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.
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.
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.
See Matthew Fox, The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved, pp. 164-169, 238-241.
Also see Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, April 2 , 1995” Public Domain photo by Levan Ramishvili on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you recognize a relationship between bullying and maintaining a pecking order? Between intimidation and being cowardly? Have you learned to stand up to bullies, is it part of your spiritual path?
The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved
The Pope’s War offers a provocative look at three decades of corruption in the Catholic Church, focusing on Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. The final section in the book focuses on birthing a truly catholic christianity.
“This book should be read by everybody, not only for its ferocious courage, but also for its vision for what needs to be saved from the destructive forces that threaten authentic Christianity.” ~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope.
“In the gripping The Pope’s War, Matthew Fox takes an unwavering look at the layers of corruption in the Catholic Church, holding moral truth against power.” — Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II
Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)
Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self
10 thoughts on “Pope Benedict XVI’s Legacy, continued”
Matthew, You tell us today that “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, 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 John Paul II and Benedict XVI who managed to silence, suppress or expel 107 theologians from countries all around the world, myself included.” You listed the names of these persons in your book on Ratzinger titled: The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved. And you know from experience that, Cardinal Ratzinger was a bully of the first order. And you say, “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.” And you also speak of, 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–and I was one of those. You ask: “Have you learned to stand up to bullies, is it part of your spiritual path?” Yes, and I am now a minister without any formal home…
Anne Barring in her book “The Dream of the Cosmos, A Quest for the Soul”, writes extensively about humanities phase of evolution from one of lunar/feminine to solar/masculine, in which a radical dissociation within our psyche between the growing strength and exaltation of the individuality of one’s conscious ego and it’s fear of the power of the intuitive, instinctual, reflective, passionate, natural and sexual aspects of our soul began to unfold. Through the hegemony of suspicion, oppression, suppression and utter mutilation of the natural sacred order of our true soul sense of self… inparticular the Catholic Church, throughout its long history has through its own egoic patriarchal, anthoprocentric and reptilian thinking… ensured its own means of survival, remaining as it is to this day. Many institutions continue to perpetuate the manifestion of this in our world.
However, also throughout the evolution of humanity, there has been courageous souls, whom embody the Holy Spirit of the true heart, mind and soul of God/Goddess, those whom were labelled as heretics, horrendously tortured, burned at the stake, accussed, condemned and crucified… and yet the powerful truth, the radiant light and the beauty, goodness and wisdom ways of the nature and sacredness of the order of the Holy Spirit of Soul, of the God/Godess incarnate within, will not be silenced, for it continues to emerge… creatively, imaginatively and transformatively in every generation.
Jeanette, Today you write: “the Catholic Church, throughout its long history has through its own egoic patriarchal, anthropocentric and reptilian thinking… ensured its own means of survival, remaining as it is to this day.” The Catholic Church has survived the centuries because of its structure and rigidity. It survived the early persecutions of the Romans in the arena and more. Their structure of priests and bishops were able to keep the people together during the most challenging times. And because of the diverse views of who Christ was (Gnostics, Ebionites, Ophites, Marcionites, Docetists and other random Christian groups with different messages and theologies) the early Church was very specific with their doctrines. Unfortunately what helped them survive in the times of persecution of the first three centuries, has now become a tremendous weight around their neck. They had Vatican II in the early 1960s which brought a lot of change in theory, but unfortunately it has not been fully lived out as Matthew has said.
Thank you for sharing this
All I can say is Wow. How lucky for so many to be able to have access to your wonderful work and dedication Matt?
AMEN, Meg !!!
Remember well traveling to NYC from PA to hear your last sermon when you were silenced. Thank you for offering your thoughts about Ratzinger’s death and legacy. Glad you got your paperwork done and your writings will be around for future generations. For more synchonicity I am pleased to say that our new Governor here in PA has been courageously taking on the bullies as Attorney General here in PA including the Catholic Church and abusive priests. When I was fighting the Baken Crude “bomb” trains traveling by our nuclear power plant outside of Philadelphia as County Commissioner Josh was the only one to look me in the eye and listen! Like you he won’t be intimidated. He is a wonderful example of someone who will take on the bullies from a place deep spiritual commitment and serve the people in truth. He will be inaugurated Gov. of the Keystone State Pennsyvania,our cradle of democracy, 11 days after Epiphany …Jan. 6th.
Unfortunately, in human history there has been a lot of overwhelming suffering caused by the evils of egocentricity and patriarchy up to our present day in our personal and societal lives and values. This is because egocentricity and patriarchy has had the toxic and unbalanced values of being ‘man’/individualistic centered and dualistic thinking, rather than being Divine centered and Living in Loving Diverse Oneness within our Loving Source~Creator~Sustainer Present among us as exemplified also by our human spiritual history of mystics, saints, many indigenous peoples, and many common people with genuine spiritual faith and compassionate lives with others… Our human and eternal souls are still evolving within the Divine Love~Wisdom~Peace~Justice~Mercy~Healing~Transformation~Oneness of our co-Creator~Source~Sustainer… Eternally Present within and among us in our sacred multidimensional/multiverse Cosmos, especially our Sacred Mother Earth….
If I believed in hell as a place in the hereafter, I would imagine that, while Matthew’s precious documents were going off to a good place to be preserved and shared with future generations as well as current searchers, Ratzinger would be going to a hot and unpleasant place. That’s just my human, lizard brain looking for vengeance on this man who damaged so many individuals and the RC church itself.
Yes, bullies are cowards, and adults who fail to recognize and stand up to them are also cowards. If I were not so old and were more creative, I would write a book, “Profiles in Cowardice”, featuring “leaders” in politics and religion. The ex-president and Ratzinger would be prominent. But then, so many could be named that volumes would be necessary. It is good to remember that bullying is a prime method of control, but also that many, if not most, bullies were themselves bullied. It never ends. So many of the mass shootings, especially in schools, seem to have been at least partially the result of the shooter being bullied. Love is the only answer. I see love as impelling Matthew to tell the truth, and I am most grateful for his courage.
How bizarre that religions that supposedly honor their mystical traditions have created towering religious hierarchies, testosterone-fueled male dominance, and tolerance of abuse toward “outsiders,” women and children. Egoic self-adoration and declarations of infallibility are projected outward to a cosmic scale, with men as beneficiaries, proclaiming themselves as guardians of proper order of the universe, then abusing those less powerful than them in their sanctified men’s club. Reports of rapes and child molestations can be conveniently “disappeared” so that their glorious work of dominance can continue, uninterrupted by “trifling” matters of mutilations of bodies, especially women’s and children’s — those deemed insignificant to their glorious crusade. Voices of protest can be easily crushed because the ruling elite give themselves, all divinely-appointed males, holy permission to silence anyone heretically foolish enough to defy them.
They know God is on their side because they said so.