05Mar Why the Pope REALLY quit

The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrung his hands above his head in triumph as he emerged as Pope on to the balcony of St Peter’s eight years ago. He had won! He had longed to be Pope. He has loved being Pope. He expected to die as Pope.
Two weeks ago he announced in Latin he wasn’t up to it any more. Up to what? He spent most of his time writing and took time off to tinkle on the piano and stroke his cat.
He’s been waited on hand and foot. He has his handsome secretary Georg Ganswein to do his every bidding.
There’s been talk of frailty, encroaching dementia, mortal illness. There’s been pious spin about a holy act of ‘humility’.
But one of his predecessors, sprightly Leo XIII, who died 110 years ago, went on until he was 93. Benedict knew from the start, aged 76, that he would grow old in office.
We’ve heard about the so-called papal ‘resignation’ almost 600 years ago. But there wasn’t one. There were three rival Popes back then, and one of them was a psychopath. They were sacked by a council of all the bishops and cardinals to get back to one Pope at a time. Since then, every Pope has died in office.
Resignation isn’t in Benedict’s vocabulary. The real reason he has quit is far more spectacular. It is to save the Catholic Church from ignominy: he has voluntarily delivered himself up as a sacrificial lamb to purge the Church of what he calls ‘The Filth’. And it must have taken courage.
Here is the remarkable thing you are seldom told about a papal death or resignation: every one of the senior office-holders in the Vatican – those at the highest level of its internal bureaucracy, called the Curia – loses his job.
A report Benedict himself commissioned into the state of the Curia landed on his desk in January. It revealed that ‘The Filth’ – or more specifically, the paedophile priest scandal – had entered the bureaucracy.
He resigned in early February. That report was a final straw. The Filth has been corroding the soul of the Catholic Church for years, and the reason is the power-grabbing ineptitude and secrecy of the Curia – which failed to deal with the perpetrators. Now the Curia itself stands accused of being part of The Filth.
Benedict realises the Curia must be reformed root and branch. He knows this is a mammoth task. He is too old, and too implicated, to clean it up himself. He has resigned to make way for a younger, more dynamic successor, untainted by scandal – and a similarly recast Curia.
Benedict was not prepared to wait for his own death to sweep out the gang who run the place. In one extraordinary gesture, by resigning, he gets rid of the lot of them. But what then?
The Curia are usually quickly reappointed. This time it may be different. It involves scores of departments, like the civil service of a middling-sized country. It has a Home and Foreign Office called the Secretariat of State. There’s a department that watches out for heresy – the former Holy Inquisition which under Cardinal Ratzinger dealt with, or failed to deal with, paedophile priests.
Benedict realises the Curia must be reformed root and branch. He knows this is a mammoth task. Two weeks ago Benedict announced in Latin he wasn’t up to it any more.
And there is a Vatican Bank, the dubiously named Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), which was rocked by scandal in the early Eighties for links with the mafia.
The Curia is a big operation. It maintains contact with all the bishops of the world, more than 3,000, in 110 countries. The Curia oversees the hundreds of thousands of priests who care for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. The flow of information, and money, in and out of the Vatican is prodigious.
What makes the bureaucrats different from normal executives is they don’t go home and have another life. Unless you’re a full cardinal, with a nice flat and housekeeper, you go back on a bus to the microwave and TV in a Vatican-owned garret. Rivalries between departments, vendettas between individuals, naked ambition, calumny, backstabbing and intrigues are endemic.
The former president of the Vatican Bank, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, once told me that the Curia is a ‘village of washerwomen. They wash clothes, punch ’em, dance on ’em, squeezing all the old dirt out’. But who was he to talk? In that same interview Marcinkus admitted he appropriated $250 million from the Vatican pension fund to pay a fine, levied by the Italian government, for financial misdemeanours. Amazingly, he saw nothing wrong with that.
Not surprisingly, some of the bureaucrats let off steam in unpriestly ways. Some are actively gay men who cannot normalise their lives with a partner because of Catholic teaching. They frequent discreet bars, saunas and ‘safe houses’. On another level there are individuals known to have a weakness for sex with minors. It appears the people who procure these sexual services have become greedy. They have been putting the squeeze on their priestly clients to launder cash through the Vatican. There is no suggestion that the bank has knowingly collaborated.
But in January, Italy’s central bank suspended credit-card activities inside Vatican City for ‘anti-money-laundering reasons’.
The Pope was already furious over the theft by his butler of private correspondence and top-secret papers last year. The thefts were probably an attempt to discover how much the Pope knew of malfeasance within the Curia. Then news of a Vatican sex ring and money scams reached his ears late last year. Benedict should not have been surprised. Hints of a seamy Vatican underworld have been surfacing for years.
In March 2010, a 29-year-old chorister in St Peter’s was sacked for allegedly procuring male prostitutes, one of them a seminarian, for a papal gentleman-in-waiting who was also a senior adviser in the Curial department that oversees the church’s worldwide missionary activities. Last autumn Benedict ordered three trusted high-ranking cardinals to investigate the state of the Curia. This was the report that was delivered to him just weeks ago. It was meant for Benedict’s ‘eyes only’ but details of a sex ring and money-laundering scams last week reached the Italian weekly Panorama. Then the daily La Repubblica ran the story.
The timing of the report has coincided with fresh allegations of priestly sexual abuse in Germany. Meanwhile, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and Cardinal Sean Brady of Ireland have been accused of covering up paedophile abuse.
Benedict has resigned to ensure that the whole ‘Filth’ from many countries of the world right up to the Vatican centre is cleansed. He has given up his job to kick out all the office-holders and start again. While the college of cardinals appears to have been shocked by the resignation, Benedict’s drastic decision was both predicted and strongly recommended two years ago by an eminent American psychologist and former priest.
In 2011, Dr Richard Sipe, a greatly respected world expert on the priestly abuse scandal, declared that only the Pope’s resignation would resolve the paedophile priest crisis. Sipe charged that ‘along with other bishops, Benedict was complicit earlier in tolerating and covering up the crimes of the priests’.
This month a documentary film, Mea Maxima Culpa, is on release in the UK. It claims that Benedict, as Cardinal Ratzinger, refused to remove a paedophile priest called Father Murphy in the Nineties.
Sipe concluded that the Church’s only hope was a ‘courageous act’ on the part of the Pope. He could begin to heal the Church ‘by resigning from the papacy and calling for the resignation of all the other bishops, like him, who were complicit in the abuse scandal’. So the Pope’s resignation could be just the beginning of a wave of resignations, and/or sackings, when the new Pope comes in.
With just three days left of his pontificate, Benedict accepted with lightning speed Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s resignation. O’Brien was not involved in covering up for paedophile priests – but allegations that he had made inappropriate advances towards priests in the Eighties were enough for Benedict to confirm that he was not to join the conclave.
On Tuesday, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, former head of the Catholic Church in England, declared that the Vatican must ‘put its own house in order’.
In a bold castigation of the papacy and the Curia, the cardinal said: ‘There is no doubt that today there needs to be renewal in the Church, reform in the Church, and especially of its government.’ The cardinal was referring to the decision made at an historic meeting of the world’s bishops in 1962, known as the Second Vatican Council, which called for devolution of power from Rome.
Bishops and lay Catholics throughout the world complain that the shift of authority away from Rome to the local churches has not happened. As a result, the absolute power of the Vatican has been corrupting absolutely. The establishment of a large, over-powerful Curia is a quirk of history. When the Pope lost his papal territories, which stretched from Venice down to Naples, in the mid 19th Century, the civil service stayed on to run the Church from Rome. The culture of a highly centralised Church government is now deeply entrenched. John Paul II, the energetic superstar Pope, seemed just the man to clean up the Curia. But he bypassed it, preferring to spend his time travelling the world. Benedict might have made a start on it – but he retreated into bookish pursuits.
But even if a reformer gets in, he is going to have his work cut out to change an institution that has amassed such a centralised grip. Choosing a new team to be trusted may take just as long. There is every chance that the old ways will return.
But Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor may well be disappointed if a Pope in the mould of Benedict is elected. Benedict believes in strong central government. He has no time for devolution. And he may still have influence. He has gone on record to assert that those who dissent from Catholic teaching should leave. He has said that he would be happier with a smaller, totally loyal and faithful Church.
Benedict’s favoured candidate would likely bring a puritanical pressure to bear on sexually active Catholics living together outside of marriage, or using contraception, or in gay relationships.
The coming conclave is set to be the most contentious for centuries. Whichever side wins – the conservatives, the reformers or the devolutionists – will create tensions and antagonism between Catholicism’s different pressure groups.
My guess is that we are going to get a younger Benedict. I believe that we will get a Pope who will remove any cardinal, bishop or priest who is in any way implicated in the paedophile scandal. But he will also move to exclude Catholics, high and low, who are not prepared to follow the Church’s teachings on sexual morality as a whole.
Benedict’s stunning self-sacrifice constitutes, in my view, the greatest gamble in the papacy’s 2,000-year history. If it works, the Church will begin to restore its besmirched reputation. If it fails, we Catholics are headed for calamitous conflict and fragmentation.

• John Cornwell is the author of Hitler’s Pope and Newman’s Unquiet Grave: The Reluctant Saint.

21 Responses

  1. Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh

    “Benedict’s stunning self-sacrifice constitutes, in my view, the greatest gamble in the papacy’s 2,000-year history. If it works, the Church will begin to restore its besmirched reputation. If it fails, we Catholics are headed for calamitous conflict and fragmentation.”

    It is incomprehensible to me that anyone would call the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI a “stunning self sacrifice”. From my research on the worldwide clergy sexual abuse crisis, it has been the power and control of the Pope, when known as Cardinal Ratzinger, that has been the cause of clergy sexual abuse, soul-murder, and many suicides around the world, by those victims who gave up hope that anyone would believe their stories of having been abused by a brother, a priest, a bishop, a cardinal, or even by a nun.

    As Pope, Benedict did nothing to stop the predator priests and he did nothing to remove the complicit hierarchy from the priesthood, neither has he admitted to his central role in allowing the scandal to flourish worldwide.

    Retiring and becoming personally accountable for his central role is the least he should do, if he has any conscience at all, considering the terrible damage that he has done to so many lives around the world for so many years. So please do not make Pope Benedict XVI out a hero.

    It concerns me that he will continue to be in control in the Vatican as he lives in the shadow of the new Pope, possibly a man that he himself picked, under the guise of humility. Power and control is what Pope Emeritus has been all about for over 30 years in the Vatican, and now he has arranged to keep his secretary, who will also have close dealings with the new Pope. If this does not concern the voting cardinals, then none of the cardinals are leaders, in my view.

    Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago, Illinois, USA

  2. Noel Campbell

    What an article by John Cornwell!! Leaves me breathless! He has just discovered that the Church is made up of HUMANS. How awsome, how devastating!
    Paedophiles, homosexuals, dodgy bankers, ambitious Curial personnel, thieves, and the list goes on. It goes a lot further though, it goes in and through every country in the world, every government, every organisation from tiddlywinks clubs to international Charities. Why should the Catholic Church be any different? Sure weren’t the Disciples of Jesus haggling about who was to be in charge and He only feet away from them!
    We could all write books about it. It is called the human condition. It is THE original sin. If the Church claimed to be made up of perfect humanity what need would there be for redemption? The folly of the Cross.
    Before you scribes reach for your keypads I am not suggesting that we should turn a blind eye. No. There are ways of dealing openly and properly when the minority of wrongdoers are exposed. But let us not pretend that all of the stuff that Mr. Cornwell has written should come as some massive expose and send us all into shock horror mode. Those who think that exposing the ‘weaknesses’ in the Church governace will make all things perfect if done their way,well, I’m not so sure. If you think you can create the perfect institution then you are claiming to be God! I don’t think you fit the job description for that.

  3. Sean O'Conaill

    “The real reason he has quit is far more spectacular. It is to save the Catholic Church from ignominy: he has voluntarily delivered himself up as a sacrificial lamb to purge the Church of what he calls ‘The Filth’.”
    .
    This is meaningless nonsense. For the dubious purpose of entertaining the readers of the Daily Mail John Cornwell is pretending to know something no one does – the mind of an old man who has not disclosed any such intention to anyone.
    .
    More important, this silly ‘scoop’ simply doesn’t make any sense. If Benedict was bent on ‘purging’ wouldn’t it have been far more ‘sacrificial’ for him to stay on and do the purging himself? Why is it ‘sacrificial’ for an old, tired man to seek peace rather than the rack and hand the job over to someone far fitter?
    .
    And if he had any intention to ‘purge’ why did Benedict not send Cardinal Bernard Law to a monastery in 2005? Why did he refuse to accept the resignations of two Irish bishops, and insist (according to reports that have not been denied) that Cardinal Sean Brady not resign either? Why is Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, USA, (convicted last September of failing to report a crime to the civil authorities) still in office?
    .
    I find it far more credible that this almost 86 year-old man is telling us the round truth: the task of sorting out all that is now known to be wrong at the summit of the church is simply too much for him, but cannot be postponed to wait for his demise.
    .
    There’s only one thing wrong with that theory from the Daily Mail’s point of view. It’s not ‘exclusive’ enough, or silly enough. John Cornwell should write only for media that don’t require shock/horror gibberish.

  4. Stephen Edward

    The cardinals presumably know that only Cardinal Burke can sort this out. Get ready for a whirlwind in more than one way.

  5. Andrew

    Just google ‘pics of cardinal burke’ and see what lies in store for us!

  6. Lynne Newington

    As Iv’e previously stated elsewhere, these men make the decisions that affect our destinies.
    Marriage annulments, issues on faith and morals, and if that’s not enough refuse rescripts of vows for clergy, [if the truth is being told], to ligitimize a child, “so they have a father in good standing in the eyes of God, and according to their conscience”.
    Cardinal Hummes June 4 2009.

  7. Mary O Vallely

    My papabile, Joan Chittester (and why not?):
    “addressing the questions of the time that plague the world — peace, justice, women’s issues, sustainability — and admitting the questions undermining the current credibility of the church, as well — clericalism, sexism, sexuality, the implications of interfaith societies — make sisters honest and caring members of a pilgrim church.
    http://ncronline.org/blogs/where-i-stand/vatican-could-learn-thing-or-two-about-renewal-women-religious

  8. Eddie Finnegan

    Mammabile Mirabile! Pope Joan II. A deserving candidate.

  9. Darlene Starrs

    Thank you Mary V. for that link to Sister Joan’s article. I was thinking this morning, that, what a horrific shock, it would be, to the Roman Princes, to know that Christ is basically CONTEMPORARY. No, he’s probably not “throwing out the baby, with the bathwater”….after all he was originally, that “baby”, but, God always acts in the NOW. For Cardinal Martini to have said, that the Church is behind 200 years……says, a lot about, how Christ must be shut out of the Vatican!…… They’ve obviously not set their Divine Radio….to NOW…..Really, when you take into account all the various scandals and the entrenchment in the past, how has this “Vatican Machine” even lasted to 2013? It’s mind-boggling! Oh, I have to admit, I would love to go into the Sistine Chapel with Christ…..whips in hand, and fire em all out!
    Now, that would be struttin my stuff!

  10. Soline Humbert

    Mary Hunt on the catholic patriarchy http://www.waterwomensalliance.org/2013/03/march-4-catholic-patriarchy-what-the-papal-transition-means-and-what-feminists-can-do-about-it-by-mary-e-hunt/

  11. Mary O Vallely

    http://americamagazine.org/issue/article/building-bridges

    ‘Gathering around himself a diverse and competent group of leaders and entrusting them with responsibilities related to the governance of the church might be the keys to success for a leader with such an extensive network of relations and a multilateral agenda.’

    A very comprehensive view of the role of a Pontifex Maximus by Miguel H. Díaz, former ambassador to the Holy See and at present, University Professor of Faith and Culture in Dayton, Ohio.

    Would YOU want this job? Impossible for one man ( or one woman, even Joan C) but a team could attempt to build some of the bridges needed. ( and there are SO many bridges)

  12. Darlene Starrs

    I must be still waiting for the experience of “shared power’ and the “egalitarian moment” with women..because my life experience has not taught me, that women, are any less obscessed with power and control than men………..I just turned 55…perhaps, there is still time………

    I think, potentially, there might be a better opportunity with women for shared power, but, will it happen? We do have wonderful biblical sources of women sharing power and building community. I love the story of “Rachael and Leah”, who together built the house of Israel”. or when “Elizatbeth Greets Mary” and rejoices with her, as opposed to being angry and jeolous, that she wasn’t the mother of the Messiah….and I know, if I think about it, there are many examples of women sharing power and building community, particularly, the women, who first witness the resurrection at the tomb. In some ways, we, as the Church, are in a tomb experience…..ah, well, part of the personal frustration, I have had in my life, is looking for and hoping to partner ministerially, with at least one other woman, who oozes Christ and the new wine of Vatican II, so that I could be in this Christian Venture with someone else….Anyway…All i the Lord’s time…..
    And I also want it to be in Ireland……in case, y’all didn’t know, as of 2 weeks ago, I am now, an Irish citizen…through my Grandfather’s ancestry. Anyway, .waiting upon the Lord is sometimes a painful process….almost as difficult as being a part of a conclave!

  13. Darlene Starrs

    Thank you for submitting that article Mary about the difficulty of the Pope’s job, but I just read a little way and I couldn’t finish it. Joseph Ratzinger, was a complete annoyance to me, and when he became Pope, I was horrified……It has nothing to do, with whether or not he loved his mother, or fed hungry cats. The point is for me, he has no,no, no, credibility……He wanted to dialogue and discuss with the world…..but he couldn’t even do that with any sincerity, objectivity, or compassion with his own Church. Did he not say, that he would rather have a much smaller Church, but with everyone toeing the line?, so to speak? His answer to situations……..excommunication, censure….I’ll close my eyes and ears, and maybe the dissidents will go away……..No, He and his “curia” have no credibility…..
    As far as where his heart is at….well….I must leave that to the Lord…..but no…..and yes, you’re right, it wouldn’t have been such a difficult job, if he and his predecessor had followed the lead from Vatican II with the bishops episcopal bodies of government. No, I have no pity….it’s no time…for pity….We need to play hardball back! Did I really say that?

  14. Mary O Vallely

    Thanks, Soline, for that link. I didn’t see it until I’d posted my own. Have to object strongly to Mary Hunt writing that Cardinal O’Brien has ‘been brought down by his former lovers.’ That seems snide and it is unfair because the men who accused him did not seem to be in an equal, consensual relationship with him. Anyhow, we do not know the facts so I think she was mean to write that.
    Cannot disagree with the rest of it but I honestly cannot see anything changing without the majority of men and women agreeing. I would love to hear the views of ordained men on this. I have taken up more than my fair share of space here so hope others react to Mary Hunt’s article. Tiocfadh ár lá (our day will come) but not for a long, long time and only with consensus.

  15. Joe O'Leary

    I think the papal election will be dominated by the most painful experience the electors will have had in recent years, namely, the sex abuse scandal. Several of them have publicly stated that the problem is gay priests, and one of them authored the document excluding gays from ordination; see http://josephsoleary.typepad.com/my_weblog/2005/12/vatican_instruc.html

    They may well appoint someone to be the agent of a fierce crackdown on gay clergy. The person best positioned for this is Cardinal Timothy Dolan. His ruthless evisceration of the Irish College Rome will recommend them to the electors’ attention; see http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350453?eng=y

    If there is any cardinal you perceive as liberal or as gay-friendly, you can be pretty sure he will not be pope.

  16. Eddie Finnegan

    “I would love to hear the views of ordained men on this.” (@14)
    .
    A big AMEN to that wish, Mary. If this website is to have any continuing credibility as the online “forum and voice of Catholic priests” [JUST WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN, TOP RIGHT], then it’s long after time we heard from the 950+ [95%+ of ACP members] and some of the (?)3,000 non-ACP Irish priests we rarely hear from. [Fr Seán Corkery, come back! Fr Paddy McCafferty, they’re not all false prophets!]
    .
    Of course, in a universal Church, it’s good and essential to “read outside the course”, beyond a narrow Irish curriculum, but I don’t think a reform-agenda association becomes a forum and voice for Irish priests in the parishes by letting itself become mainly a clearing-house, or cluttering house, for every self-serving article churned out by on- or off-line publishing concerns, feminist or masculinist, from across a narrow strip of the Northern Hemisphere.
    .
    It has often been remarked (well, if it hasn’t it should have been!) that we Irish – whether avowedly Christian, mildly saecularist, laid-back humanist, or militantly atheist – are a bunch of derivative reactors, magpies on other peoples’ dunghills, producing few thinkers or philosophers, but boasting that we’ve produced no great heretics either. If only!
    Do our instant comments on the four or five “Recent News” items on display below just prove that that’s what we are: derivative reactors ? Of course that’s what most of those articles themselves are – derivative, making a very little go a very long way, circling like vultures on their own thermal updraughts, or the gay sex rings their prurient sub-editors will sieze on for a headline. And then there are the juicy Mary Hunt-type links from the ‘waterwomensalliance.org’ (Go bhfóire Dia orainn!)in which, as with John Cornwell or our own Jerry Slevin, any stray factoid becomes grist to the mill – with the one power objective that the said ‘waterwomensalliance’ get to run the mill on feminist principles.
    .
    But fear not, O Forum Commenter! Those five “Recent News” items below will soon be bundled out of sight, and therefore out of mind, to be replaced by five new pre-conclave teasers to which we can happily react till they lock the cardinals away with the Holy Spirit and maybe, through some ‘felix culpa’, throw the key away. Like the dunghill magpies or beetles we are, we only react to what’s in front of us. How else explain how some of the meatiest, intended to be thought- and action-provoking, articles on social justice, preferential option for the poor, national budget-setting, sustainable creation and ecology . . . by redoubtable veterans like Seán McDonagh, Donal Dorr, Pádraig McCarthy, garner from us at most one or two brief reactions in passing, or sink into oblivion with nary a comment.
    .
    Maybe if I were a busy parish priest, or even a confused parish priest no longer very sure what I should be busy about, I’d be inclined to give the ACP website a miss too. But then I’d miss out on the epiphany of hearing our newest Irish Citizen, Darlene above, expressing her personal frustration of “looking for and hoping to partner ministerially with at least one other woman who oozes Christ and the new wine of Vatican II.” Wow! In Maynooth of yesteryear, not even the greatest screw among us would talk of oozing Christ and the new wine from every pore, even while we were living through and imbibing VAT2’s latest beverage. [For my English and North American readers, I hasten to add that, in the Lexicon of Maynooth Argot, ‘a great screw’ denoted a chap who was a divil for prayin’ and rule-keepin’: etymol. deriv. ‘scruple’ or ‘scupulosity’, though a few Gaeilgeóirí might suggest a link with ‘scrúdú coinsiasa’= ‘examen conscientiae’]
    .
    But, to the parish priests of Ireland may I say: whatever the hidden swamps and rumoured danger spots lurking in concealed corners of this ACP website, get in here and reclaim the territory. It’s yours to refashion. But don’t just lurk on the sidelines: post – comment – discuss.

  17. Soline Humbert

    @14.
    Yes Mary, I noticed that sentence and felt as you did.I thought it is an example of how much inaccurate information is around…We seem to have a real problem about telling the truth….I cannot think of a more toxic environment than one in which one is asking oneself constantly: I am being told the truth? Is it a half -truth, “spin”, or “mental reservation” or a complete lie,deception?
    It is toxic because it destroys trust,on which all relationships are based.If we could re-discover truth in the church,there would be great healing.Truth at the service of life,and not lies at the service of self-preservation and dominant power. The paradox is that there is nothing more powerful than the truth. That’s what we need now.The truth can roll away the stone that closes the tomb in which the church currently is.

  18. Darlene Starrs

    My apologies to Mary V. I didnot read the article regarding “how difficult the Pope’s job is” with any kind of real attention…..
    I was absorbed in the moment with “disdain” for Joseph Ratzinger, and not feeling compassion for the person who holds the position of Pope, given, the corruption, the scandals, the secrecy, etc, etc, etc. It was in another article I read, that Benedict, snuck out of the Vatican, I believe, in the mornings, to feed the alley cats……all this to say….that, we cannot be “duped” by seemingly cute or nice things, a pope, such as Benedict might do.
    I remember the article by Father Ahearne, saying, that Benedict was very personable and likeable…..Well, you know, we can be “duped” so that we excuse any need to hold people accountable.

    Anyway, my apologies, if I was misleading in my comments.

  19. Darlene Starrs

    Ah, Eddie, you are not very far away from the Kingdom of God, if you have recognized an epiphany, in the presence, of Darlene writing on this website! (said with humour)

    I should imagine, that the ACP are evaluating the function of the website, as it was intended for the ACP membership. If the long awaited ACI website is launched, then, we might well, see the “passing” of this one.

    If not, Father John Wotherspoon has a website with a plethora of Vatican II articles and many of them welcome comments. Just google v2catholic.

    As well, if the articles below, are not what someone wants, there is also the archived articles, as well as, the readings of the week and of Sundays.

  20. Eddie Finnegan

    Darlene, I’m afraid you may be immune to irony. I’m not one for ‘oozing’ or even for ‘epiphanies’ outside the pages of Joyce. As a comparative newcomer to the ACP site, perhaps you should be more circumspect in anticipating its demise. The last thing we need is a further plethora of Vat II articles: 16 Documents are quite sufficient.

  21. Jean Swift

    Anyone who has read Hitler’s Pope by John Cornwell will know that his “history” is of the tabloid variety. He asserts and generalises without citing any form of reasonable evidence. In his opening comments he writes “He had longed to be Pope. He has loved being Pope.” The evidence? “He wrung his hands above his head in triumph”. More sober commentators believe, on the contrary, that he found the role difficult. The fact that he took the unusual step of resigning would seem to lend credence to this view.
    Mr Cornwell goes on to write that “he spent his time writing and took time off to tinkle on the piano and stroke his cat”. Is the author asserting that popes have no right to leisure activities. Typical of Mr Cornwell’s style is the use of pejorative words like “tinkle”. The next two paragraphs , replete with snide comments and pejorative language confirmed me in the belief that the article must have been written for either the Mirror or The Sun newspaper.


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