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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