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July 23, 2005



The Catholic Church claims God as its ultimate source of ideas, Truth{s). If you are not willing to emasculate/abort Truth then you are ipso facto outside the human race. They will never tolarate orthodoxy or tradition. Their religion is Relativism, which they will defend with the same force, if not with the same methods, as the Taliban defends theirs.

Abortion, for example is a method of theirs. Liberals do not wake up wanting to have unborn babies killed. However, to maintain the notion of Relativism, they will support those who do it. In this they are like "Good Muslims" they refuse to condemn the bomber/killer of innocents.

James Englert

Really a disappointing article, especially given the promise of the title. The stupid HP reference lets you know that Grafton didn't read R., or he would know that the pope is well aware of what is involved in "taking on modernity." Oh, and there's an obligatory reference to the recent evolution flap as well. It may well be that editor David Remmick who presumably had the good idea of having someone actually 'read' Ratzinger is also a bit disappointed; I hope he gives it a third shot.

For something truly appalling, though, there is the review of the new novel by Hilary Mantel. Raised more or less Catholic, Mantel's life was greatly damaged, and her novels, in which the devil seems to reside, reflect it.

Rich Leonardi

The problem with this piece is that while the early work is read carefully, the only later work that's cited, and seems to have been read at all is The Ratzinger Report. Nothing else. Which might have provided a slightly different picture than the easily read, digestible interview book did.

If a journalist is going to critique Ratzinger for his treatement of dissidents, he at least should be familiar with the arguments set out in Truth and Tolerance released last year. The Ratzinger Report is twenty years old.

Sandra Miesel

But thanks to those dear darling zealots at LifeSiteNews, the HP story will follow Pope Benedict to his grave. I know they're proud of this.


Sandra - that was my first thought on seeing that bit. Thanks to LifeSite, you can bet that even when the Pope dies (a long time off, I hope) this nasty little barb will be turning up in his friggin' obituaries and retrospectives as an example of how "hardline" (read "clueless") he was. I guess it's OK for Lifesite to lie about someone as long as it's done for the right cause, though.

(Sorry for the sharpness, I was *really* annoyed by that whole fiasco).

Mark C.

I bought the latest issue of the New Yorker, as I thought the article looked promising. I wish I had read Amy's review first. It's not so much that the author had the conventional liberal take on Ratzinger (though he did) as much as that he simply didn't understand the basic genre of literature he was reading and reviewing. He is surprised that in his theological writings, Ratzinger uses Jewish and pagan sources to illuminate the Scriptural texts - standard practice for all serious exegetes in the past 50 years or so.

He completely misinterprets the debate between Boff and Ratzinger over Lumen Gentium suggesting that Boff was simply agreeing with the Council fathers and theologians like Congar that true Christians and elements of the church were found outside the confines of the visible Catholic Church, while Ratzinger was returning to the traditional exclusivist ecclesiology. In fact, Ratzinger was upholding the Vatican II inclusive ecclesiology over Boff's complete relativism between Catholic and Protestant claims. ("What is Christianity? We do not know. We only know what is shown in the historical process.")

Many other errors, big and small. It would have been more interesting to read something by Gary Wills - it would have been maddening, but at least his mistakes would not be based on sheer ignorance.

As for the Potter thing, Lifesite may have torqued up their interpretation of it, but Cardinal Ratzinger did write the letter to Gabrielle Kuby and gave her permission to publicize it, so let's not just blame the messenger here.

Sandra Miesel

Cardinal Ratzinger (or a staffer acting for him) wrote two notes to an alarmist critic who enjoys some prestige among conservative German Catholics. We don't know if he actually read her book and he certainly wasn't making an independent evaluation of the "horrors" of HARRY POTTER based on his own reading. But LifeSiteNews wanted people to see this old piece of news that way on the eve of book #6's release so they could enroll the Pope in their anti-HP agenda.
For an overview of the situation, see:



I think the New Yorker cheaped out and used the same artist to render the Holy Father and the medicinal leech.

What can we expect when publications of this type are essentially in over their heads? Can't say I was impressed by the author's use of the word 'perform' when referring to the celebration of the Mass. Wouldn't one say that Penn & Teller perform magic but the Pope celebrates Mass? Oh, well. By the time I finished the article I wanted to have a leech applied to my forehead for some relief.

David Deavel

Thanks to Sandra and Sonetka for their sanity about the Harry Potter nonsense.

I read the Grafton piece and was actually surprised at how good it was in the first part, but as you say, the only "new" writings were 20 years old. It's interesting that in PILGRIM FELLOWSHIP OF FAITH there is an essay addressing the "subsistit" question in more detail. What Grafton calls an "acrobatic" interpretation (that acknowledges both the Catholic Church's identity and the fact that there are sanctifying elements outside the Church) is really a much more sophisticated version than what was proposed by Boff--namely that the Catholic Church is simply one instantiation of a generic Church concept. But Grafton, who is no theologian, doesn't seem to have even read the piece.

Perhaps Remnick should just always get Peter Boyer to write these pieces--his piece on the rise of Orthodoxy in the Church a few months ago was magnificent.

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