Rorate Caeli

Welcome to Poland!

One of the most important Polish magazines, Wprost, welcomes Benedict to Poland with this cover: "A Protestant Pope". The cover article is available here: a conservative pope who will want reform? A man in a crusade for the heart of Europe?

UPDATE: Below, we present a translation of the most important excerpts. For copyright reasons, we do not present the whole text of the article:

A Protestant Pope

"Wprost" Weekly, Nr 1224 (28 May 2006)

Oh, mein Gott!” was the reaction of the liberal German daily “Die Tageszeitung” to the election of Josef Ratzinger as Pope. Today that same choice should gladden the liberals in the Church, indeed liberals generally – for Ratzinger-the-conservative, as Pope, may be signaling his overall direction to be on a liberalizing path, particularly for the renewal of the state of the Church, in its fundamentals, for the secularized West. Visiting Poland is a conservative who has been sentenced to liberalism. And his visit is not merely to pay tribute to John Paul II, but above all to initiate the chief plan of his Pontificate - the recovery of the West for Catholicism.

During this pilgrimage, the Crusade of Benedict XVI to Europe will begin. John Paul II had frequently spoken of such a Crusade, and had even prepared himself for it, but was, finally, not in a fit state to begin it. An interesting fact is that Benedict’s Crusade will use methods developed not by John Paul II but by the interaction between Catholicism and the protestant churches.

Ratzinger, like Sharon?

The visit of Benedict XVI to his predecessor’s homeland will really be the debut of a new role for the Pope, since this is necessarily a “programmed visit”. Benedict's appearences in Cologne at World Youth Day were fundamentally in a role written for for John Paul II. It is another question whether the choice of his predecessor's homeland for the goal of his first foreign "programmed visit" was a good one. Poland, on the background of European Catholicism, seems problem-free, an oasis of peace and quiet. Probably that is the reason Benedict chose to come here – for here at least he can count on a lively reception. In the Polish parade-ground there are no mines waiting for a German Pope, as perhaps there might be if he began his Crusade in France or in his native Germany.

Can Ratzinger-the-conservative expect success for his plan – recovering the West for Catholicism – and will he really stand for a liberalization of the political structure of the Church? In this setting we should recall the experience of the previous Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon. A hard-liner, he earned for himself the epithet "The Hawk" during the course of the several wars in which he took part. Sharon-the-hawk seemed incapable of any kind of compromise with the Palestinians. And yet he embarked on the most daring policy towards them, even risking to appear as a traitor, by forcibly ejecting Jewish settlements in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. Ratzinger, the “Panzerkardinal”, became known as the greatest conservative in John Paul II's circle, apparently incapable of initiating any liberalization, and even of allowing liberal thoughts. And, yet, now Ratzinger is on the new track - with the help of liberalization - of pressing on with the dialogue between the Church (including even the whole of Christianity) with the contemporary world. This is the strategy by which the Church would be able to hold its current position and regain lost territory. And a pillar of the strategy would appear to be acceptance of "protestantization" of the Catholic Church.


A Theologian Beloved of Protestants

For many years Josef Ratzinger has been known as one of the most progressive of today’s Catholic theologians. To be a Progressive is not to be a Liberal, but to to be a Modern. The fundamental question which Ratzinger has asked himself from the beginning sounds like this: How can faith in God be made to fit the realities of the contemporary world? Burning questions for journalists – contraception, divorce, married priests – for Ratzinger always remained in the background. Perhaps because of this he can regard such problems without emotion or dogmatism.

Ratzinger contra Wojtyła

Even though Ratzinger and Wojtyła are of the same generation, their outlooks are unmistakeably different. Karol Wojtyła’s religiosity was formed by such mystical writers as St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. From the experience of two totalitarianisms there arose for the Polish Pope the recognition that besides depth of theology, the realization of Christianity in society was essential. The Communist years also taught him that the Church retains considerable political power when it has the strong support of society. As Bishop of Krakow he brought this experience to the grounds of the universal Church. Mass demonstrations such as those during the millenium celebrations of Polish Christianity in 1966, the pilgrimages to Czestochowa, and the other mass manifestations of the faith of the people, showed him that the faithful have a great need to live and show their faith in a public setting. Joseph Ratzinger, even during the life of John Paul II, hardly hid his skepticism as to the value of such manifestations. Indeed not long before the death of the Polish Pope he spoke critically of the crowd Masses, and publically opined that celebrations of the Eucharist in sport stadiums could damage or destroy its mystical character.


The future German pope considered the divisions in Christianity as a weakening of its witness. Certainly he shared his views with John Paul II, who not only made ecumenism a sign of his pontificate, but even as bishop of Rome dedicated an encyclical letter to the subject in 1995: Ut unum sint / On commitment to Ecumenism. This revolutionary document has the stamp of Cardinal Ratzinger’s thought in many of its parts. It is enough to say that for the first time Rome opened for discussion the role of the Papacy, admitting that it represents a difficulty for Christian unification. The encyclical caused a storm in the conservative wing of the Church. Criticism of the document was so great that in 2000 Ratzinger was obliged to publish the declaration Dominus Iesus, which stated, among other things, that the fullness of the means of salvation were to be found only in the Catholic Church.


  1. If it is true: sad, sad, sad.

  2. The editorial contadicts itself and makes no sense.Yes he is for ecumenism but he was against the meeting in Assisi. Why would the reclaiming of the West be liberal;it was liberalism that lost it.

  3. We report, you decide...

  4. Unfortunately, the article has some truth to it. Did not the Holy Father instantly canonize Brother Roger Schutz of the Taize community?

  5. This Heap Big Chief always blow smoke out of both sides of mouth.


  6. LOL
    A. "The editorial contadicts itself and makes no sense"


    B. "We report, you decide..."

    A. That's what I was thinking as I was reading it ["Eh? What?"] and B. I CAN'T decide anymore NC, my head really hurts.

    Thanks for the translation!

    ps Tony, you're not fooling anyone, I can still see you ;-).

  7. Simon-Peter,


  8. Tony,

    Let us not exaggerate: the Pope did not canonize Br. Roger!

    Canonize means to number among those persons who have a day and liturgy set aside in their name. Br. Roger enjoys no such thing.

    If we exaggerate the errors of the clergy, we will end up, outide of the church, because there is but one spirit which exaggerates the sins of the clergy, and it is not of God!

  9. Tony, you've changed your handle but kept the picture, right?

    I am crazy or isn't that right?

    Anywat, it was just a joke!

  10. Brother,
    Yes, I exaggerated simply to point out the Holy Father's favourable attitude towards heretics. I think this should be obvious.

    I changed my picture. I think I look prettier in this one. I have also changed my legal name to "Ecclesia Militans".

    Just kidding!

  11. That's all that's left of the Church Militant? One guy with nothing between him and the sky?

  12. Why are we surprised at what the last few popes have been doing? Ever since Vat II gave us their 'uncatholic' views about the Church and have their popes defending it. what could be more natural? I know that AngelQueen and perhaps some of the SSPX leaders are trying their darndest to defend and accept these 'popes' as legitimate popes but they have never been able to reconcile St. Robert Bellarmine's statement about how a 'true pope' could be preaching heresies. Perhaps they are like Clinton saying that it all depends on what 'is' is - what a heresy is. I understand it takes a great amount of faith and courage to take an SV position. Our Faith is in Christ! not the pope.

  13. The reason these popes travel so much is to keep the minds of the pew potatoes off what they are actually NOT doing.

    I once heard a story about the Great Blackstone from a fellow professional magician.

    Blackstone caused an elephant to appear behind a blanket held up by two girls in the middle of a totally blank stage. My interlocutor went back to see the show three times before he caught on. All Blackstone did was walk to the side of the proscenium, lift his pants leg, and draw attention to the fact that he was wearing a pair of white, new Keds with his usual black tuxedo. Meanwhile, the elephant simply shambled on stage and stood behind the blanket. No one in the audience saw the beast because they were concentrating so hard on the shoes.

    It's the same with Benedict XVI. Watch for the elephant, and never mind those traveling new shoes.

  14. I think some folks here are confusing Pope Benedict XVI with Pope John Paul II... Benedict has only travelled outside of Italy twice in a year as pontiff, and the first was to meet JPII's commitment to World Youth Day. He has also taken significant action and made positive statements about the Latin mass and Tradition that JPII would never make. While these things don't make for complete restoration of Tradition, they do signal a turn in that direction.

    As far as "faith and courage to take an SV position" that's ludicrous, there's absolutely no way to reconcile such a position with Catholic Tradition. The Vicar of Christ and the bishops in communion with him are the sign of Christ's authority on earth, without Peter there is no unity. It's just another protestant heresy -- "we don't need a pope, we are our own pope".

  15. Go on Matt, git 'im.

    "Our Faith is in Christ! not the pope."

    Can I stop laughing now?

    You SV wolves call Christ a liar and make His word of none effect. Even Christ Himself did not strike down the apostate Caiphas, who was a lawful high priest (not to mention the filth under the Maccabees). Was Caiphas a lawful high priest or not? Was Saul a lawful king or not? Who raised hands against them?

    Who are you to touch the Lord's annointed? Show me your authority to depose a sitting Pope.

    Fools rush in etc.

  16. Show me your authority in no uncertain terms. Show me. Don't cobble togther a few lines from x, y & z. Such a thing should be as clear, as plain, and as transparent as, oh, I don't know, certain people twisting scripture to their own destruction.

  17. Matt and S-P:

    Give him time, Matt, give him time.

    As for being my own Pope, S-P (as the 2000-Year-Old Man said "good idea!"), hey, in my country, Mormondom, I'm practicing to be a full fledged God (yes, capital "G"), create and populate whole worlds, and be always in charge. Not just one world, either, but many; along with too many new cookies to count. Whoopie!

    I dunno. My worry is there won't be enough black suits and bicycles to go around, so I guess I'll stay Catholic and deal as best I can with the wretched state of this one globe.

  18. Does SV mean that every time a pope dies and there is no sitting pope the unity is broken? Or the Church has disappeared?

    If not where does the unity come from while there is no pope? Think!!!!

  19. CSI: I am not going to get into this. I know your playbook, its open and public and "no thanks."


  20. There is a reason why the election of the new Pope occurs quickly, when it's delayed the unity of the Church militant is in jeopardy. The fact that if one is a SV, the chair must have been empty for 30-40 years (depending on your particular denomination), and that virtually no cardinals remain who were appointed by a sitting pope, that means the papacy is dead, and thus Christ lied to us.

  21. What SV's don't seem to realize is that it is far worse that these post Vat II blokes ARE legitimate. If they weren't, they wouldn't be able to do the real damage they do.



Comment boxes are debate forums for readers and contributors of RORATE CÆLI.

Please, DO NOT assume that RORATE CÆLI contributors or moderators necessarily agree with or otherwise endorse any particular comment just because they let it stand.


(1) This is our living room, in a deeply Catholic house, and you are our guest. Please, behave accordingly. Any comment may be blocked or deleted, at any time, whenever we perceive anything that is not up to our standards, not conducive to a healthy conversation or a healthy Catholic environment, or simply not to our liking.

(2) By clicking on the "publish your comment" button, please remain aware that you are choosing to make your comment public - that is, the comment box is not to be used for private and confidential correspondence with contributors and moderators.

(3) Any name/ pseudonym/ denomination may be freely used simply by choosing the third option, "Name/URL" (the URL box may be left empty), when posting your comment - therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to simply post as "Anonymous", making debate unnecessarily harder to follow. Any comment signed simply as "Anonymous" will be blocked.

Thank you!