Particular Law: One and Done
Since the number of comments is on an uptick, and debates will surely arise in the op-ed department, I am compelled to announce the following policy: after this post, I will not entertain challenges from those who express disagreement via an anonymous comment without a listed name and/or e.mail address. Future nameless interventions will be expunged from the blog.
I put my name on this because these are my beliefs and reports. It's a way of standing by what I stand for, and I pride myself both on my credibility and independence. Why need any of us be ashamed to link ourselves to what we think? Of course, if you've seen voodoo dolls in chancery offices and want to blow the whistle -- then it's forgivable. The only other exception to the rule is Pharaoh. Pharaoh can post anonymously to his heart's delight, because he is Pharaoh and it's a perk of the job. But that's it. Worst-case scenario, get a pseudonym from Yahoo or Hotmail and correspond that way. It's called integrity, folks, not to mention communio. Show us your faces, and we shall be saved. And don't call me to account unless we can all be accountable together. Is that fair?
Before that goes into effect, however, I fell in love with this angry guy, and so I will play....
I have a very hard time believing Pope Benedict is as close to Archbishop Levada as you say he is. Before the most recent election the Archbishop said at events contradicted the recommendations that then-Cardinal Ratzinger made about those matters. When Fr. Fessio, a protege of the Pope, was punished by USF, Archbishop Levada threw him to the dogs despite a letter in his defense written by Cardinal Ratzinger. In general, the Archbishop's ideas about the Church seem 180 degrees from the Pope's. What evidence exactly do you have?
Rock says... Anyone who can morph Bill Levada into Hans Kung is capable of delusions of the highest order.
To reprise, carissimi, "Witchcraze is a testament to the brain's ability to ignore evidence."
Having established that Ecclesiastical McCarthyism continues, I feel better....
I really enjoy Ignatius Press' stuff -- Ratzi books are strewn all over my office and if it's a papal retreat published by Ignatius, I have it -- but, Anonymous, are you really asking us to feel sorry for Joe Fessio? I think there are people in this world and in this church much worse off than the man running a publishing house which takes in $30 million a year who gets to enjoy the quasi-Baroque splendor of the Tom Monaghan gravy train.
If anything, Fessio's treatment by USF enabled him to stoke conservative rage the world over, thus expanding his national visibility and spreading his doctrinal views even further. It was the best thing that ever happened to him, and if it didn't happen, his audience would probably be much smaller -- thus, according to your sentiments, the church would have been deprived of the wide exposure of Fessio's beliefs. Don't cry for him, Argentina.
Lastly, I'd like to raise a cautionary flag on the definition of friendship you present. I regret to inform that Cardinal Ratzinger never expected his personal friends to serve as his puppets in their official duties, which is the standard you seem to be setting for his relationship with Archbishop Levada and the measure of its closeness. Your expectation of such docility in unofficial matters is, indeed, puzzling -- don't flame your Holy Father just because you don't like who his friends are.
If anything, true friendship means that, regardless of disagreements, you respect another for his/her qualities and, ideally, for their perspective, even if it clashes with yours, using those moments of differing views to possibly extend your grasp of the opposite opinion (even if the exchange just strengthens your own viewpoint). Anything less is but a sign of weakness and closed-mindedness.
Even his critics would assert that Benedict XVI is neither weak nor closed-minded, and I find any intimation of such tendencies on his part (especially from one of his base) baffling and ill-informed at best, hypocritical and malicious at worst.
Blind obedience to one party, if anything, does not qualify a relationship between two people as a friendship, but as the antithesis of it. There is an ancient principle in the church called "ordinary governance," where a man is entrusted with the care of a portion of the flock. The key word in that statement is trust, and to tackle a sitting ordinary on a matter of prudential judgment within his local church in the appropriate exercise of his ministry is both an insult to the qualities of the ordinary duly chosen -- not to mention those who chose him (i.e. this guy called John Paul II, remember him?) -- and an offense against the freedom of ecclesiastical officials established in law. (And, admittedly, I have publicized my share of gripes in this arena -- but I would at least welcome dialogue and am willing to listen. It's the human thing to do.)
Even the then-Cardinal Ratzinger recognized this freedom and licit disparity of opinions, and Archbishop Levada remains Benedict XVI's trusted friend....
Sorry, Anonymous, I'm with the Pope on this one. But are you?