As Catholics around watch Pope Benedict XVI walk away from the Shoes of the Fisherman, many are quite pleased they will not have to endure their religion being dished out at the hands of one of the most ultra-conservative madmen to hold the office since Pope Gregory VII became pope in April of 1073 and kicked off the Dark Ages by adopting the Malleus Maleficarum and had his priests worldwide begin using women’s bodies for fire kindling.
As a person who is an avid news buff, it’s hard to decide what single issue caused the nearly unprecedented event of Benedict’s resignation. It was probably all of the current scandals in the Vatican that contributed to being too much pressure for Ratzinger’s poor health to handle and the inability of the Church of Rome to continue under his leadership.
After Benedict’s election as Pope on April 19, 2005, he began reversing out the progressive initiatives of his predecessors, Pope John I and Pope John Paul II. The reaction by the members of the church worldwide was a sharp drop in congregations.
As it had for Pope John Paul II, the Church of Rome suffered horrible scandals over charges of child molestations by priests worldwide. To make matters worse, it was charged that while he was a Bishop and Archbishop, Ratzinger helped hide, deny and moved around priests who had been accused of molesting children.
In 2012, the Vatican Bank was hit with yet another scandal when the Rev. Salvatore Palumbo, the Papal appointed overseer for the Vatican Bank, plotted with Italian lawyer Simone Fazzari to launder illegal funds through the bank. To make matters worse, after the arrest of Palumbo and Fazzari, the Pope’s choice of German lawyer Ernst von Freyberg has come into question over some possible illicit transactions he was involved in regarding shipbuilding in Hamburg, Germany.
Then there’s simply the matter that Ratzinger is the second oldest man to ever be elected by a papal enclave. His office was probably always understood that it would be a matter of years and not decades.
But as far as being a pope of divisiveness and inflexibility, Benedict certainly has exhibited those traits in spades. Over the past few years various Vatican staffers who aren’t vociferous supporters of the pope’s draconian sect, Opus Dei or his dictatorial style have leaked secret documents at a rate better described as a hemorrhage. It even forced the Pope to bring in Opus Dei “trouble-shooters” to find the “Vati-leakers”.
So as we picture papal ring being crushed and melted today, I feel it only fitting to turn to the greatest “smasher” of the Church of Rome of all time, William Blake, in his work of genius, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”, to close out the brief and brutal career of Pope Benedict XVI and the return of Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger:
“As the catterpiller [sic] chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.”—Proverbs of Hell, Plate 9
By Stephanie Donald
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