When Pope Benedict XVI died on December 31 at the age of 95, it turns out that he had a completed book ready for publication upon his death. Written in Italian, that book, Che cos’è il Cristianesimo: Quasi un testamento spirituale (What Is Christianity: Almost a Spiritual Testament), is full of explosive revelations and trenchant criticism of his woke successor, Pope Francis. Could Pope Benedict begin a counter-revolution within the Roman Catholic Church from the grave? Stranger things have happened, although it would take any one of us a good while to think of one.
Pope Benedict explains that he did not want the book published while he was still living because of the furious reaction his writings inspired: “For my part, in life, I no longer want to publish anything. The fury of the circles against me in Germany is so strong that the appearance of my every word immediately causes a murderous shouting from them. I want to spare myself and Christendom this.”
It’s easy to see why this book would inspire “murderous shouting” from some corners of the Roman Catholic Church. Benedict writes that the Church is close to “collapse” and paints a picture of seminaries in the United States as centers of promiscuous homosexuality and perversion. “In various seminaries,” the pope explained, “homosexual ‘clubs’ were formed which acted more or less openly and which clearly transformed the atmosphere in the seminaries. In a seminary in southern Germany, candidates for the priesthood and candidates for the lay office of pastoral referent lived together.”
The corruption was more or less out in the open. “During common meals,” Benedict noted, “the seminarians were together with married pastoral representatives, partly accompanied by their wives and children and in some cases by their girlfriends. The climate in the seminary could not help priestly formation.” He said that a “bishop who had previously been rector had allowed seminarians to be shown pornographic films, presumably with the intention of thereby enabling them to resist against behavior contrary to the faith.”
These allegations are all too plausible. On Sunday, the Times of London reported that “the Roman Catholic church is investigating allegations of a lockdown ‘sex party’ at a cathedral as part of an inquiry into a former bishop’s tenure. In a highly unusual move, the Vatican has ordered an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Robert Byrne’s resignation as the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle in December.” It appears that “a number of complaints were made by individuals within the diocese after information came to light about a sex party taking place in the priests’ living quarters attached to Newcastle cathedral.” As a result of all this, “the cathedral had become a laughing stock.”
Amid the steady stream of news about sexual misconduct by priests, this kind of story is sadly unsurprising, and comes, according to Pope Benedict, amid the effort of some Catholic leaders to remake the faith itself: “There were individual bishops, and not only in the United States, who rejected the Catholic tradition as a whole, aiming in their dioceses to develop a kind of new, modern catholicity.” Pope Benedict, who respected Catholic tradition, was the enemy in these circles: “Perhaps it is worth mentioning the fact that, in not a few seminaries, students caught reading my books were considered unfit for the priesthood. My books were concealed as harmful literature and were read only in secret, so to speak.”
Pope Benedict criticized Pope Francis for doing nothing to stop the rampant corruption: “In the context of the meeting of the presidents of the episcopal conferences of the whole work with Pope Francis, it is at heart above all the question of priestly life and also that of seminaries. As regards the problem of preparation for priestly ministry in seminaries, we note in fact a vast collapse of the current form of this preparation.”
Pope Benedict also warned that amid the Church’s disarray, the world was becoming increasingly anti-Christian. He noted that the “great powers of tolerance do not grant to Christianity the tolerance they propagate, adding that their “radical manipulation of man” and “distortion of the sexes through gender ideology” were inherently anti-Christian, and regarded the Church as an obstacle: “The intolerance of this apparent modernity towards the Christian faith has not yet turned into open persecution, and yet it manifests itself in an increasingly authoritarian way with the aim of achieving, by appropriate legislation, the eradication of what is essentially Christian.” Anyone who doubts that should just consult the daily headlines.
Against this, the Roman Catholic Church and all the churches need to recover their faith and sense of themselves and stand to do battle for the truth. Instead, they are consumed with the same “progressive” virus that infects everything else.