The Holy Office of the Inquisition is now called the Sacred Congregation

for the Doctrine of the Faith, and is headed by German Cardinal Joseph

Ratzinger. NEWSWEEK, 12/4331/84, had an article called A BLAST FROM THE


This article said that the leader of this Congregation speaks, if at

all, with his master's voice. When Ratzinger became head in 1981, it was

with the understanding that he could speak up on his own from time to

time. Recently, Ratzinger has spoken so scathingly of his church's failures

since Vatican II that now the world's bishops are wondering how much he is

speaking for the pope and how much for himself.

On every continent, Ratzinger finds the church in crisis. "Liberal-

radical" theologians are twisting the true faith, the laity are picking and

choosing among doctrines to believe (Theologian Richard McBreien said that

American Catholics have learned to be selectively obedient) and North

Americans especially are succumbing to hedonism.

Ratzinger says that Vatican II quickly passed from healthy "self-

criticism to self-destruction." Influenced by dissenting theologians, too

many of the faithful lost the old Catholic conviction that in matters of

faith "there is one truth and that this truth is definable in a precise

way, that is, by Church authorities."

Today, Ratzinger believes, the very core of Catholic truth is betrayed

by dissenting theologians who play down the divinity of Christ and play up

the notion that people of other faiths - or no faith at all - can

experience the grace of God without accepting Jesus Christ.

At the very least, Ratzinger's report on the state of the church

confirms the growing feeling that the pope is shortening his leash on

dissenters. The (24 nuns who publicly challenged the church's stand against

abortion) insisted that the church cannot impose a consensus on any issue.

Clearly, Ratzinger thinks otherwise and so does the pope.

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