years, is one of hard-line conservatism, regressive edicts, the denunciation or excommunication of liberal opponents and placing the reputation of the church above ethical conduct.
Ratzinger on sex abuse:
On 18 May 2001, Cardinal Ratzinger as head of the CDF wrote a confidential instruction to every Catholic bishop worldwide. The letter ordered that church investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret. It asserted the church’s right to hold inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The order was designed to prevent allegations from becoming public knowledge or being investigated by the police. Lawyers said “it is a clear obstruction of justice”. Directing that all sex abuse cases worldwide must be referred to his office, he knew the scale of the problem far better than anyone else, yet he blamed the scandals on an “intentional, manipulated…desire to discredit the church”.
Ratzinger on condoms and AIDS in Africa:
Ratzinger condemns condom use as a sin, even to stop the spread of HIV. He furthered the deception that condoms increase the rate of HIV infection because latex is porous to the virus: “If there is no human dimension, if Africans do not help, the problem cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics: on the contrary, they increase it.” Ratzinger insisted that the only solutions were abstinence and prayer.
Ratzinger on Women’s equality:
Ratzinger is against abortion, even in cases of rape. He is against women in the priesthood and supports the stance that women do not have the moral capacity for spiritual leadership.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) which represents 80% of the 57,000 American nuns, was reprimanded by Ratzinger’s Vatican for spending too much time on poverty and social justice issues, and not enough on condemning abortion and gay marriage. It is now required to make “the biblical view of family life and human sexuality” central to its agenda. The Vatican has prohibited public disagreement with all-male bishops “who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals”.
Ratzinger On Medical Advances
Ratzinger is opposed to life-saving embryonic stem cell research and is against IVF treatment because it interferes with God’s plan.
Ratzinger on Homosexuality
“A deviant trend”, “Without any social value”, “An intrinsic moral evil”, “Contrary to human love”. He justified homophobia with: “Sexual orientation is not equivalent to race or ethnicity…it is not unjust discrimination.”
Ratzinger on Political Interference:
During the US 2004 presidential election he instructed American bishops to read his declaration that any “catholic politician” who did not denounce gays and abortion could not receive communion.
Pope Francis was elected on 13 March 2013. All 118 cardinals eligible to vote were appointed by Ratzinger as Pope or during Ratzinger’s time as head of the CDF. During his destructive 32 years in power, Ratzinger stacked the Church with obedient right-wing cardinals and bishops. Under Pope Francis, the church is expected to continue its steady march backwards.
“The Holy See is an absolute monarchy run by squabbling old, male, celibate courtiers dominated by one nationality. It is a self-evidently absurd anachronism. Even loyal Catholics now believe it has little to do with faith or justice. Unless the next pope is a moral giant with a clear vision, the whole rotten edifice may just crumble into dust.” – Ruth Dudley Edwards, Irish Independent