Theologian Matthew Fox on Pope Benedict XVI’s complicated legacy

History will remember Pope John Paul II as the person who brought back the Inquisition and who handpicked Cardinal Ratzinger to be its chief Inquisitor as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, CDF, formerly known as the Office of the Sacred Inquisition.

The name was changed after the Second Vatican Council under Pope Paul VI.  Though the Council had called for freedom of expression and opinions among theologians, all that came to an abrupt halt under JPII and Benedict XVI who as head of CDF and then as Pope Benedict XVI, managed to silence, suppress or expel 107 theologians from countries all around the world, myself included.

I list the names of these persons in my book on Ratzinger, The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved. 

As I know from my experience with him, Cardinal Ratzinger was a bully of the first order.  His brother, who was a priest in Germany, admitted to physically abusing boys in his choir though denied he was part of the sexual abuse of the boys that also occurred in that same choir.

NBC News’ Joshua Johnson and Boston Globe former Spotlight editor Walter Robinson discuss Benedict’s admission of presence at a 1980 meeting on priestly pedophilia.

Yale psychology professor Young Shin Kim, an expert on bullying, says 85% of bullying cases happen for the benefit of an audience.  That is clearly a big part of the raison d’etre for Benedict’s actions against Leonardo Boff in Brazil, Eugene Drewermann in Germany and myself in North America.  This same psychologist observes that “bullying is often used to maintain the social pecking order” and there was plenty of that going on in JP II and Benedict’s Vatican.

Criminologist William Black tells us that Bullies play a well known game.  Their strategy is to intimidate…They must be confronted….Bullies are cowards…Giving in to bullies guarantees that they will act ever more abusively…An adult who repeatedly gives in to a bully is a coward. 

Matthew Fox’s archival records, packed up to go to the University of Colorado. Photo by Matthew Fox.

When it comes to Ratzinger and myself, a big synchronicity occurred for me last Friday.  On the exact day that Cardinal Ratzinger died, I finished a major task of sorting my papers and loaded them up in a U Haul for shipping to the University of Colorado in Boulder, where they will be digitized and made available for future generations to study.

A relative of mine who is a practicing Catholic pointed out the special synchronicity of that day because a chunk of my papers (two boxes of 36) holds correspondence twixt Rome, my provincial and myself.  Also, thousands of letters of support written to the Vatican or to Dominican headquarters by Catholics and people of other and no faith traditions supporting my work.

That that journey happened on the same day that Pope Benedict’s soul took its journey is, well, surprisingly synchronistic.

Source: Pope Benedict XVI’s Legacy, continued – Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox


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