The following comes from a February post written by Elizabeth Drescher who teaches religion and pastoral ministries at Santa Clara University.
In the wake of Benedict’s sudden announcement of his early retirement, Catholic luminaries from Cardinal Timothy Dolan to James Martin, SJ have already begun, as is the custom when a papal career ends, to lionize the leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics.
But on the margins of the Catholic Church, the legacy Benedict began shaping in 1980 as Cardinal Ratzinger, when he was named as Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faithful (the office formerly known as the Inquisition), and which he solidified during a mere eight years as Bishop of Rome is seen as something far more complex and troubling.
UC Riverside professor Jennifer Scheper Hughes, who has studied Benedict’s reaction to liberation theology in Latin America both before and during his papacy, suggests that he leaves a painful legacy for Roman Catholics in the region. Says Hughes,
“Both as Cardinal Ratzinger and as Pope, Benedict devoted himself to a process of undermining, silencing, and marginalizing the theologians, priests, and religious who committed themselves to the liberation of the poor. His legacy in Latin America is precisely this: the systematic dismantling of the infrastructure of liberation theology. Some in Latin America may hope that this period of antagonism has now come to a close. Others are, by now, far more cynical.”
DignityUSA, the advocacy group for LGBT Catholics, has called on supporters “for a period of prayer and reflection as we prepare for the conclave” to elect a new pope who may put an “end to statements that inflict harm on already marginalized people, depict us as less than fully human, and lend credence to those seeking to justify discrimination.”
“It’s hard to identify a figure who has been more oppressive to LGBT people in the religious world than Pope Benedict,” says DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke.
From the labeling of homosexuality as “objectively disordered” and “intrinsically evil” in magisterial documents he developed as a cardinal, to condemnations of transgendered people as mentally ill, to more recent attacks on marriage equality as a deterrent to world peace, says Duddy-Burke, the current pope has actively worked to undermine the full equality of LGBT people and denigrated their human dignity. Duddy-Burke notes that the announcement of Benedict’s retirement on the eve of the Christian Lenten season provides an opportunity for deep reflection on the harm such words and actions do within and beyond the Church. She hopes such reflection will fuel action among the faithful in the pews.
“Catholics have proven that they take belief in the dignity of all human persons and Catholic social justice teaching seriously,” she says. In this light, though DignityUSA has not yet announced any formal action, Duddy-Burke sees the days ahead as “an opportunity for Catholics to get in contact with the cardinals who are going to be part of the conclave and talk to them about our dreams for the Church and what we need in a new leader.”
Joelle Casteix, Western Region Director for SNAP, which advocates on behalf of some 20,000 survivors and allies of those abused by Roman Catholic priests, likewise sees the action of laypeople as critical to any meaningful change in the Roman Catholic Church. “The only way that we can have influence,” she says, “is if Catholics sitting in the pews demand change. It’s time for the Catholic laity stand up and demand that the Church truly embody the teachings of Jesus Christ in protecting children.” She sees that as unlikely to happen between now and when the College of Cardinals meets in March to elect a new pope, especially in a Church that “evolves in geological time.”
Pope Benedict, Casteix says, “offered empty promises and apologies” about the abuse scandal “as a PR move” while at the same time “portraying victims as enemies of the Church.” This, she says, has continued to “ensure the marginalization of abuse victims within the Church” even as civil authorities have moved more decisively to extract a measure of justice from abusive priests and the Church leaders who often enabled them to continue as abusers and actively covered up the Church’s protection of them.
The list is long of those within the Roman Church who have been aggrieved by what many have seen as Pope Benedict’s actions to roll back the reforms of Vatican II. Representatives of the Leadership Council of Women Religious (LCWR) declined to comment for publication on Benedict’s impact on communities of Catholic women religious who faced intense scrutiny—some would say persecution—during Benedict’s papacy, offering only a short statement of gratitude on the LCWR website “for his many years of tireless service to the Catholic Church and for the contributions he has made as a theologian, as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and as pope.”
Still, between the smackdown on nuns and the excommunication and silencing of priests supporting the ordination of women and opposing the Church’s position on birth control, it would be hard not to conclude that Benedict’s papacy has been difficult for women throughout the Church. LGBT advocate Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL, herself no stranger to Vatican disciplinary silencing, argues that “women in the Church have as difficult a time as lesbian and gay individuals. Both are treated as second-class citizens.” She notes that the rebuke of LCWR had much to do with the solidarity many women religious, and women in general, have felt with LGBT people who have been marginalized within the Church and are often alienated from it.
Gramick adds that the “devastating” impact of Benedict’s papacy goes well beyond LGBT persons, women, or other marginalized groups within the Catholic Church itself. “The Catholic Church effects not only its members, but also the wider community in its influence on opinions,” she says. Like others, Gramick draws hope from the actions of compassionate laypeople who support equality but also from “leaders in the Church who are very caring and who would like to be more forthright in expressing that care toward both LGBT individuals and women who want to see the Church change.”
Outside the Catholic Church, Benedict managed to provoke Muslims, Jews, and Anglicans variously in the course of his papacy, sharply distinguishing “God’s Rottweiler,” as he was famously nicknamed, from his far more genial, if no less conservative predecessor, John Paul II….
Great article. Makes me love Benedict XVI all the more!!!!
Pope Benedict XVI is one f the greatest of popes i have seen during my adult life. If Jesus wanted having women to become priests, He would had given the Key to the Kingdom to His Mother Mary ~ no one was more worthy of it more than She. He came to fulfill the OLD, not to Destroy it.
The Church is made for us sinners to repent and be made holy so that we may gain a holy and peaceful death. it is not built to make us sinners to accept sinful life style as HOLY! it is a form of cross to carry so to follow Jesus. “Carry your cross and follow me.” We all have a cross, each according his/her needs for that soul to reach its perfection so to enter the kingdom God. We must not refuse our cross by suing it as our tool for excuse then blame the Church for UNCARING! The only thing that the Church need to care is to make saint of each of us by our love for Christ that we carry our own cross for our need of perfection to e worthy of His saving grace for heaven.
I could’nt agree more.
Could not agree more! By reminding us of all his “faults” this list of their “grievances” against the Holy Father highlights his efforts to remind us all of his own love of God and for others. Those who criticize him for perceived wrongs are obstinately clinging to apparent errors which they must purge personally. I will miss Benedict XVI and pray that his successor continues the work to repair the damage done to the Church by those groups who believe the Church to be something it is not. The Church is Spirit, not as the world would be, but as God established it, through Our Lord Jesus Christ. We would all do well to remember that and pray for our cardinals in the Conclave to heed the Holy Spirit.
Absolutely, we must conform to the Church teachings, not the other way around. The LGBT group wants everyone to accept their sinful practices and tell them it’s okay and to continue your sexual deviations as being in conformity with the Church. Well, it is not ok, it is a mortal sin, always has been and always will be a mortal sin. This woman by the name of Gramick, who claims to be a Nun,had better do some heavy repenting for tolerating that sinful abomination that is the homosexual life style. God help us all, we are all sinners, but I don’t want anyone to accept my sinful ways that offend my God and my Savior What did God do to Sodom and Gomorrah. It is wrong and wrong can never be right and it will never be right.
Thank you Pope Benedict XVI.
With Laurette, I say it is clear that you know the quality of the man by the enemies he makes.
The Church is not a democracy: Catholic doctrine is not determined by a vote of the people. Church law comes from the Bible and the Magisterium and does not change when certain lifestyles become popular. If a person or a group of people don’t agree with the Church, they are free to leave, to join another chruch or start their own church and create their own doctrine.
AMEN to that! Well said! The purpose of the Church is to lead us back to God in Heaven. God makes the rules –we don’t put basic teachings up for a vote..
RUBBISH. If anything, he is characterized by extreme gentleness, seeming to the uninitiated to verge on a fault. No organization can retain its identity and integrity if it is unable to purify and synthesize its essence by eschewing and excluding what it is not. These people are perfectly free to believe and practice whatever they want, indeed the world rewards and lionizes them for it. Our offense is not in oppressing them, it is in simply being what we are, a stumbling block, a sign of contradiction that points out to them the ugly, naked truth that what they do is evil, in contradiction to the original good state in which God created them. Our mere existence will continue to oppress them until they finally work themselves up into such a fury that they succeed in liquidating us.
Well said Rod. I fully agree with what you have said.The truth is the truth, no matter what!
They cannot liquidate us, Rod. They are liquidating themselves though.
Benedict XVI is not appreciated by American Lesbians, it seems.
Benedict XVI was a great Pope. I would prefer a non-American Pope given the support in this country for women priests and sexual perversions.
I would be very happy with a Pope that has offered the Extraordinary and the Ordinary form of our Latin Mass. This seems to me the best way of standing athwart of the corrupting challenge of the modernity introduced by Vatican Council II. Only through the Diocesan Extraordinary Mass can people like me do their duty to preserve the Church for those generations that will follow us.
Dear Gratias, As a Catholic American lesbian, I can only say I DO appreciate Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. I pray most that he will have a wonderful retirement continuing to share with us the gifts that God has bestowed on him.
The legacy of Benedict the Good must be defended vigorously. Mahonyites will try to undermine our liturgy. Obama had unfortunately great success by simply blaming his predecessor. We should not fall again for this elementary Marxist trick. If we lose in this Conclave we must resist the Dialectic Materialism of Marx and Engels (presently called Latin-American Liberation Theology) at every opportunity. Upholding the wise teachings of Benedict XVI is the place to start the resistance in case it were needed.
What is wrong with the Church standing with the native peoples and the poor in Latin America? Why should the Catholic Church just be the Church of the rich and powerful in these countries? So many good priests and bishops were silenced while Father Maciel Delgado and his cult were allowed to cater to the wealthy. The higher ups in the Church knew about Father Maciel Delgado’s sins but they protected him because he talked the talk and brought in lot of money. In his cult it was considered a sin to say anything against their founder. The Church in Latin America needs to stand behind the poor and native peoples so they don’t lose them to evangelist protestants and cults that want nothing more than to take people away from the Catholic Church.
I miss my German shepherd. I love Benedict XlV. If it pleases God to give him rest please bring someone as strong, good and Holy as Papa Bene! Always speaking truth in love, and truth to power, to steer the barque of Peter as Don Bosco’s vision foresaw. Viva Cristo Rey, viva il papa
Benedict was a solid theologian and philosopher but was in way over his head as Pope. The need to move boldly with swift and firm action to weed out abusive priests, displine bishops and cardinals who enabled them, strike a compassionate and healing role to the laity, and hold his Cardinals personally responsible for any and all lapses were all public approaches for which he was not suited. Cultural change within the instutional heirachy of the Church is long overdue, and we must all pray that God will send the Holy Spirit to the new Pope that he will have the courage to move boldly and decisively to stem the tide of the Church’s gradual decline. He can start by demoting Cardinal Mahoney.
JMJ, why do you consistently voice the view that human intellect should be suppressed, that evil should be hidden, that the members of the Church should make themselves in the mold of a jellyfish?
Need a holy pope who could care less about the Vatican bureaucracy and simply disengage himself from its tentacles. He might have to relocate in order to be protected from assassins though.
Not convinced that Pope Emeritus BenedictXVI was “way in over his head”: More pedo networks were exposed. He has spelled out the “filth” in the Church hierarchy. He has shown that no matter how a man can try to get rid of Vatican corruption, it only gets worse. He threw up his arms as if to say to the Church and the world, “What is the point of having a pope, since nobody listens”? Read the Prophet Jeremiah. God will not be mocked.
If you can believe all the propaganda coming from these enemies of the church,BXVI wasn’t too bad a pope.
I want a pope that is orthodox,holy, and speaks the truth,the whole truth,
and nothing but yhr truth and then acts on that truth.
Who vets a future pope? I hope they do a better job than those who should have vetted the present potus.
Today-a progressive/communist potus.
Tomorrow:a progtrssive/communist pope?????
Pope Benedict is very Catholic at a time when so many clergy and secular theologians want the Pope to be a follower of Karl Marx rather than Jesus Christ.
Personally, I wanted to see Pope Benedict defrock Cardinal Mahony—and any others with similar records of shame.
“Liberation theologians, LGBT, SNAP, LCWR pile on”. What a great tribute to our Holy Father! With enemies like those, he must be doing something right! Reading the tea leaves and judging from his background, I surmise this same bunch of “modern Catholics” will pile on our new Pope Francis I with equal ferocity! The gates of hell shall not prevail!
May the gifts of the Holy Spirit come down upon us all. Humility, wisdom and obedience being the most in need.
Truly, the Truth hurts!
Quoting a conga line of homosexualists and abortionists on Pope Benedict XVI is news?
It’s news to be analyzed. Target practice. Study session for how to recognize and defeat false arguments. And of course grain for the grist mill.
The fake Catholics listed above as well as the secular media will no doubt continue to cast Benedict XVI’s papacy as a “failure”. Of course, we forget the the crucifixion was a failure, as were the various persecutions, the thousands of martyrs throughout history and the world’s ongoing rejection of Jesus’ radical challenge of renunciation of the world, the flesh and the Devil. What these people are REALLY angry about is the one thing that they cannot get the Catholic Church to do: Conform. There are thousands of denominations that will tell you whatever you want to hear. Only one church is the True Church founded by Jesus Christ and only one Church refuses to conform itself to the endless changes that confront each generation: The Catholic Church. These “Catholics” have failed to undermine their Church from within. That’s what the REAL lament is about.
At Akita, a fully approved apparition of Our Most Blessed Mother, She gave us our marching orders when She said “only those who remain faithful to Tradition will survive”!
If a future elected Pope goes against Sacred Tradition, he is not to be obeyed in those matters. We not only have Our Blessed Mother’s words on that, but St. Paul’s, St. Augustine’s, St. Thomas Aquinas’s, and many others.
That is exactly why Pope’s John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI never even tried to make opposition to the death penalty a matter of Dogma.
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Some comments posted here express shock that this article should appear in CCD. Note it’s reprinted from a blog post for a reason. Those graying ’60s activists for the (false) “Spirit of Vatican II” are still out there, entrenched in university faculties and diocesan bureaucracies. We need to know who they are and what they are saying, if we’re going to be prepared to answer them. They’re finally realizing they are not the future, so they get even more shrill. So Robert K knows who I am, I’ll just close by saying I was glad to see a reference to geological time.
“Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faithful”? Try “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” These liberals can’t get anything right.
An enemy of my enemy is a friend of mine. With that list of scoundrels as his opponents, Pope Benedict must have been a great Holy Father!
Bilious whingeing. No story here.
The chances of the Catholic Church endorsing homosexual conduct as moral, or ordaining women priests, is nil and pure imagination on the part of those proposing the Church change its doctrines.
People don’t seem to understand that the teaching of the Church on these hot button issues that a lot of people complain about have to do with reality itself. The Church, in order to change these teachings, would be changing reality which is of course impossible. Also, the people that hold opposing views on important teachings of the Church need to know that they are damaging their union with the Church and that this is dangerous for their souls. Not telling them is a diservice.
Reality is not some abstract notion, Tom. Your idea that changing course changes reality is ridiculous, totally illogical.
Catholicism in Europe is near dead with empty churches and no Catholic schools to bring another generation.
Catholicism in the USA in major metro areas is also near dead with more parishes being closed, with empty Cathedrals (except for political events), and more Catholic schools shuttered. Consider how Cardinal Dougherty High School in Philadelphia was once one of the largest schools in the nation, and now it is dead.
I am wondering how having gays and women as priests will solve the problem? The Jews and the Episcopalians have gay or female rabbis or pastors, and attendance is way down in synagogues and Episcopal churches.
These Marxist “theologians” really want the demise of religion and morality in our culture. Yet, bishops allow these corrupters to teach a fraudulent “Catholicism.’ Why?
Another tumor of the Santa Clara University cancer. How did this professor get her mandatum, Bishop McGrath?
Perhaps Bishop McGrath was to busy crucifying the very saintly Monsignor Sweeney to pay attention to “Another tumor of the Santa Clara University”! May God have mercy on his soul!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
What is the purpose of posting this garbage. Has the staff of CCD gone secular or are they just trying to find the TRUE Catholics, as scarce as they are? For 2000 years, starting with the first man to leave Mass early-Judas- and until the end of time, which could be very soon, we will always have these lunatics that want to have things their way, not God’s Way, and they will all end up in the pits of hell. I have had it with this site and this is good-bye. +JMJ+
Would you rather remain ignorant of the evil we are called to fight?
You have made some good comments on this Site, sad to see you go, think again!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
The people who despise Benedict XVI are the best reason to praise him. He led the Church in a difficult time. They tried to make it much more difficult, and probably succeeded to some degree. History will be far kinder to him than to his critics, rightfully so.
Catholics who understand Catholicism loved Pope Benedict XVI. Those who use it for their own unrelated purposes will always find fault with the Catholic Church as a vehicle to be ill used. Catholicism will stand, and the smaller aims of those who had hoped to reform it to their own wills will have to be redirected where they are more appropriate or abandoned altogether. The Pope Emeritus was a wonderful shepherd and is missed already. God bless that great and good man always.
What the heck is this piece doing in the Cal Catholic?
Lambasting the Pope because he recognized that “liberation theology” is simply Marxism operating under color of religion.
Liberation theology has nothing to do with Catholicism, those ordained who believe in it deserve to be shown the door.
I’m with JMJ, this site is a joke, goodbye, won’t miss it in the slightest.
In what manner is this site a joke, William? Seems to me people write here with deep seriousness and at times with profundity. Do tell, and thanks in advance.
William and JMJ, you seem to be somewhat ignorant of the Catholic intellectual tradition … aka using the power of faith and reason. Like I’ve said in the past, pretending there is no problem is being part of the problem … same mindset that opened up boys to clerical predators.
Benedict The Best! I love him as my Pope! My German Shepard! We will miss you terribly.
Has the National (non)Catholic Reporter bought California Catholic Daily?
Hey, folks, don’t you want to know what the crazies are saying? I am confident that this excellent site prints garbage like this so we can get to the root about what stinks about people like those being exposed.
I appreciate knowing who and what stinks in the world of Catholicism. I would like to see our wonderful Catholic Church cleansed of these creeps. We need to know who they are and what they are doing and saying in trying to bring us down.
Let the enemies of true Catholicism come forth and let us see their faces and know their names.
Thank you, Cal Catholic, for helping to illuminate from whence the stench emanates. How else are we to overcome evil except to know its name?
So, Juergensen, you’d have one heck of a problem with St Thomas Aquinas … or the Book of Job.
“In the wake of Benedict’s sudden announcement of his early retirement…”
Hey, that’s POPE Benedict to you, Missy!
As for why California Catholic Daily posts such things, I think it’s healthy for us to see various sides of the picture — which means putting up stuff from the left and right, so we can all get energetic about our responses.
Otherwise, how dull it would be — “I agree with him.” “No, I agree with him more!” “Hey, I agreed with him before he even WROTE this article!!!”
The putrid meanderings of this virulently anti-Catholic professor Dresch just underscore the depth of the crisis that we’re entering in the U.S., what with so many so-called Catholics exhibiting the same traits of herr professor Dresch; overeducation on steroids, underinformation on twenty times more steroids. But the good news re herr Dresch’s bloviating excrescenses is that the majority of those who she WISHES were the targets of her misinformation and hateful spleen are precisely the MINORITY of most students.
People like this professor Dresch always arrogantly assume that all students are in thrall to their delusional rants against the ONE TRUE CHURCH; the truth of the matter is that most of what professors like her are raving about are usually discounted by the great majority of students. The educational system that they come from is so dysfunctional on so many levels that a lot of what they, the lib professors, say is incomprehensible to them. Wierdly, much goes over their heads. But I’m referring to the seculars disgorged from the great educational establishment, say, in leviathan California. Kind of like a foreign country within an established country. Now the Catholic students, they’re a different breed altogether.
More later, computer is acting up.
California Catholic Daily is an especially interesting site because progressives and traditionalists can argue it out here. We heed more dialogue in our nation.
Dialogue with liberals is usually merely an exercise in being interrupted without losing your cool, subjecting oneself a finger-pointing, tsk-tsk lecture by rude people about their twisted morals, and usually delivered loudly and proudly. All the same, it is interesting to watch them flop around the driveway, trying to convert conservatives and traditionalists by means of personal insults and deprecating inuendoes. Works every time – to keep us conservative and traditional, that is!
Liberals often assume that conservatives have not questioned the values by which our ancestors raised strong families and built great nations while worshipping God and trying to be good human beings. They assume we are in robotic lockstep with the past and do not think for ourselves. Usually the exact opposite is true.
The unthinking robotic reactions of liberals, on the other hand, are those of sophomoric rebels who have found like-minded rebel leaders in their college professors and, wanting to be liked and graded well, fall right in line as if it were Nazi Germany marching in lockstep. Joining a group of your fellow liberals in college is a way of finally being accepted by The Group, and fear of no longer being cool keeps aging liberals in line.
If there were more heavy-duty thinking going on in our society, we would see lots more college graduates with educated minds to match their degrees. Those degrees once meant something; today even a flood of Ph.D.’s are not proving their worth to society, sad to say. Having a Ph.D. today is almost a guarantee you will be unemployed or at best, underemployed.
One woman I know with a Ph.D. in psychology works in removing aged vegetables from Trader Joe’s racks for about $10/hour, whereas her husband, a graduate of Thomas Aquinas with “only” a bachelor’s degree is making an enviable income and contributing mightily to the betterment of the world both intellectually and spiritually.
Sadly, this is not unusual. Overeducated intellectuals usually lack common sense and can’t think their ways out of a paper bag outside of their specialities, and oftentimes think in convoluted ways even within their own fields. Of course, they are often liberals, in fact, nearly always. I have known hundreds and hundreds of geniuses in my past work at Stanford University and at an internationally known think tank, and I assure you, I read more common sense on this website than I hear in those hallowed halls, usually supported intellectually and financially by pillars of uberliberalism.
Now I’m told that the professor in question isn’t even Catholic but Episcopalian. Well, we have to give her props for honesty, at least she isn’t masquerading as Catholic. Interesting the SCU seems to hide her religious affiliation on the website.
These people long left the Church. Why do we even care what they think? We should just protesise them and reconvert them.
For their own good.
I agree with you bwangi