Pope Emeritus Benedict’s vow of silence broken

In modifying a 1972 essay on divorced and remarried Catholics, Pope Emeritus Benedict may be breaking his retirement vow to not the play an active role in Church affairs.

In 1972, Fr Joseph Ratzinger originally wrote that marriage was indissoluble in the eyes of the Church, but if a “second marriage has proven to have taken on a moral and ethical dimension” and is “lived in the spirit of the faith”, with “moral obligations” towards children and wife, then an opening of communion after a period of probation “seems to be nothing more than just and completely following the line of church tradition”.

The original essay is circulating again in Church circles and when considering the recent Church Synod on the Family has been quoted regularly by Cardinal Walter Kasper.

Ratzinger has now redacted the fourth volume of his writings to exclude the controversal paragraphs.

Fr Vincent Twomey, one of Ratzinger’s former doctorate students, suggested the omission was a “significant” attempt by the former pope to prevent his earlier words – written in a different context, time and role – being used against him now.

“Theologians must be free to push the boundaries, as Ratzinger was doing 42 years ago,” said Fr Twomey. “His position [now] is quite different, but his statement from then is now being given added authority through his later position as pope.”

In announcing his retirement due to advanced age, the former Pope said his strengths were no longer suited to the adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry and that he wished to devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

Sources

News category: World.

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