joseph ratzinger

A Response from a Woman in Germany to "The Pope's War."

This very moving response to my book holds, I believe, many lessons for others about what bad religion does to the soul.  With the poet's kind permission I reprint it here because I believe it also holds truths that can heal many others.  Feel free to respond with comments of your own to this moving and heart-felt piece.  It came to me by way of Joanna Macy who is a friend both of the author and of myself (thus the references to "Joanna").
Thank you.

Matthew Fox


April 2012

Coming from Gratitude

My heart is so over flowingly full that I don’t know where to start, Joanna. And I should actually write this letter to Matthew Fox, to this courageous, truly Christian “whistle-blower”. He would rejoice to have freed once again another human child with his book about Ratzinger. May God protect him and bless him every day!

What immeasurable suffering in the name of God does he impeach! I bow to all the humans on the earth – and especially in South America – that since the Second Vatican Council have been abused, ridiculed, betrayed, condemned, persecuted, tormented, killed for their integrity and mercifulness, for their compassion and sense of justice by the church and politics. They believed in the good in humanity and in the creation.
This is closeness to God, true closeness to God!

Honoring my Pain for the Child

Compared to this, my suffering is small. But it is the suffering of an entire life. And although I very consciously tried to protect my children from this, I still passed it unconsciously and unwillingly on to them. I can perceive i when I see their efforts to be worthy of love and respect.

Ratzinger, the High Inquisitor …

I find him: in my father, -who denounced me even before I could say “I”; -who beat my bottom as a child until black and blue with a wooden spoon; -who determined the length of my skirts, when other girls where wearing miniskirts; -who let someone examine my virginity and sent a detective after me; -who let me feel day after day, that I am the wrong daughter – lazy, dishonest and rotten to my very core. Ratzinger, the High Inquisitor …

I find him: in my mother, -who never protected me, -who never rejoiced over me or with me, -who never inquired after Tomas, my children or my work, -who condemned my life relentlessly -who disinherited me and lied to me about it nine years long.

Ratzinger, the High Inquisitor …

I find him: in my brother, -who fought the “antichrist” in me, -who found me guilty of depravity and conspiracy against his church, -who used the inheritance of our parents to punish me for my impiety, -who promised “to force me on to a park bench as broken vagrant in my old age”.

Well, my father died early. But my mother and my brother became fervent followers of Pope Wojtyla. And then of Ratzinger, whose books were their bibles which gave them arguments and judgments whose subtlety and cynicism I could never understand.

But, Joanna, it’s not as if it was only after the influence of Wojtyla and Ratzinger that my family became so fundamentalist, self-righteous and callous. My parents had been like this before. Now I believe, |that they had retained all of that from the times of National Socialism and into the post-war era: their zombielike obedience to higher authorities, their intolerance of dissidents, their habit of looking for the enemy outside themselves and to propagate their worldview as the only one that’s valid.

And in God’s representatives on earth, Wojtyla and Ratzinger, my mother and my brother finally found divine confirmation of their narrow-mindedness and heartlessness.

Seeing with New Eyes

None of this is new. New is the insight of how deep in my being, in the way I am these convictions are grounded: That I am the wrong daughter. That deep in myself I am so evil and guilty, that not even my father and my mother could love me. That I never do enough. That I never try hard enough. That I don’t listen enough to others. That I only think about myself. That my compassion is nothing but silly sentiment. That I don’t understand enough and don’t love enough. That I deserve to be ostracized and punished.

I look back on my life and see clearer than ever how these convictions have contaminated my whole life, my feelings and actions. Have I ever done anything that was good and beautiful enough? Have I ever sung full-throatedly? Have I ever danced without watching myself critically? Have I ever loved without feeling guilty of not loving enough? Have I ever trusted someone so much, that I wasn’t waiting for the next attack? Have I ever allowed myself to become convinced that I am loveable? Did I believe myself when I was happy? Did I believe myself when I was in deep pain Have I ever rejoiced in being born as the person Marliese? Have I ever celebrated myself? Have I ever known the simple and unclouded joy of being?

This person Ratzinger hasn’t come unto me from the outside. I have cut my teeth on him. And through fatherly violence he became manifest. I couldn’t perceive him because he was part of my perception. Perhaps you can compare it to a canvas screen On to which my whole life is projected like a movie. It is not and never has been my life which was stained and overshadowed. It was the canvas screen itself … All my shame, my self-doubts and self-contempt, my self-condemnation and self-aggression are the shadow of the catholic God on the canvas screen of my life. How many years of my life have been shaped by the futile attempt to realize and understand all of this!

With his analysis of Ratzinger Matthew has opened my eyes. He has returned to me a part of my life. He has bestowed my lost liveliness back on me. This is one of the happiest moments of my life! It’s a redemption!

Going Forth

But there is and always has been a memory in my life, Very hazy and fleeting, buried under pangs of conscience and feelings of guilt. It’s the memory of how it felt to wake up on a beautiful summer morning with an unfounded thrill of anticipation and in the trust of being God’s beloved and protected child. Even now, when I try to describe this memory, it seems to fade away with each word. Perhaps it comes from a time where I didn’t have words for it. It’s the memory of the moment of simple grace. Moments of the divine child, “the one up there” or the universe rejoices over. The moments, Johanna, that I was allowed to spend with you during the last 26 years come very close to that. But as consistent moments that belong to my awareness of life I thought to have lost them forever. But are they really lost, Signora Pavacini?

When I watch the movie of my life with keen eyes now it seems to have always been torn between: the God of my family: the controlling and relentless and punishing God and the God of my spiritual longing: the curious and smiling and unconditionally loving God. But the God of my spiritual longing has never left me. He guided me to the Lake Neusiedl and into the puszta, to the gypsies and their music, to the Beatles, to Francois Villon, to Jack Kerouac, Bertrand Russell, John Lilly, Timothy Leary and Ram Dass, to Castaneda, to Tomas and Nina and Sarah, to Lama Govinda and Ernest Callenbach, to the sufis and the Advaita Vedanta, to Ghandi, to Ramana Maharshi and Krishnamurti, to the Indians of North America, to the shamans of Africa, to the soil in my garden, to the nightingale, to the people of Tibet, to deep ecology, to the castors in Gorleben, to the shaft Konrad and to the Asse, to Kathleen, to Joanna at so many places where people meet.

What wild abundance have I received to celebrate the diversity of the world and of humans! Yet there is something very important missing: the way into the ugly center of power of the Catholicism of my origins, the way into the netherworld of a Josef Ratzinger. Not even the Tibetans could offer me refuge from that. I’ve always run away from that.

So perhaps it was the loving God of my spiritual longing who has sent me now to you, Joanna, and like you fulfilled my desires in so many years – even those you didn’t know about – even those I didn’t know about – you fulfilled my desire for healing with your presence and finally with this book from Matthew Fox.

I can only thank you, Joanna, and Matthew Fox than in preserving and sharing the light that has risen in my heart day by day.

"The Pope's War" Book Reviews from Germany

Matthew Fox's "The Pope's War" came out in German in September. Below are three reviews from Germany about the book. An Italian version should be released next year.

Much Truth and Insights into Ratzinger’s Style of Leadership: A Review from Germany

M. Plotzki

This book is a must-read for every Catholic and interested Christian because it points out Ratzinger’s schemings and his way of fraudulently concealing facts in clear and factual language without becoming spiteful or biased.  (My compliments to the translator for the excellent translation.)

The book explains a “theology of obedience” that affects our every day lives.  A theology that conceals crimes against children and teenagers, deliberately keeps them secret and even shields, protects and promotes the bishops and cardinals involved.  Ratzinger argues for compassion where openness and justice should be called for. Is this an “intact theology.” one that can reach people and is open and willing to reform?

This book, that I highly recommend to every interested and questioning person, raises serious concerns in me and stirs me up.  As a former member of the Roman Catholic Church, I too belong to those Christians who lament the deterioration of a society that with this behavior sees itself deprived of another one of its supports.  The great amount of people leaving this institution point the same way.

Here and all over the world we find many examples showing how the Vatican operates--Ratzinger has silenced good theologians who had been teaching inspiring, stimulating messages – for instance in the issue of women’s rights - that could bring change. This has been done by dismissing them from the church against their own will.  This book explains the background and mechanisms involved in these cases. Matthew Fox, for whom I wish many readers for his book, belongs to this group of theologians compromised by the Vatican.

Perhaps this book will lead to an enhanced exchange between its readers, so that together we can focus on these grievances!  That would be desirable! As always change can only be brought about when we ourselves as members of our society become active and express ourselves!

Clarification and Truth About Ratzinger: A Review from Germany

Bernd Wagenbach, director of studies (retired)

Helga Simon-Wagenbach

For a long time I have critically studied the history of the church and vigilantly watched the scandalous ideas and activities from Ratzinger that have nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. Of all the publications dealing with these problems, the outstanding book “Ratzinger und sein Kreuzzug”(in English, “The Pope’s War”) by Matthew Fox is particularly worth reading.

It contains very interesting information about the current pope including some that is to this point unknown and appalling – for example information concerning Opus Dei and the Legion of Christ.  Such an extraordinary and thrilling book as this, that serves the purpose of clarification and truth, should be warmly recommended like hardly any other!  It most definitely deserves a much larger dissemination.

Pope Benedict XVI– A Man of War and a “Murderer”of Theology? A Review from Germany

Roland R. Ropers

philosopher of religion and publicist

The American theologian and former Dominican Monk Matthew Fox, who is known worldwide, describes with brilliant clarity Ratzinger’s thirty year long dictatorship in the Vatican and his part in the cover-up of pedophile scandals and inquisition-like crusades against a large number of theologians and spiritual teachers who don’t conform to his political views and his course back into the religious Dark Ages.

It is obvious that Joseph Ratzinger has exchanged his soul for power.  Matthew Fox refers to Pope Benedict XVI as a “murderer of theology” and a “man of war.”  The current book of the now 71 year old professor of Creation Spirituality is appalling and illustrates how fraudulent and far from Christ the institution of the Roman-Catholic “faith corporation” has been steered.

At the end of his diagnosis Matthew Fox, among other things, points out 25 tangible steps for the revitalization of Christian communities.  Everyone who still relies on Pope Benedict and the cardinals, bishops and priests enslaved by him should very attentively read this book. It is about the urgently needed revolution of spirituality.

101 Reasons for not Canonizing Pope John Paul II

Pope Benedict XVI is in a big hurry to canonize his former boss Pope John Paul II, who hired him as Director of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition) in 1981 and stood by him for 23 years as he brought back the Inquisition contrary to the letter and spirit of Vatican II. Following are 101 reasons not to rush.

1. The very tradition of canonization was seriously compromised under JPII when the office of devil’s advocate was done away with.  An immediate pay off was the unprecedently swift canonization of Fr. Jose Escriva, founder of Opus Dei. A woman who worked closely with Escriva for 13 years and wrote a book that detailed his fits of anger, pique, sexist attacks and more was denied any appearance at the proceedings.  As were those who heard him say he admired Hitler.

2. Special privileges were bestowed directly from JPII to Fr. Maciel, notorious for having on the one hand raised more money than anyone in church history but on the other having sexually abused over 20 of his seminarians. Even after these facts were made public, Pope JPII supported the man and his organization, the Legion of Christ, ordaining dozens of Maciel’s priests in large public events in St Peter’s square. As it turned out, he had two wives on the side and sexually abused his four children (three boys and a girl).  Maciel was a fierce supporter of Chilean dictator Pinochet who murdered over 700 priests, nuns and lay leaders.  Numerous other covering-up of pedophile clergy around the world occurred on Pope JPII’s watch as continued news articles make clear.

3. Pope JPII, with Ratzinger leading the attack, dismantled and emasculated what was probably the most Christ-like movement in the past 500 years of church history, namely the base community movement and liberation theology movements of Latin America.  Instead of supporting the poor and those standing with them in Jesus’ name, JPII replaced the brave and justice-committed church leaders (such as Oscar Romero) with those committed to the fortunes of the rich and powerful.

4. Pope JPII emasculated the most alive liturgical movements in Europe, namely those of the Dutch Catholic Church and forbade Bishop Casigalida to offer an Afro-Brazilian liturgy he  had created with Brazilian artists.

5. Pope JPII dumbed down the leadership of the church by appointing bishops whose sole qualification was that they were sure to be obedient Yes men.  This had everything to do with the priestly pedophilia scandal not being dealt with appropriately.

6. Pope JPII put the Virgin Mary on a pedestal but allowed women no responsibilities in the church, forbidding priests to use the feminine pronoun for God (as if the Divine Feminine is not just as important as the Divine Masculine) and even forbidding girls to be altar girls.

7. When he removed the condemnation of Galileo after 450 years, JPII commented that religion should learn from science.  Yet he fully concurred with Cardinal Ratzinger’s two documents that condemn homosexuals mercilessly and without any scientific backing (science having demonstrated that 8-10% of any given human population is going to be homosexual and 464 other species with homosexual populations have been revealed).

8. Pope JPII, contrary to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, eliminated the principle of collegiality along with theological diversity and freedom of conscience and lay leadership and substituted for it a Vatican dictatorship that claims all rights to appoint bishops and to teach as the only “magisterium” of the church.  He “killed all theology in Europe” according to a professor at the Institut catholique de Paris.  He confused “infallibility” with totalitarianism and ruled with an iron fist that would make Ghadaffy look proud.  A Vatican insider in JP II’s reign told me that “in front of the cameras he was very forgiving (as to his attempted assassin), but within the Vatican anyone who disagreed with anything was gone in 24 hours.”

9. Return of Simony.  Not only was the Maciel scandal awash in cash, but the pope’s private secretary, a Polish priest (now a cardinal), was charging $50,000 to attend private Masses with the Pope as reported by Jason Berry in the National Catholic Reporter.

10-101. Ninety-one theologians and activists from many countries were condemned under JPII’s pontificate, a good number of whom lost their livelihoods as well as their ministries, some suffered nervous breakdowns or died of heart attacks under the pressure imposed on them by Rome and rabid right wing attackers buttressed by the Vatican. To see the full list, visit this site's Wailing Wall.