….In the early 1980s, Ratzinger had recently been appointed prefect by John Paul II. Extreme poverty and inequality were rife in Latin America, so that Marxian thought began to appeal to churchmen in that part of the world, just as Catholics in John Paul’s home country of Poland were struggling to cast off a communist regime. Gustavo Gutiérrez, a Dominican theologian from Peru, had written the seminal A Theology of Liberation (1971), from which liberation theology takes its name.
Hearing that some quarters of the liberation theology movement were allying with Marxist groups and calling for violent revolution, John Paul asked Ratzinger’s CDF to examine the writings of the liberation theologians. In these writings and in the “base communities” (local Christian socialist communities) associated with the movement, Ratzinger perceived much that was truly Christian. But he also found elements that could not be reconciled with Christianity.
He issued two instructions on liberation theology, in 1984 and 1986, warning against “uncritical borrowings from Marxist ideology” and the “politicization of the tenets of the faith.” He met with leading figures, such as Gutiérrez and Leonardo Boff, to discuss their ideas. The Vatican’s investigation of liberation theology received attention in the international press, solidifying Ratzinger’s reputation as “God’s Rottweiler.” Boff spoke sensationally of the grueling inquisition he had endured in Ratzinger’s office (an episode in which Ratzinger, who could have revoked Boff’s teaching credentials, instead directed him to spend a year on silent sabbatical). In fact, Ratzinger dealt as gently as possible with the liberation theologians, in light of his carefully reasoned conclusions about their writings. Gutiérrez was never censured or commanded to recant, though he was asked to reconsider some of his positions. And yet, for his pains, Ratzinger earned the inexhaustible hatred of Catholic progressives and Marxists….
Full story by Cardinal Gerhard Muller in First Things.
The original is “Ratzinger and the Liberation Theologians”
Booring… Headlines are to get readers to read an article. They’re not the same as titles in journals like First Things.
For example, the American Journal on Addictions had an article about the reasons for and consequences of medical marijuana use among patients. That would’ve been an accurate title. But, it got more attention as “Medical Marijuana: Can’t We All Just Get a Bong?”
The panzer cardinal was both a gentle man and a gentleman. Though not a rottweiler, he was an excellent German shepherd.
“Ratzinger biffs Boff”
That would be better.
Boffo, how about Brilliant Bavarian Biffs Brother Boff, but Belatedly?
I heartily concur.
“God’s Rottweiler” was an affectionate name for the “Panzerkardinal”, as assigned by admiring Germans. The Rottweiler metaphor was a reflection of his eagerness to guard the integrity of doctrine and praxis in the Church, after what seemed to many to be a low-key previous handling .But not to be missed by seeing the canine reference as a team mascot logo , the Rottweiler also shredded imprecise or errant theology with surgical cuts in brilliant analysis ( a friend of mine was witness to this for several years as a CDF staffer). This faithful servant of the Logos was fearless as he ‘interrogated’ misguided premises that originated from cultural or academic trends. The Panzer (Panther) was Germany’s best tank in WWII, only defeated by circling manuevers, not head-on combat , when meeting up with General Patton.
Thank you for your interesting interpretation.
“Panzer” in German means “armored”. It has nothing to do with panthers. Only knights were “gepanziert”, so “Panzerkardinal” actually means “Cardinal-knight”. Not a bad gig.
It was not an affectionate name. Panzer-cardinal and God’s Rottweiler were sneers from his critics. I have not found who started it. God’ s Rottweiler is the one that stuck and is in almost every article about him. It was from before he was made Pope and before 1999. Would like to find the source.
I think it was before 1995 because I first heard it from a lady at Church and the pastor that was there at the time left in 1995.
yes, it caught on with another group of us who loved him as a wonderful monniker! the Rhode Island Catholic Jan 12,2023 edition saw it as a tremendous compliment of his accomplishment of protecting and defending what is dear, “which is precisely what all popes, bishops and priests are supposed to do with respect to Jesus Christ and his Gospel”. they concluded: “Be a rottweiler and be a good ! I hope from heaven he can continue biting and bringing down the bad guys.
If he is Heaven, he is at peace. He can intercede for the Church. He can in Purgatory, too.
true tom, panther is actually “panther’ in german, not panzer, but it’s so much more fun to see our kardinal as a panther . Most translators want to see ‘panzerkardinal’ as ‘tank cardinal’ or ‘battle tank’ cardinal. the germans named the tank for its armor, after the knightly tradition of owning armor for the fray. Ninja Cardinal would probably fit quite well, too.
Loved Pope Benedict! Catholic leaders are angry, because Jesuit clerical sex offender, Fr. Marko Rupnik, whose priestly activities have been restricted due to sexual misconduct, was seen at the altar, concelebrating a Mass last Sunday morning, at a historic Basilica church, near the Vatican, in Rome. The Vatican really needs some strong “rottweilers” to crack down on clerical sex abusers!
We really need some good Vatican “rottweilers” to get rid of LGBT-promoting, immoral Cardinal Hollerich, and make good rules for the Pope’s “C9”– they all must be authentic, orthodox, sincere practicing Catholics! And the Pope, too!
Who made him a bishop?