November 20, 2005

The moral hypocrite in the Vatican

Los Angeles Times

By Jason Berry, Jason Berry's books include "Lead Us Not Into Temptation" and, with Gerald Renner, "Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II."

CONSERVATIVE Catholics rejoiced at the election of Pope Benedict XVI because, as a cardinal, he had famously decried "moral relativism."

Now, however, the pope appears to be backtracking and, worse yet, he is tolerating a scandalous moral relativism by the Vatican secretary of state.

In 1986, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent a global letter to bishops denouncing homosexuality as a "moral disorder." The language was harsh, much to the delight of conservatives.

But now that Ratzinger is pope, the church says that homosexual seminarians are to be treated with "respect and delicacy" if they are chaste, according to the newspaper Il Giornale, quoting from a leaked copy of a recently completed Vatican document on homosexuals in the seminary. That's a reasonable position, albeit a retreat from Ratzinger's denouncement of gays in 1986.

Perhaps more troubling for conservatives should be the pope's tolerance of the behavior of the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano. Six years ago, Sodano persuaded Ratzinger to halt a canon law case seeking the excommunication of a friend of his, an alleged pedophile, Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ order in Mexico.

Posted by kshaw at November 20, 2005 09:05 AM