It didn’t take much more than 12 hours for criticisms of Pope Benedict to start surfacing — some damning him with faint praise; others holding nothing back.
In the first category were comments from Father Bob Maguire, one of Australia’s most famous priest, and Lyndsay Freer, the Auckland diocesan spokeswoman. Father Bob was basically saying that the Church needed someone a little more hip, a little more “with it”, to lead her into the next phase. Lyndsay Freer said Cardinals will seek to ‘open the windows and let in some fresh air.’ So, the air had grown stale during Pope Benedict’s pontificate, had it? That seems to be the unspoken part of the analysis.
Others were far less subtle. The Sydney Morning Herald was one of the more shameless media outlets, dipping into their archives to find what can only be described as a rant from that objective columnist Christopher Hitchens. With so many people so happy to throw stones at the Holy Father, I’m surprised they went all the way back to 2010 to find something.
Hitchens regurgitates so many of the lazy potshots that the Pope has been faced with for years in the article headlined “Raztinger was behind great Catholic cover-up”, specifically recounting the circumstances around a story in which some allege the future pope, as archbishop of Munich, allowed an accused paedophile to return to ministry, despite assurances from others that Archbishop Ratzinger had no idea of the priest’s resumption of pastoral activities after being stood down.
Then there’s the allegation that Benedict was soft on abusive priests while head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, encouraging members of the clergy to cover things up, despite the fact he showed quickly after his election that there would be a different attitude taken to such matters during his papacy, as opposed to that of Pope John Paul II.
Thankfully, I don’t need to go through Hitchens’ article and respond to the fallacies contained therein; someone else has already done that for me
Click here to read Sean Murphy’s response, and see what the truth behind the allegations really is.
There will be a lot more of these articles in the coming weeks trying to skewer Pope Benedict. Maybe my Lenten penance will be to try to set a few more records straight….