Now the knives are out for Benedict XVI

Ever so quickly as I should be working on some conferences, but this had to be remarked.

It did not take long. Pope Francis has not even been enthroned yet and some cardinals are laying daggers into Benedict; as he is no longer pope and his successor is in plain sight, he is now fair game it seems.

The first shock was to read, after a tip off, Cardinal Mahony’s Twitter page. It is beneath my dignity to link directly to it, but here is the string of tweets (going from last to first) in question:

Cardinal Mahony Cardinal Mahony ‏@CardinalMahony

So long, Papal ermine and fancy lace! Welcome, simple cassock, and hopefully, ordinary black shoes! St. Francis must be overjoyed!!

At our meeting today with Pope Francis, I noted that is still wearing his older black shoes. I pray that he keeps them as a sign for us all

Mass with Pope Francis: moving from HIGH Church to LOW and humble Church! What a blessing that we are encountering Jesus without trappings!

Don’t you feel the new energy in the Church, and being shared with one another? We will experience a new Pentecost as the early Christians.

Snide remarks from an objectionable man. A man who clearly covered up with full intent and awareness the criminal sins of so many of his priests that he was forced to pay out US$660 million in one settlement alone to bring the lawsuits to a speedy resolution before people tried to see all the files, which as we know he steadfastly refused to hand over to police. Now there can be good reasons for that, but we know now his reason: to kide his clear and culpable complicity. This is not a case of a naive bishop trying to keep everyone happy. Far from it.

And this is a man who built a monstrosity of cathedral costing a king’s ransom, but who derides Benedict wearing the nicer things already in the papal wardrobe.

This is a man who “Religious Education” conferences gave a happy home to heresy for years, and the liturgies at which were often nearly pagan, and more often sacrilegious.

Compare him to Cardinal O’Brien who sinned when in his cups, years ago, with adults, and not that seriously. He withdraws from the conclave voluntarily, issues a short but abject apology, and then bows out to keep silence. Mahony has not apologised, went to the conclave despite the thousands of Catholics who begged him not to, has cast the blame on others and likened himself to a martyr and even to Christ, and who whined like a spoilt brat when his successor in Los Angeles withdrew permission for Mahony’s active ministry! The shamelessness of his snide remarks aimed at Benedict is appalling. Pray for him.

karl_lehmann3And Cardinal Lehmann has criticised Benedict for not having revealed all the contents of the Vatileaks enquiry to the cardinals. Instead, Benedict left the dossier for his successor to act on.  He says Benedict’s approach “could be misinterpreted”, which it seems is what he is deliberately doing.

But a modicum of rational thought will enable even the Cardinal to see that Benedict had no choice. If he had revealed all, he would no doubt have embarrassed some cardinals present just as they were about to enter conclave, and left a nasty mess for his successor to clear off as he flew away into the sunset. Benedict had the sense, considerateness and courtesy to leave his successor with a totally free hand in deciding what to do with the report. The Curia is the pope’s domain, and not that of a self-important, over-reaching and grandstanding diocesan bishop. Let him deal with his own diocese, which from memory has a few problems of its own.

Grrr. Back to work ….


12 thoughts on “Now the knives are out for Benedict XVI

  1. This qoute from Let nothing you dismay, seems relevant:
    These, however, are the words of Pope Francis [again reported here and here]:

    Speaking at times off the cuff, Francis said Benedict had “lit a flame in the depths of our hearts that will continue to burn because it is fuelled by his prayers that will support the church on its missionary path.”
    “In these years of his pontificate, he enriched and invigorated the church with his magisterium, his goodness, guide and faith,” Francis said. Pausing for effect, he added: “His humility and his gentleness.”

    Thank you for your recent postings, and would add that I have no control over any gravatar which may appear against my name!
    Kind regards,
    John U.K.


    1. John,

      Hello and welcome. Thank you for the link. I highlighted the same extract from Pope Francis’ address. It seems very unlikely that Pope Francis operates under a high versus low paradigm of the Church’s life and worship. In fact, to revive the camouflage jargon of two decades ago to a better purpose, his paradigm is far more likely to be one of orthodoxy and orthopraxis: right faith/worship and right action. In the 80s orthopraxis was held up as the higher ideal so as to excuse departures from orthodoxy. However, as should be obvious, they are inseparable bedfellows and to divorce them is to damage both.

      Thank you for your kind words. And I have to say, I rather enjoy seeing the array of gravatrs randomly generated for commenters. Yours is a doozie!



  2. So long, Papal ermine and fancy lace! Welcome, simple cassock, and hopefully, ordinary black shoes! St. Francis must be overjoyed!!

    ^^ I’m not even sure they would let The Most Reverend and Most Eminent Lord Roger Cardinal Mahony wear a simple cassock in prison anyway. I will not comment on the joy or otherwise of St Francis to see a bishop complicit in the cover up of child sexual abuse wearing a prisoner uniform (at least, to my knowledge, most prisoners wear black shoes).

    I only pity the poor prisoners (and having been to a prison, there are many that are repentant and desiring of God’s mercy), who will have to share the common areas with the Cardinal. Let’s hope he’s more gentlemanly to them than he has been to Benedict XVI.

    I do not at all understand why some people seem so keen to try to pit Francis’ humility and hold it against Benedict.

    How quickly do people forget this rather charming story at the 2005 conclave: as the rooms are allocated by lots, there was 1 apartment, 100+ suites, 22 single rooms. Cardinal Ratzinger drew his lot and was allocated one of the single rooms. Right after Benedict was elected, when asked if he wanted to move rooms – he asked why he needed to.

    It is telling that while everyone seems make a big deal that the then Card Bergoglio took the bus to work, or eats with fellow cardinals – no one held up the then Card Ratzinger walking to work in his beret, or remaining in the smallest living quarters among the cardinals as a sign of his ‘humility’. It of course doesn’t fit with the narrative espoused by Cardinal Mahony and those like him, who want to paint Benedict XVI as some sort of grand aloof aristocrat when he was anything but!

    Lets not forget that with regards to vesture, Pope Benedict, has thus far, shown himself perfectly humble in this respect too. Rather than refusing to wear what was laid out for him by hardworking priests, he wore what was set for him, even when it made him look faintly ridiculous!

    Who can forget after all:

    Archbishop Marini the then MC at the time, had nothing but praise for Benedict and while there were clear differences in liturgical praxis between the two of them – it seems like they had a good personal relationship. I think that’s a sign of humility personally!


    1. Justin, my morning is a busy one so a quick reply. Well said! And thank you for reminding us of facts about Benedict XVI so quickly forgotten. You should really make it a separate blog post!



  3. All that business of the ‘new energy’ and ‘new Pentecost’ and ‘early Christians’ seems to me like just one more tired gasp of a relic of the sixties, along with all the ecclesiastical naiveté that helped to make up that sad period in the western Church. That now nearly exhausted (Deo gratias!) generation is being replaced by newer ones which hopefully will focus more on substance rather than appearances, the disasters of past decades and centuries being their guides. Fr. Hugh, I’m looking for better Roman liturgy and even more outreach to the East!


    1. Fr. Hugh, I’m looking for better Roman liturgy and even more outreach to the East!

      So am I, baby, so am I! 😉 Perhaps the outbreak of Mahony-style trite and shallow puritanism is the equivalent of the German offensive in the Ardennes in winter 1944/5: a sudden, powerful and damaging thrust that petered out for it had no substance to sustain it. Heretics and despoilers of the Church come and go; the Church of Christ rolls ever onward to eternity,and we must cling on for the ride however bumpy it might get. To fall from it would probably kill us.



      1. As someone has said someplace, there’s always one last desperate attempt at restoration just before the final collapse. Yes, the offensive in the Ardennes is a fine analogy for all this. Thanks for thinking of it!


  4. Back in 2005, Mahony felt the need to stick the knife into Pope John-Paul II’s legacy while the latter was still on his deathbed. Slight praise for J-P II was mingled with a plug for some of Mahony’s own liberal agenda: (

    Mahony clearly has a history of being a big ego with a sense that no one listens to him enough, hence his need to promote himself on any and every form of media. The phrase ‘sour grapes’ comes to mind. But we all know what the Bible invites us to do with old wine and old wineskins.


    1. Reading that LA Times article, I asked the same question as Mahony: how in God’s Providence was he a cardinal elector?

      I found the report if his dining alone in Rome in the days leading up to the conclave very telling. He has spent his episcopal life pleasing not the Church, nor God, but himself. And now he is left with only himself. We reap what we sow.

      There is a mix in him of poor boy made good and self-made man. So I guess his theme song was always bound to be “I did it my way.”

      Sour grapes indeed, but the children’s teeth are set on edge.


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