Cardinal Ratzinger

Right to Work as a Religious Liberty Concern

With a new Republican governor and a legislature with a strong Republican majority, Missourians saw some changes this year coming out of their state capital. One of the quickest and most striking turnarounds had to do with right-to-work legislation. This had been a top priority for Show-Me Republicans for years, fought ardently by labor unions [...]

Father Benedict XVI is a Friend of Jesus Christ

On April 18, 2005, two days after he had just celebrated his 78th birthday, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger delivered the homily Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice to the College of Cardinals gathered at St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. As Dean of the College of Cardinals, it was Ratzinger’s responsibility to highlight to his brother cardinals some spiritual yardsticks that [...]

The Case for Ad Orientem Worship

“Father, why don’t you smile more at Mass?” It is a question that I am asked at least once every few months. The question is usually posed by a well-meaning older person while I am greeting the faithful after Mass, making every effort to prove that I am not one of the “little monsters” that [...]

When Ratzinger Said No: A History of the Kasper Proposal

Like the good German that he is, Cardinal Walter Kasper has a wonderful capacity of persistence. Like a dog with a bone, he is able to keep fighting against incredible odds long after a lesser man would have packed up his things and gone home. The case in point is, of course, the question of [...]

The Ongoing Dictatorship of Relativism

On March 22, 2013, Pope Francis addressed the Diplomatic Corps with a warning against the “tyranny of relativism.” He then explained his selection of the name Francis as in part stemming from St. Francis’ battle for peace, a peace which Pope Francis underscored was impossible without Truth. The necessary struggle for truth not only remains [...]

Benedict XVI and the Roots of Injustice

As 2015 rapidly surges ahead, crashing into us like the waves from Ephesians 4:14, it is tempting to simply view the state of things pragmatically—deep thinking and serious debating on the extraordinary circumstances of today’s world seems simply out of the question. While there is no shortage of opinions, the garrulous talking heads avoid any [...]

The New Homophiles: Some Reasons for Concern

 "We think primarily in earthly categories." These words from John Paul II’s 1985 Apostolic Letter Delecti Amici, addressed to the Youth of the World best sums up criticisms over the group of authors Austin Ruse has recently dubbed the “New Homophiles”: concerning sexual identity, they think primarily in earthly categories. In the same Apostolic Letter, [...]

Does Francis Really Have a Marxism Problem?

Last November Pope Francis issued his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium  (The Joy of the Gospel) and it immediately met resistance from some conservatives who charged Francis with Marxism. Francis denied the accusations, insisting there was nothing in the exhortation that contradicted the Church’s teaching on social doctrine. The attention brought to Marxism in the Catholic [...]

Pop Music as a Bridge to God?: Engaging Christopher West

 On the one hand, there is pop music … aimed at the phenomenon of the masses, is industrially produced, and ultimately has to be described as a cult of the banal. "Rock," on the other hand, is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, [...]

Rejoice and Evangelize: He is with Us and We Have Been Loved

Advent and Christmas celebrate the joy of a new life. Like an expectant mother, we wait, with bated breath, joyful anticipation and we brim over with excitement. For God is with us, He is soon to be born, Come, Come, Emmanuel! The Visitation of Mary is a joyful visit between cousins but also an encounter [...]

The Limitations of Buddhism: A Response to My Critics

“There’s little point in writing if you can’t annoy somebody.”   So wrote the late Kingsley Amis, one of the grand old curmudgeons of English letters who, over a long and highly combative literary career, managed to annoy just about everybody.  And while I do not aspire to the same heights of abrasiveness achieved by [...]

Want Religious Liberty? Live Your Faith

From the standpoint of Catholicism there is no more important right than religious liberty. It is the first of our freedoms. As Catholics, we cherish religious liberty because we have been made by God and for God—our hearts are restless, as Saint Augustine wrote, until they rest in Him. God gave us freedom so that [...]

Keeping Score: The Divine Meaning of Success

 Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend  With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.  Why do sinners’ ways prosper?  and why must  Disappointment all I endeavor end?                — Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. If success in this world, never mind the numerous and noisy proponents of the health and wealth gospel, [...]

Benedict’s Enduring Legacy: His Love for Beauty

It won’t be easy to find a champion of faith and reason as simple and as profound as Pope Benedict XVI. In his many speeches and homilies, in his numerous books, he distilled rich currents of intellectual thought into beautifully crafted words that spoke to the heart as well as to the mind. He did [...]

The Pope Who was Actually a Bear

In 1977, a frail, reluctant, 50-year-old college teacher was pressed by his confessor to accept appointment as Bishop of Munich. The job would take him from his beloved students and embroil him in ecclesial and political struggles for which he had little taste. Reluctantly, that good scholar, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, accepted the appointment. Unnoticed by [...]

Benedict’s Intellectual Mentors and Students

Henri de Lubac famously said of Hans Urs von Balthasar that he was the most cultured man in Europe of his time (1905-1988).  Von Balthasar grew up in a family where everyone spoke at least four languages and had a high level of musical education.  His father was a Church architect, his mother was in [...]

The Radical Return to Ratzinger

To many, Pope Benedict XVI is a radical: an old man clothed in capes, incurably fixed on forgotten principles of a forgotten world—principles that no longer apply to the “real world.” To others, Pope Benedict XVI is radical: a wise man clothed in Christ, inspiringly fixed on the roots, radix, of the world—principles that fundamentally [...]

Trigesimo Anno: Continuing Crisis

In its thirtieth year, Crisis could rest on its laurels. Across three decades it has been a leading participant in thoughtful Catholic engagement on the subjects of politics, business, culture, faith, and family life.

A Strange Attack from the New York Times

Since at least last March, the New York Times has been obsessed with a question: "What did Joseph Ratzinger know, and when did he know it?" At issue, of course, is the role played by Cardinal Ratzinger -- now Pope Benedict XVI -- in relation to the scandal of clergy sex abuse. It's a fair [...]

CDF to release revised norms for sex-abuse cases

John Allen reports that the Vatican will be streamlining the process by which sex-abuse cases are handled: The church’s current law in sex abuse cases was laid out in a 2001 document, known as a motu proprio, meaning under the pope’s personal authority, from Pope John Paul II, titled Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela. Sources say the new revisions [...]

Ratzinger vs. the Vatican

A New York Times story today sheds more positive light on Benedict's track record against abuse than we've seen in that paper of late. The article describes how then-Cardinal Ratzinger attempts to investigate abuse allegations made against an Austrian cardinal were often stymied by political factors inside the Vatican: In 1995, a victim came forward, [...]

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