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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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134 Responses

  1. EG
    EG February 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm |

    Wow. Awesome short piece by Shanley.

  2. Foxy
    Foxy February 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm |

    Catholic church is a authoratarian fascist organisation.It doesnt deserve its tax free status

  3. JBL55
    JBL55 February 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm |

    Yup. Even a broken clock is right now and then. The pope finally did something I support … like he cares what an Episcopalian thinks.

    So more power to him. No, wait …

  4. Drahill
    Drahill February 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm |

    In a way, I applaud him for this. One of the big reasons some people cite for the conservative turning of the Church in the last 15 or so years is because in the last years of his papacy, John Paul II wasn’t healthy enough to be effective and sort of created a vaccuum in which conservative theology (promoted by the current Pope) was more allowed to flourish.

    The whole idea of the Pope has been under attack for a long time, though – at least since the Reformation. There is a definite reason why so many protestant and Christian reformers emphasized local decision-making and independent congregations – because they felt like the Papacy and its self-regulation wasn’t that great. (Even now, the current Pope appointed most of the Cardinals who will vote to replace him). I just think that the entire model is terrible for reform – any reform. The hierarchy of the Church is not accountable or answerable to the adherents in any real way. Even witholding financial support won’t really work – it only hurts local parishes. The Vatican is coccooned in wealth. So I’m not too excited for the prospects of the Catholic Church any time in the near future (or any future, for that matter).

    1. Tim
      Tim February 12, 2013 at 8:00 pm |

      One of the big reasons some people cite for the conservative turning of the Church in the last 15 or so years is because in the last years of his papacy, John Paul II wasn’t healthy enough to be effective and sort of created a vaccuum in which conservative theology (promoted by the current Pope) was more allowed to flourish.

      JP2 may have had that warm, fuzzy, teddy-bear charisma, but he was pretty reactionary all along. That big statement about “homosexual persons” having a tendency toward “intrinsic moral evil” came out on his watch. He also stomped hard on the Liberation Theology movement. So his theology was plenty conservative; they didn’t need a vacuum to take over.

      1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help February 12, 2013 at 9:09 pm |

        Agreed, Tim. He was pretty damned scary.

      2. Drahill
        Drahill February 12, 2013 at 11:19 pm |

        Of course JP II was conservative on many counts – but he also had parts of his theology that trended towards liberalism. On his statements on homosexuality, the problem is that’s not a departure from anything, really. There’s never been a Pope whose expressed anything much different than that – so it’s not really any kind of departure at all. JP II is generally regarded as liberalizing the papacy, probably second only to John XXIII. His big things were interfaith dialogue and reconciliation, which is probably what defines him now. He also was the first Pope to try to address Catholicism from a scientific POV (like stating that evolution, in the context of intelligent design, is acceptable under Catholicism, and stuff he said about the Big Bang).

        I’m not saying JP II was liberal, but in the context of the Papacy, he is considered more liberal than Pope Benedict. You can’t really be conservative unless you regress from the predecessor – which he really didn’t do. It’s a matter of semantics.

        1. Tim
          Tim February 13, 2013 at 12:11 am |

          You can’t really be conservative unless you regress from the predecessor – which he really didn’t do. It’s a matter of semantics.

          I don’t think that “conservative” means quite what you think it means. Whatever, it is not a matter of semantics but perspective, and when somebody tells me that I am part of some “intrinsic moral evil,” it sounds pretty fucking reactionary to me.

    2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help February 12, 2013 at 9:08 pm |

      There is a definite reason why so many protestant and Christian reformers

      Errm, Protestants are Christians. The many varieties of Protestantism, the Catholics, Copts, Orthodox churches, etc, etc – they’re all Christian, however much some of them like to claim exclusive ownership of the name.

      1. Drahill
        Drahill February 12, 2013 at 11:12 pm |

        Uh, you’re aware that it was called the Protestant Reformation, right? Prior to it, the Catholic Church was largely the only option for Christians in Europe – especially if they didn’t want to be persecuted. The Reformation wasn’t about denying Christianity, it was about reinterpreting the Scriptures for some, but for others it was largely about challenging the governance of the Church. Where do you ever get the idea that the Reformation was anything but a Christian reform movement? I don’t know what books you’ve been reading, but it’s hard to interpret it as anything but.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L February 12, 2013 at 11:39 pm |

          Errm, uh, you’re aware that TKUH said what she said because a particular person — namely, you! — referred to “protestant and Christian reformers” as if the latter didn’t include the former? It wasn’t from books she was reading; it was from your own comment!

        2. dawnofthenerds
          dawnofthenerds February 13, 2013 at 12:37 am |

          Also, eastern europe is still europe. The Orthodox church have been going strong since before the western Roman empire fell.

        3. TomSims
          TomSims February 13, 2013 at 3:03 am |

          Also the Ku Klux Klansmen were and still call themselves Christians

  5. Morwen
    Morwen February 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm |

    But don’t you think that the fact that it is being cited as being caused by failing health is a bit… um… problematic (read: grossly misleading and child rape denying)?

    1. Kylara7
      Kylara7 February 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm |

      I had a wry chuckle with a fellow ex-Catholic friend about how he can’t use the usual line about “spending more time with my family” like all the other sack o’ BS and hypocrisy leaders do when they slink away in eventual disgrace…

  6. Beatrice
    Beatrice February 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm |

    I read the suggestion on another blog, and found it quite plausible, that he is retiring now so that he could have influence over who gets chosen to be the next pope.

    1. Drahill
      Drahill February 12, 2013 at 12:55 pm |

      I doubt that. Current or ex-popes are forbidden by Church law from participating in any way in a papal conclave. It’s one of the few rules the Church actually seems takes seriously (the selling of the office embarrased the Church a huge amount during the Reformation and before, so they sort of tried to stamp out any influence on choosing the next Pope).

      Popes influence the succession process during their papacy. Most of the Cardinals who will actually be voting for his replacement were appointed to office by Benedict himself. Like all Popes, he chose men whose theological and political ideas mirrored his own. So, it’s most likely that they will pick somebody who will closely conform to his own ideas. However, its not fool-proof. Sometimes Cardinals decide to do something different. But he’s already done about all he can do to influence the outcome.

      1. Beatrice
        Beatrice February 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm |

        You will excuse me if I am somewhat skeptical of Catholic priests following their own (or any other) law.

        1. Drahill
          Drahill February 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm |

          I am too, but I actually got to know a few people who actually worked in the Vatican for a while (while I was in divinity school). They all confirmed to me that it’s actually taken very seriously. Cardinals are sequestered, their access to other people is extremely limited, etc. The crackdown happened after the Reformation – when one of the big critiques was that the Papacy could basically be sold and bought. It was a huge source of embarrasment for the Church, so they corrected that one thing. Besides, like I said above – the Pope appoints almost all the people who will vote and most likely, his own successor. What more influence does he need? I think you’re smelling for a conspiracy where none exists.

        2. A4
          A4 February 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm |

          I will join you in your skepticism, Beatrice.

          Drahill, I have heard the “oh no, THIS thing the disgusting religious people take seriously and the leadership is totally not corrupt in this aspect!” before, and it didn’t sell well then either.

          Being skeptical of leadership not following it’s own laws is not conspiracy, it’s a basic knowledge of political history.

        3. Drahill
          Drahill February 12, 2013 at 11:22 pm |

          A4, I’m not saying that there is no potential to break the rules. I was noting that I have heard first person accounts of people who were privy to the process twice (one there for JP II’s election and one who was there for Benedict) and they both noted that each time, the rules were followed. Beatrice also never addressed why such an overt display of influence would be necessary given that the Pope has his entire tenure to appoint who we wishes and make his wishes known.

      2. Adaquinn
        Adaquinn February 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm |

        While he will not be allowed in Conclave, he has been able to appoint more than half of the College of Cardinals who are currently eligible to participate in the election of the next pope.

        So he has no direct control, but he has had a lot of influence. Also, I’m sure that his subtle nod to a certain Cardinal would carry a lot of weight.

        1. bleh
          bleh February 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm |

          He definitely retired to influence the Cardinals. Dangerous men do not give up power easily.

      3. zuzu
        zuzu February 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm | *

        Current or ex-popes are forbidden by Church law from participating in any way in a papal conclave. It’s one of the few rules the Church actually seems takes seriously (the selling of the office embarrased the Church a huge amount during the Reformation and before, so they sort of tried to stamp out any influence on choosing the next Pope).

        Given that no pope has resigned in over 600 years, how do you know this?

        Also, if you think that current popes can’t influence who gets chosen as their successors, you’re dreaming. Who do you think appoints all the Cardinals who have a vote? I know you pooh-poohed the idea that JPII was conservative, but he was the one who appointed all the conservative Cardinals who just happened to pick Ratzinger, JPII’s right-hand thug, as the new pope. All the progressives who came in prior to JPII are now over 80 years old and can’t vote.

        And the current pope can certainly make it known who he favors — again, you can’t seriously think that JPII had no role at all in setting up Ratzinger as his successor.

      4. zuzu
        zuzu February 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm | *

        They all confirmed to me that it’s actually taken very seriously. Cardinals are sequestered, their access to other people is extremely limited, etc.

        That’s during Conclave. There are innumerable opportunities to influence the decision before that — which in the ordinary course of things is how popes have to do it, since by the time Conclave happens, they’re dead.

  7. Cassandra Woolf
    Cassandra Woolf February 12, 2013 at 12:54 pm |

    I do admire him for stepping down, even though I haven’t admired him for anything else. Voluntarily giving up power is not something powerful men do readily. I suspect people would be more willing to vote for older politicians if they felt confident they would follow the pope’s example.

    I wonder if it is a reflection of our denial of aging and death that so many are convinced he most have another motive besides growing disability. Do we believe that 85 is the new 60?

    1. (BFing) Sarah
      (BFing) Sarah February 12, 2013 at 7:22 pm |

      Not in my case. I think there is another reason because the Catholic Church is corrupt and because this hasn’t happened in over 700 years, despite always having ancient white men in the position of Pope. Despite their age and decline, they always let death be the thing that makes them retire. Not that I think its the child rape scandal either, because anyone in a position of real leadership in the Catholic Church has that blood on their hands. The rapes of children in the Catholic Church are so widespread and the denial of it at all levels of leadership so pervasive, that I find it really hard to believe that anyone that is in line for the position of Pope was not complicit in some way with allowing children to continue to be abused.

      1. piny
        piny February 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm |

        Yes, exactly–this is unheard of. You’re supposed to stay Pope until you die; it’s not like “for life” on the Supreme Court. And past popes have left office feet first; even John Paul II was very frail towards the end of his life. Dementia is not a normal excuse.

        I think this is because the Church is already so wrapped in scandal that child-rape revelations have become commonplace, because there are about to be new waves of allegation, and because those could well implicate the ex-pope personally. The Church itself might well want someone whose former job wasn’t basically to oversee the handling of child-abuse accusations.

        1. (BFing) Sarah
          (BFing) Sarah February 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm |

          @ Piny: that was my thought as well: that there were about to be new allegations and that maybe they directly the implicated ex-pope. “Health” is just not an excuse that’s used and I am VERY suspicious and I really am curious as to the real motivation.

  8. Cade DeBois (@lifepostepic)
    Cade DeBois (@lifepostepic) February 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm |

    Good, mostly, but I found that HE WAS IN THE HITLER YOUTH bit at the start petty and jarringly wrong-minded. Is this Pope someone I admire? Oh no, of course not. But let’s keep our criticisms to things he did once he was old enough to be reasonably held accountable for them. Seriously, not a single one of us here has ever dealt with anything like what it must have been for a German child, teen or young adult in Germany during that time, with the kinds of pressures, fears and propaganda a young mind would have been subjected to at every corner. So how are we even in a position to judge that?

    I’ve met many Germans who lived through that era, but not one who would admit to being in the Hitler Youth. That a lot of people who were in it have already gone to their graves never talking about it because of the profound shame they felt says volumes to me about what the Hitler Youth did to a whole generation of Germans, and that includes the Pope. At the end of the day, the Pope is human, just like those other Germans scarred by the Nazi regime, and as a feminist, I have a duty to give a damn about his humanity like that, regardless of what I think about his actions and opinions later in life.

    Sorry to rant, but it’s disturbing to me to see feminists not even take pause at something that blatantly manipulative. Talk about being tone-deaf.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L February 12, 2013 at 1:30 pm |

      not a single one of us here has ever dealt with anything like what it must have been for a German child, teen or young adult in Germany during that time, with the kinds of pressures, fears and propaganda a young mind would have been subjected to at every corner. So how are we even in a position to judge that?

      I’ve always been way more concerned with what it felt like for the Jewish and other people in Germany who were attacked by the Hitler Jugend and other German children, teens, and young adults. Like how it felt for my mother one summer day around 1935 or 1936, when she was 12 or 13 and took several Jewish kindergarten-age children for a walk in the Schwarzwald near her grandparents’ village, and they were attacked by several Hitler Youth who not only physically attacked her but threw all the little children in a pond and tried to drown them; she had to jump in and fish them all out. Or the morning after Kristallnacht, in November 1938 in Berlin, when a mob of Hitler Youth attacked the Jewish school my mother attended, singing the famous marching song about how wonderful it feels to dip your knife in Jewish blood, and tried to break in to do God knows what to all the children; some of the teachers were able to hold them off in front for long enough for all the children to escape out the back. The principal finally persuaded the mob to disperse after she ran up a British flag they had in storage and claimed that the school was British sovereign territory.

      I shed no tears for anyone in the Hitler Youth; who knows what any of them actually did. It wasn’t the Cub Scouts. And I have more important things to be concerned about.


      Talk about being tone-deaf.

      Look in the goddamn mirror. “Germans scarred by the Nazi regime?” Did it ever cross your mind that my mother and her family and half a million other German Jews mostly considered themselves to be German too? Where’s your concern for their scars?

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm |

        Now, now, Donna, you can’t expect her to feel sorry for a few million Jews when there’s racist homophobe Popes she could be defending instead.

      2. EG
        EG February 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm |

        Thank you. Eloquent. And yes, I find it very telling that “Germans” in Cade deBois’s parlance apparently doesn’t include “Jews.”

      3. khw
        khw February 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm |

        Sorry for the derail, but I don’t think I’ve ever really mentioned how much I enjoy the contributions made by Donna L, macavitykitsune and EG (to mention but a few – it’s just that I see the three together so I had to respond!)

        So thank you all

      4. (BFing) Sarah
        (BFing) Sarah February 12, 2013 at 7:27 pm |

        Give it to her, Donna!

        Sorry, but wrong is fucking wrong, and it is relevant no matter when it occurred. I would maybe feel differently if he had, say, stopped being a hateful bigot with age and maturity. Sadly, that is not the case, as he is anti-woman and anti-LBGT rights. I don’t see how he’s become a better man with age.

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm |

      Sure, at some point we have to let bygones be bygones…if those bys ever actually got gone. As far as I can see, he was a racist little shit who grew up to be a racist grown-ass shit and then toddled merrily onwards into being a racist old shit. At what point does it stop being “digging for dirt in someone’s childhood” and start being “looking at the beginning of a consistent pattern”? How many dead Africans and Asians are you willing to handwave? How many raped kids, how many women dead for being denied abortions?

      And you know…if he feels shame, cool. He should. But feeling shame does fuck-all in the absence of apologies, amends, and permanent changes in the way one relates to the world. He grew up to be one of the most powerful men in the world, and then he proved to be as racist, misogynist and homophobic as his roots. That speaks of nothing but unrepentant, blithe malevolence to me.

      Oh, and I love your application of the Nuremberg Defense, Variation A (you don’t know what it was like HDU judge why he followed orders!) in this situation. That’s real classy. The White Rose must be rolling in their graves.

      1. EG
        EG February 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm |

        And you know…if he feels shame, cool. He should. But feeling shame does fuck-all in the absence of apologies, amends, and permanent changes in the way one relates to the world. He grew up to be one of the most powerful men in the world, and then he proved to be as racist, misogynist and homophobic as his roots. That speaks of nothing but unrepentant, blithe malevolence to me.

        Thank you. My reponse is in moderation; it’s not as eloquent as yours or Donna’s. But I felt like pulling this out and quoting it. For truth.

        Has he tried to make amends in any way? Has he learned from the racism and intolerance of his youth? Oh, he even returned to the anti-semitic Good Friday prayer? Well fuck him and the Hitler Youth program that helped form him.

      2. Kylara7
        Kylara7 February 12, 2013 at 2:36 pm |

        Sure, at some point we have to let bygones be bygones…if those bys ever actually got gone. As far as I can see, he was a racist little shit who grew up to be a racist grown-ass shit and then toddled merrily onwards into being a racist old shit. At what point does it stop being “digging for dirt in someone’s childhood” and start being “looking at the beginning of a consistent pattern”? How many dead Africans and Asians are you willing to handwave? How many raped kids, how many women dead for being denied abortions?

        Well said. Amen to that!

      3. Alyson
        Alyson February 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm |

        Yeah…if being part of the Hitler Youth, as a child, were the ONLY bad thing anyone had ever done in their life, and forever after they were a good person who worked to eradicate injustice…then I think that yelling “Hitler youth!” might be a cheap shot. But your points are solid, Macavity.

      4. (BFing) Sarah
        (BFing) Sarah February 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm |

        Agreed.

    3. EG
      EG February 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm |

      You know what? No. I don’t have a duty to give a damn about him.

      It is indeed very sad that he was the victim of such pressure under a fascist society. Nonetheless, I don’t think it’s too much to note that I don’t trust somebody acculturated by fascism, in a fascist state, to dispense justice equitably and fairly, or as a moral voice on anything.

      He is not “just like” other Germans scarred by the Nazi regime–not if we remember how many German Jews were “scarred” by that regime. He got off very easy indeed.

      If one of the consequences of committing genocide is that the people involved in genocidal organizations aren’t trusted, even for the rest of their lives, even if they were teenagers at the time, oh damn well. Pardon me if I think that’s fairly mild.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm |

        He is not “just like” other Germans scarred by the Nazi regime

        Yeah. Talk about erasing the many, many, many Germans who were in fact really scarred by the Nazi regime. Jailed. Raped. Brutalised. Sterilised. Killed. And not just Jewish Germans either, before she brings that up. Let’s talk about the Roma, let’s talk about gay Germans being rounded up and murdered en masse, let’s talk about black Germans and immigrant labour and all that shit. No, seriously, let’s compile a list of everybody who was hurt by the German regime, and then maybe Cade can get some goddamn perspective.

        1. EG
          EG February 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm |

          Hell, let’s not forget actual German gentiles who put their lives on the line to actually, you know, resist the Nazis, and tried to hide Jews and members of other persecuted groups. Even young German gentiles sometimes resisted. Even if we want to limit it to the scarring suffered by German gentiles, there’s plenty worse to deal with than “shame,” which is the proper emotion to feel about having been part of a genocide. Crushing shame.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm |

          “shame,” which is the proper emotion to feel about having been part of a genocide. Crushing shame.

          And you know…I think shame has its place. I think shame has a place and a purpose in the consciousness of a country. I don’t feel it to the point of being incapacitated or bitter, but you bet I feel shame for the things India has done and continues to do that are horrible. I know my hands, and all Indian hands, are covered in Kashmiri blood, and Sikkimese blood, and Assamese blood, and Sri Lankan blood. This shame drives me to be better, drives me to advocate and argue and do what little I can to help them.

          There is a different word for what someone feels, who sees these things happen, and goes on to perpetuate them decades later. That word is not shame.

        3. Donna L
          Donna L February 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm |

          gay Germans being rounded up and murdered en masse,

          For accuracy’s sake, not exactly; the only ones who were murdered en masse belonged to other categories. People weren’t sent to the gas chambers, or machine-gunned en masse by the Einsatzgruppen in the fields and forests of Eastern Europe, for being gay. But at least 100,000 were arrested for being gay, 50,000 “convicted,” and 10-15,000 sent to concentration camps, where more than half died. Plus many were castrated.

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm |

          Argh, Donna, you’re absolutely right, I meant to write that the ROma were murdered en masse but I got the two switched up in my head somehow. Sorry!

        5. khw
          khw February 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm |

          they also used to kill prostitutes by working them to death at the camps in evening gowns

      2. Donna L
        Donna L February 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm |

        And, look, I’m aware that the official story is that Ratzinger’s family was anti-Nazi, that he was automatically enrolled in the Hitler Youth at 14 in 1941 but never attended meetings, that he was conscripted in 1943 as a “Flakhelfer” in the Luftwaffe, and eventually deserted, etc. Do I know what he actually did? No. Should I give him the benefit of the doubt? Not necessarily.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L February 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm |

          By the way, in terms of the Vatican’s attitude towards Jews under Benedict, the reversal of the excommunication of a notorious Holocaust denier bothers me more than the restoration of the old prayer for conversion of the Jews (since they did delete the reference to the “perfidious” Jews):

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7849226.stm

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm |

          Frankly, it doesn’t matter. There absolutely were people in the Hitler Youth, and I daresay even the German army, who opposed Nazi ideals. They can largely be distinguished by their behaviour upon the end of the Nazi regime, and after. Ratzinger may or may not have willingly joined the Nazis; the fact remains that his beliefs and actions after the end of the war – in the sixty-seven motherfucking years since the end of the war – has been every bit as misogynistic, homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic in thought as the Nazis would have wanted, even if the application was much less violent and less overtly hateful. I don’t believe in hell, but his ilk almost makes me want to just so I know there’s justice in the world.

        3. EG
          EG February 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm |

          As you say, I see no reason to give the benefit of the doubt, and, well, I’d like to know what the expression of their “anti-Nazi-ism” was, because if it was to think “Gee, I don’t really think I’m 100% on board with the Nazis” but to accede in every way…well…(and I do know about the murder of the cousin with Down’s Syndrome, poor kid).

          I didn’t know about the reversal of the ex-communication. Nice. I really dislike the Good Friday prayer mentioning the Jews at all, given the link between Christian Holy Week and the pogroms, and given that the 1970 prayer was so much less obnoxious, and Benedict actually went out of his way to take a step backwards…it really bugs me.

        4. BoyOrHedgehog
          BoyOrHedgehog February 13, 2013 at 3:51 am |

          “By the way, in terms of the Vatican’s attitude towards Jews under Benedict, the reversal of the excommunication of a notorious Holocaust denier bothers me more than the restoration of the old prayer for conversion of the Jews”

          YES. Kind of reduces my how-hard-it-must-have-been-to-grow-up-in-Hitler’s-Germany compassion a little.

    4. A4
      A4 February 12, 2013 at 8:06 pm |

      I kind of think that being the Pope is many magnitudes more terrible than being in the Hitler Youth.

      1. Barnacle Strumpet
        Barnacle Strumpet February 12, 2013 at 11:30 pm |

        It says something about the Catholic Church that I’m not even sure if you’re joking or not…

        1. A4
          A4 February 13, 2013 at 12:03 am |

          I am not joking at all.

  9. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll February 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm |

    Oh please. The lying sack of shit is slinking away before the drama hits the fan and is using “being old” as his excuse.

    1. TomSims
      TomSims February 12, 2013 at 3:05 pm |

      Well stated.

    2. A4
      A4 February 12, 2013 at 8:08 pm |

      You’re being too mean to the pope!

    3. Asia
      Asia February 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm |

      Yea …but the vatican has successfully weathered the widespread allegations of child abuse before. I see no reason why the pope of all people would be concerned. I mean the pope is an absolute monarch and european head of state. I wouldn’t think there is anything that represents a substantial threat to him. Billions of people support him and no one else in power is going to risk politically going against the church.

      Isn’t there at least one child molester/cover up of child molesters hiding in vatican city right now.

      I think that this must be some kind of internal matter. That the world will likely never find out about.

      1. Tim
        Tim February 13, 2013 at 3:06 pm |

        Isn’t there at least one child molester/cover up of child molesters hiding in vatican city right now.

        Red-Beanie Bernie Law (formerly known as the Archbishop of Boston — among others, I’m sure.

  10. AMM
    AMM February 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm |

    I lived in Munich back when Ratzinger (or “Rattenfaenger”, as I preferred to call him) was bishop in Freising, and he seemed to be the face of the Catholic Church in the area. (If there was a bishop in Munich, I never heard of him.) The Catholic Church in Bavaria was known for being more reactionary than anywhere else in Germany; I would describe them as having never really accepted that the Church no longer had supreme and unquestionable authority and kind of longing for a return to the Middle Ages.

    Germany does not have separation of Church and State, and since Bavaria is majority Catholic, most of the hospitals, schools, day-care centers, etc., are run by the Church (though tax-supported) and only open to members in good standing (meaning mainly that you pay your church taxes.) This gives the Church a great deal of leverage in people’s lives, which those of us who weren’t brainwashed Catholics resented a great deal.

    This is where Ratzinger came from, and it’s why, when he was elected, I saw it as a victory for the reactionaries in the Church. I’ve seen references to recent articles claiming that Ratzinger was trying to reform the Church, but I can only believe that their idea of “reform” is rather different from mine, or from many people in the Church (outside the power structure.)

    1. Rhoanna
      Rhoanna February 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm |

      Most of the details about his “reform” I’ve seen has been about details of Vatican governance. Slightly more transparency for Vatican finances, modifying some of how the Roman Curia works, that sort of thing. Nothing earth-shattering, and not the sort of reform many Catholics care about.

      1. TomSims
        TomSims February 12, 2013 at 6:52 pm |

        “Nothing earth-shattering, and not the sort of reform many Catholics care about.”

        And that is one of the many reasons people are leaving the Catholic Church in droves.

  11. chava
    chava February 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm |

    I would really love to believe that he’s stepping down because of his health.

    But come on now, no one–NO ONE–gives up that kind of power voluntarily. Or at least, it’s rare enough not to have been done in 600 years. I think the more relevant question is, what did he *do,* and who blackmailed him with it.

    1. Dittany
      Dittany February 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm |

      Actually he have an interview in 2010 to Peter Seewald in which he said that if a pope was unable to properly fulfil his duties he had an obligation to resign. Much as I dislike Benedict, he might be on the square here. Although, I am sure that the recent crises played a role in his decision.

      1. chava
        chava February 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm |

        And Obama said he wasn’t going to carry on with his predecessor’s foreign policy power plays….

        Sorry, not really buying it. I mean maybe, yes, this man is such a saint, so *godly* that he stepped down for the good of the Church. But it’s unlikely, is all I’m saying.

        1. Computer Soldier Porygon
          Computer Soldier Porygon February 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm |

          I think it’s likely if ‘health issues’ means dementia or Alzheimer’s or similar

        2. chava
          chava February 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm |

          Maybe, if he was pressured. Popes have held on through a lot worse than a little dementia. Then again, it ain’t exactly 1400 any more.

      2. zuzu
        zuzu February 13, 2013 at 2:39 pm | *

        Actually he have an interview in 2010 to Peter Seewald in which he said that if a pope was unable to properly fulfil his duties he had an obligation to resign.

        JPII said the same thing years before he became near-incapacitated by age and infirmity, but when the time came to follow through, he refused. So I do give Ratso some credit for actually resigning, IF it’s for health reasons.

        But I do suspect something else fishy going on.

    2. Dittany
      Dittany February 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm |

      Yup. Turns out you got it in one, Chava. Serves me right for presuming there could be anything remotely honest in the church.

  12. Wordwizard
    Wordwizard February 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm |

    I know it seems nice that he’s stepping down now, and we can never know the “real” reason––maybe it just stopped being FUN? Nah. However, the bottom line is, how do we know the NEXT Pope won’t be WORSE? + presumably, younger, and healthier, and in place LONGER? We in the USA won’t be living down our nice, young, right-wing Supreme Court Chief Justice any time soon, unless––are the believers among you praying for a bolt of lightening to keep striking these guys down young until a woman is appointed?

    1. Tim
      Tim February 12, 2013 at 7:53 pm |

      True — Timothy Dolan, for example, is only about 63, and he would probably be every bit as reactionary and hateful a Pope as Rat Singer, but (from what I hear) with charisma.

    2. Caperton
      Caperton February 12, 2013 at 11:54 pm | *

      There’s a saying about a “fat pope following a skinny pope,” about maintaining balance by electing a New pope who’s likely to balance out any issues from the last Pope. It’s an interesting concept, although it leaves open the question of what the cardinals will be perceive to be issues and how they might decide to balance them out.

  13. Wordwizard
    Wordwizard February 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm |

    (I forgot to click the “notify me of follow-up comments box.)

  14. karak
    karak February 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm |

    Putting aside all other concerns, more relevent-to-my-interests concerns:

    I feel weirdly sad for an old man leaving his job that he dedicated his life to, breaking centuries of tradition for whatever reason.

    That’s my overactive compassion lurching up–it often hits when people I don’t like or outright hate get some form of comeuppance. I’m not about to throw the Pope a pity party, but it is the end of an age, and I’m the sort that gets sentimental when that happens.

    On another, more practical note, I do hope there’s a chance for the Church to go forward in a meaningful, positive way. There are what, 1.2 billion Catholics in the world? And most of them find that the Faith lends meaning to their lives and community–I know a few lapsed Catholics that don’t believe in Jesus or Mary but miss the community and the ritual of the Church. I would love to see the Church really invest itself in being a force for good in so many communities, to step up and actually take it’s place at the forefront of human rights, compassion, and charity.

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl February 12, 2013 at 4:34 pm |

      As a former Catholic, I have to say I have zero compassion for Ratzinger and am thrilled that he has resigned his Papacy. Seriously, good riddance to the old bastard. He singularly went about dismantling any progress towards modernity and openness that had previously been achieved in the seventies and eighties. He will not be missed.

    2. (BFing) Sarah
      (BFing) Sarah February 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm |

      I know a few lapsed Catholics that don’t believe in Jesus or Mary but miss the community and the ritual of the Church.

      Yup, that’s me. I wish the community wasn’t so f-ing corrupt and bigoted. I wish it didn’t continuously fill me with shame because of its hateful actions. And I wish that it didn’t involve God or Jesus. Oh well. SIGH.

    3. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan February 14, 2013 at 4:34 pm |

      I would love to see the Church really invest itself in being a force for good in so many communities, to step up and actually take it’s place at the forefront of human rights, compassion, and charity.

      Its place? “Human rights, compassion, and charity” have never been the Church’s place.

    4. Niall
      Niall February 15, 2013 at 3:20 pm |

      @karak:

      I know a few lapsed Catholics that don’t believe in Jesus or Mary but miss the community and the ritual of the Church.

      And I would count myself among them. I was raised Catholic until I was seventeen and stopped attending services. Except for my sister’s wedding, I haven’t set foot in a RC church in over twenty years. But I missed the sense of community, caring and charity that a church can foster. That’s why I became a Unitarian. That’s also why I have close ties to the neo-pagan community

      I would love to see the Church really invest itself in being a force for good in so many communities, to step up and actually take it’s place at the forefront of human rights, compassion, and charity.

      The other main reason I became a UU. The UU church has a well documented history in playing an active and prominent role in all the civil rights campaigns of (at least) the last fifty years. They’re among the few that recognize same sex marriages and will perform those rituals. And not only do they ordain women as ministers, the vast majority of UU congregations in North America are headed by women. Plus I like the fact that they welcome atheists into their congregation. As they say “UU is a religion for atheists who are lonely on Sunday mornings.”

  15. TomSims
    TomSims February 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm |

    The Catholic Church is on its way out in the U.S. IMO. Churches in my are are closing frequently as church enrollment shrinks to new lows.

  16. Cliff T. Montgomery
    Cliff T. Montgomery February 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm |

    This is some of the best Pope hate on the interwebz thus far. My only concern is that we won’t have any left when the old bugger kicks off!

  17. Athenia
    Athenia February 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm |

    Now if only the Catholic Church could extended the same dignity and bodily autonomy to women/minorities that the pope is entitled to, we’ll be getting somewhere.

    1. Kasabian
      Kasabian February 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm |

      Is minorities really the correct term? I mean, non-whites make up pretty huge chunk of the catholic church at this point, right? Which makes their systematic oppression all the more insane, really.

      1. Athenia
        Athenia February 12, 2013 at 10:17 pm |

        Yeah, I’m not sure what term would encapsulate all of the church’s douchbaggery. That was the first thing that came to mind. But having said that, I doubt they’ll elect a pope from the global south/a pope of color.

        1. bleh
          bleh February 13, 2013 at 8:07 pm |

          They might elect a Pope from Africa as the priests from many countries on that continent are conservative enough to fit the current trend, while priests from the US and Europe often are not.

  18. Kasabian
    Kasabian February 12, 2013 at 4:54 pm |

    It’s depressing how little this will change anything, as Shanley points out.

    It’s terrifying how much power the position of “Pope” still holds. I can’t think of any religious leader that holds as much power in the modern day and age.

    1. Kasabian
      Kasabian February 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm |

      Also, as a side note, I didn’t even realize Sith Lords could retire!

      Hopefully some other nerd scholar can back me up on this, but I thought Sith Lords just wielded absolute, terrifying power until the day their more powerful apprentice struck them down and took their place…

      1. dawnofthenerds
        dawnofthenerds February 13, 2013 at 12:40 am |

        It’s been a shitty day, and this made me giggle, thank you. That and a few crossed wires texting a friend today lead to mental images of the pope playing volleyball and blocking with his fancy hat.

  19. Some Prof
    Some Prof February 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm |

    Agreed about stepping down when it’s time. Interestingly, the last two people to retire in my department retired “on top” so to speak, while they were engaging teachers and fully contributing to the long term health of the department — so it’s kind of a shame they retired when they did. Meanwhile, we have two other faculty members who should retire …

  20. McMike
    McMike February 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm |

    Everyone knew he was just a filler pope.

    1. Kasabian
      Kasabian February 12, 2013 at 7:03 pm |

      LOL, what constitutes a “filler pope”? :)

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm |

        Clearly, the next pope will eat Benedict as a sacred meal before the ascension ritual. (This incidentally explains why so few popes resign.)

        1. Kasabian
          Kasabian February 12, 2013 at 7:41 pm |

          Sounds about right!

      2. Eleanor Forman
        Eleanor Forman February 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm |

        A “filler Pope” is when the conclave can’t agree on which of the main candidates to choose, so they agree to waffle by appointing someone old, who won’t be in the position long, so they can then revisit the question later. Of course, a “filler Pope” can do plenty of unlooked for harm, and/or live much longer than expected….

        1. thinksnake
          thinksnake February 12, 2013 at 11:10 pm |

          Quite – John XXIII was seen as a ‘filler Pope’, and ended up initiating Vatican II. At the other extreme, John Paul I was expected to rule for many years, but ended up dying after only 33 days. You can never really tell what’s going to happen.

      3. victoria
        victoria February 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm |

        When he was elected, it was widely speculated that his advanced age was a major factor, because the pattern of electing popes tends to be a younger pope with a long reign, followed by picking one who will lead for a shorter period of time, a sort of readjustment period. If “filler pope” doesn’t suit you, I also saw him referred to as the “palette cleanser” pope.

        1. Kasabian
          Kasabian February 12, 2013 at 8:10 pm |

          Huh. Interesting. Does he count as a “palette cleanser” even if he left a bad taste in your mouth? :-)

        2. victoria
          victoria February 12, 2013 at 8:27 pm |

          Does he count as a “palette cleanser” even if he left a bad taste in your mouth? :-)

          Perhaps it’s a cheese course, with old, smelly cheese?

  21. Origami
    Origami February 12, 2013 at 7:45 pm |

    “No doubt the Pope’s stepping down is related to the release of 12,000 pages of internal documents related to child sex abuse in the church, and his role in the cover-up.”

    If you believe that’s why he is stepping down, you are blinded by your personal involvements and beliefs, and your need to somehow claim his resignation as a victory for your views, as though he was defeated and his resignation is your trophy.

    Get a grip.

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 9:22 pm |

      Have you considered getting a grip yourself on an elusive idea called “sarcasm”? I know it’s very cutting-edge and feministifying and all, but you can. I promise.

    2. Donna L
      Donna L February 12, 2013 at 9:28 pm |

      a victory for your views, as though he was defeated and his resignation is your trophy

      What views would those be? The anti-child sex abuse views? I’m sure we all admit to those. What are yours? That it’s all slander and libel? The Holy Mother Church is triumphant and incapable of wrongdoing by definition? It’s gay people’s fault? It’s those damn Jews making trouble again? Or, maybe, everyone else does it? He was shocked — shocked! — to learn what’s been going on all these centuries? Some other random form of excuse-making?

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 9:32 pm |

        Clearly the Pope was unmanned by an LGBT Jewish woman. This incorporates all the theories.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm |

          …………DONNA IT WAS YOU WASN’T IT. YOU TOOK OFF YOUR GLASSES AND BECAME THE DEPOPER. I KNOW YOU.

        2. Amelia the Lurker
          Amelia the Lurker February 12, 2013 at 9:58 pm |

          +1

          Donna is a new superhero, the Depoper. She’s like Tony Stark—she doesn’t even need a secret identity.

      2. EG
        EG February 12, 2013 at 9:47 pm |

        Donna is indeed Super Woman!

      3. Donna L
        Donna L February 12, 2013 at 10:11 pm |

        Would that it were all true! I’d love to be able to Depope at will. And to topple other unsavory dictators just by taking off my glasses (how did you know I wear glasses?!) and directing magical thoughts their way.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 10:13 pm |

          LOL – like calls to like I guess! (Glasses wearer that is, not depoper :P )

  22. A4
    A4 February 12, 2013 at 8:14 pm |

    Oh man I do not like the Pope and I think he sucks. Nothing he does is great, it’s all just awful.

  23. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 9:34 pm |

    The Vatican City’s been…depopeulated.

    Had to get it out of my system, sorry.

    1. Amelia the Lurker
      Amelia the Lurker February 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm |

      I’ll let it slide because of the awesome revelation about Donna being the Depoper.

  24. hotpot
    hotpot February 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm |

    William had an excellent characterization of the Catholic church here several weeks ago– something about giving a pittance to the poor while keeping up massive churches for themselves–, and it still frequently comes to mind now. And I’ve always seen Ratzinger as a conservative because of how his theological opinions were presented back when he ascended to the Papacy; the Catholic Church is going to need far more radical reforms than what he’s implemented to reverse its long term stagnation.

  25. Henry
    Henry February 13, 2013 at 1:37 am |

    This is actually bad news – Benedict was driving people away from the Church. The main contenders emerging are in growth areas for the Church like Africa. An African pope will unleash untold havoc on that continent as it will drive yet more people covert to a religion that prohibits the use of condoms and just about anything else that is good on this Earth.

    1. zuzu
      zuzu February 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm | *

      There’s no way they’ll have an African pope. Africa and Latin America may be where the bodies are, but the money is in Europe and North America, and that money would probably dry up if they put a black man in charge.

      1. Henry
        Henry February 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm |

        I pray that you are right.

      2. Wordwizard
        Wordwizard February 14, 2013 at 1:16 am |

        Wasn’t it a big deal that they chose a GERMAN, as opposed to an Italian or Polish Pope? Good grief, they’re still talking in LATIN!

  26. gwyllion
    gwyllion February 13, 2013 at 10:46 am |

    and then there is always this:
    http://vimeo.com/11338327

    1. Tim
      Tim February 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm |

      OMFG!! COFFEEWATERBEANSANDRICE MEGASNARF LOLZ!!!

  27. tygor
    tygor February 14, 2013 at 6:41 am |

    I am a German Catholic feminist, and as such I am always quite amazed how different Catholics in other – especially non-European – regions appear to be. I don’t mean to be a mansplainer, as I’m female after all and usually tend to call out posters on other blogs or forums for doing so. Since there seems to be so much hate against the Catholic church in other parts of the world, I feel like letting you know about my experiences.

    I’m a cradle Catholic and my family has always been “strictly Catholic” (although a couple of Protestants have married in now and then, my husband for one). I went to church every Sunday most of my life and have had mandatory Catholic religious education for most of my school years.

    No Pastor, no church official has ever told me or the other kids in school or church that you can’t use contraceptives. My Catholic religion teacher was a feminist. Our local Pastor, who calls himself a socialist, frequently held Mass with exclusively female altar servers to protest the current role women in the church. I have had a bunch of gay Catholic friends, one of which was afraid of his parents finding out and the gossip it would start in the small town he was living in.

    Now, I have American relatives that we visited last year. My American SIL asked her Pastor if she may use contraceptives. He told her she’ll go to hell if she uses the pill. Her father has been systematically searching her car for signs of her using birth control. I can’t imagine that anyone here that I know would have even come to the idea to ask their Pastor if they can go on the pill. The American Catholics also appear to be quite fiercely anti-gay, to say it diplomatically.

    I’m not saying everything is just fine the way it is in the church, but most non-Catholics fail to realize how much has changed and is still changing. Besides that, there seem to be obvious differences between Catholics in different regions. I went to church in the US and Canada, and in both places the churches were plastered with political flyers and anti-abortion as well as anti-gay messages, something that I couldn’t really imagine here.

    As for Benedict XVI, I can’t see why people expected any major reforms from him, considering the times he grew up in and his role as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II. I remember that on his election in 2005 they called him a bridge-Pope, meaning that he was not expected to be in long in office before being replaced by a younger successor.

    He is not a reformer, but I appreciate him greatly as a true intellectual. He has publicly asked people to forgive him for his mistakes. He is only human, after all.

    Furthermore, I don’t know where the allegations come from that Benedict himself tried to cover up the rape cases. Read the following excerpt from Wikipedia for his actions on that matter:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XVI#Sexual_abuse_in_the_Catholic_Church

    1. zuzu
      zuzu February 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm | *

      1) You need to distinguish between American Catholics and the U.S. Bishops. Most American Catholics pretty much ignore the teachings of the bishops on birth control and gays and other issues. Your SIL is not representative of all American Catholics, and if her father is any indication of how she was raised, she has undoubtedly been raised in an authoritarian household and has been raised to be obedient, which has less to do with “American Catholicism” and more to do with authoritarianism in general.

      2) Wikipedia has its limitations. I suggest you look up some primary sources with that wonderful Google device if you’re curious about why Ratzinger is charged with being part of the coverup. Even if he didn’t personally get involved with the coverup, it happened on his watch (both as the head of the Inquisition and as Pope). Do you think he had nothing to do with the recall to and harboring of Cardinal Law to Rome before he could face the secular authorities’ questions about his role in the massive abuses in the Archdiocese of Boston? Not to mention, you may want to actually read some of his statements and pastoral letters and the reactions to them. I suggest you look into what the Irish think of his letter to them after the extent of the abuse there and the role of the church in it was made known.

      1. TomSims
        TomSims February 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm |

        ” Most American Catholics pretty much ignore the teachings of the bishops on birth control and gays and other issues. Your SIL is not representative of all American Catholics, and if her father is any indication of how she was raised, she has undoubtedly been raised in an authoritarian household and has been raised to be obedient, which has less to do with “American Catholicism” and more to do with authoritarianism in general.”

        I can only speak for myself, but I was raised in a Catholic household and it and the Church was very oppressive to me , all of my relatives and friends. And the area way back then was heavily Catholic, as much as 90%. These days I’d estimate about 25% or less.

        1. zuzu
          zuzu February 14, 2013 at 7:36 pm | *

          Feeling that a religion or a religious home is oppressive to you in general is not the same thing as a) a woman old enough to take birth control feeling like she has to run that decision by her priest; and then b) her father conducting “systematic” searches of her car for birth control, despite the fact that she could well be an adult.

          Her father is an authoritarian. She has learned, having been raised by an authoritarian, to seek approval from authority for her decisions and to obey that authority. It just so happens that the religion they practice is itself authoritarian and can thus be used as a justification for the father’s actions and as an authority from whom to seek approval.

          There are any number of substitute authorities used by authoritarians to justify their need for control. Catholicism is one, but there are plenty of others, including the overwhelming majority of religions and many political groups.

          More to the point, just because there is a central authority in a religion, it doesn’t mean that all followers are authoritarians. Many mouth their pieties and then go do whatever the hell they want. 98% of Catholic women use contraceptives, after all, which is only 1% off the percentage in the general population.

          Of course, the story sounds a little fishy to me. In what universe would a good Catholic girl would be unaware of the Church’s stance on contraceptives to the point where she actually asked her priest if it was okay to take them? If this was asked in confession, the priest violated the confessional to tell her father. Methinks the problem may well be that her father is a controlling jackwagon, not that “American Catholics” are so much less cool than the German Catholics.

      2. Wordwizard
        Wordwizard February 14, 2013 at 6:41 pm |

        Wikipedia needs people to edit pages like that to make them conform with reality. Why don’t YOU bring your knowledge to bear on the task? Susan Gerbic (Friend her on Facebook.) is specifically looking for skeptical editors to address all the scientific woo out there, but she would probably be quite willing to train you too.

      3. tygor
        tygor February 16, 2013 at 8:05 am |

        LOL, now I’m getting dissed for being mean to the poor American Catholics. Always those evil Europeans!

        Don’t talk down to me like I’m a history denier, furthermore I’m not an illiterate. Yes, I’m quite able to use the “wonderful Google device”. Zuzu, please give me any concrete info why Ratzinger himself is responsible for the rapings. Did I say he is the shining knight to make right everything that’s wrong with the church? Heck, no! But to say that he is personally responsible dilutes your otherwise important message.

        1. Tim
          Tim February 18, 2013 at 11:42 am |

          For one thing, he is sheltering the fugitive Bernard Cardinal Law, formerly of Boston, beyond the reach of extradition, in the Vatican.

        2. zuzu
          zuzu February 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm | *

          Zuzu, please give me any concrete info why Ratzinger himself is responsible for the rapings.

          My, my. Look at that goalpost running off there. Quite fleet, it is.

          Here’s what you initially threw out as a challenge:

          Furthermore, I don’t know where the allegations come from that Benedict himself tried to cover up the rape cases. Read the following excerpt from Wikipedia for his actions on that matter:

          So you’ve gone from asking for proof that Ratzinger himself covered up the rape cases to proof that Ratzinger “himself is responsible for the rapings.”

          A bit dishonest, but then, you *are* defending a worldwide criminal coverup because — well, why, exactly? So you can feel good about not walking away from Omelas?

          But let’s treat your question(s) as a serious one. We could start with some of the links in this post I wrote last year.

          And in particular, let’s look at:

          Ratzinger’s failure to act when directly petitioned by an archbishop in Wisconsin to begin disciplinary proceedings against Fr. Lawrence Murphy, who abused over 200 boys in his care between 1950 and 1974. Ratzinger has been named in a lawsuit by Murphy’s victims because he did not act to defrock Murphy when the archbishop petitioned him to (and when he had responsibility for doing so within the Vatican);

          This wasn’t the first time this had happened, either: in 1981, a diocese in Oakland had requested the removal of a priest, Stephen Kiesle, who had already been sentenced to probation for lewd conduct with two boys in 1978. Ratzinger sat on the request, writing a letter in 1985 saying that the Church had to be protected when considering cases like this, and not getting around to defrocking Kiesle until 1987. Kiesle later molested a girl and was sentenced to prison;

          Despite the known involvement of Cardinal Law in the massive cover-up of abuse in Boston, Ratzinger — you know, the guy whose former job involved the investigation of sexual abuse — welcomed Law to the Vatican and kept him there in a nice cushy job, safe from extradition and civil suit;

          A priest in Germany was recently accused of sexual abuse of children. Well, guess who the archbishop who granted him leniency and allowed him to continue to prey on children was?

          Ratzinger’s infamous 2001 letter to the world’s bishops, in which he directed the bishops to keep sexual abuse cases secret (which has been a long-standing policy) for at least 10 years on threat of excommunication. Why is the 10 years significant? Because in most cases, the statute of limitations for sexual abuse starts to run when the victim turns 18. If the bishops can keep the victims in-house and slow-walk them for 10 years, in many cases the victims will not be able to sue for damages. It is because of this that many US states have eliminated the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse claims — and reversing that (and preventing other states from following suit) is now the number one legislative priority of the US bishops, who don’t act independently.

          More recently, as pope, Ratso declined to cooperate with Ireland’s commission investigating the sexual abuse scandal there, and pressured the government into granting immunity to its officials.

          Is that enough for you, or shall I go on?

        3. zuzu
          zuzu February 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm | *

          LOL, now I’m getting dissed for being mean to the poor American Catholics. Always those evil Europeans!

          Actually, I’m pointing out that you’re stereotyping American Catholics and painting them all with the same brush while you want us all to acknowledge how special your own church is. And now you’re projecting that stereotyping onto me. I said nothing about “evil Europeans.” I said nothing about Europeans, in fact. I simply pointed out that you were lumping all American Catholics in with the bishops, or at the very least conflating your SIL with all American Catholics.

          If you take any of that to be a reflection on all Europeans, evil or not, that’s your affair.

    2. (BFing) Sarah
      (BFing) Sarah February 14, 2013 at 2:32 pm |

      I am a cradle Catholic. I am American, but I lived in Germany and attended church on an army base for some of my youth. I was ALWAYS taught that birth control is forbidden and although most people ignore that, it is still taught by Catholic priests here and abroad (our priest was a lovely man, but he was on board with no birth control…oh, and he was Dutch, not American). My family belonged to a “liberal” church here in the U.S. when we got back to the states…yet, we did still have anti-choice sermons and lectures about how birth control is actually abortion. The fact is: none of this matters. The Catholic Church is supposed to be ONE. ONE entity under the authority of the Pope. That means that when you profess to be a Catholic, you profess to believe in a number of crazy things including that the Pope is infallible. You can say “Well MY church didn’t do x, y, and z…but it doesn’t matter. The Church as a whole DOES. I understand loving your particular church community, and I really miss that and get that completely, but to say that because there are a few places around the globe (mostly in Europe, apparently) where Catholics are not anti-choice, racist, anti-woman, anti-LBGT equality and THAT is what matters? That’s ridiculous. The hierarchy of the church is set up so that what the leadership says and does IS what matters.

      And to argue that anyone in a leadership position of the church is not complicit and, at times, directly responsible, for the rape of children is ignorant, plain and simple. In fact, I feel responsible for the rapes of children, given the fact that I stuck my head in the sand and ignored the scandal surrounding the church and continued to attend and give money to the church. The lack of uprising and outrage and disgust and revolt among parishioners fills me with shame. You need to educate yourself on the cover up before proudly proclaiming your Catholicism and the innocence of ex-Pope Benedict. I suggest reading Losing My Religion and watching Deliver Us From Evil and Sex Crimes of the Vatican.

  28. Phil Perspective
    Phil Perspective February 15, 2013 at 11:45 pm |

    I know this is late to the party but did anyone see that Benny appointed a fellow sketchy German to run the Vatican Bank(which is mired in a lot of scandal itself)? Weird how he does that as one of his last official acts on the way out.

  29. Raja
    Raja February 16, 2013 at 6:18 am |

    Fuck the Vatican and fuck the Pope. Thats really all i have to say

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