Ratzinger’s tin ear

On the level of substance, it seems to me, John Paul II and Benedict XVI are essentially the same. What makes Benedict so controversial while John Paul was more broadly liked is not their teachings, but their gestures. John Paul was the master of the token gesture, which led many to believe there was something more and better going on beneath the rhetoric — but Benedict’s most famous gestures seem to indicate that he is somehow even worse than his public statements indicate.

The question of whether this is an unintentional “tin ear” problem or a reflection of John Paul’s more “catholic” attitude as opposed to Benedict’s preference for a “righteous remnant” is left as an exercise for the reader.

2 thoughts on “Ratzinger’s tin ear

  1. What is absolutely baffling about this whole case is that Ratzinger, once again, didn’t know that his actions would have this effect. The tin ear must be quite incredible when you don’t realise a man is a holocaust denier when a quick Google search would have found this out. I think the real story is that he didn’t think it would be that big of a deal and is shocked by the reaction, revealing that he is absolutely out of touch with reality as well as basic human sympathy. The Vatican now has to go into reverse gear and say that they deny him the full priesthood until he recants, when they could have had a much better situation intially by saying something like “recant or no re-communion”.

    So far he has pissed off non-Catholics (his Church-like communities statement), Buddhists (“autoerotic spirituality”, “transcendence without imposing concrete religious obligations.” – someone get that man a religious studies textbook!), Hinduism (“false hope,” based on “morally cruel” concept of reincarnation), Muslims (most famously) and now Jews. He has pretty much ticked all the boxes and hopefully can now get on with general pope-ing.

  2. This is a very nice blog. I have been here before, but lost the place. Also, now first I’ll have to see which way the wind blows here, because I rather like Ratzinger. I started to read him years before he became Pope. I read him only online, though.

    Great things : his article about the meaning of the Bible or the liturgy or sacred music.

    I don’t think he has a tin ear at all, but he is not focused on his job. He does a half-hearted representation of Christ. I thought he had said he would step down once he reaches the age of 80.

    Or is he gaffe prone? I was shocked out of my wits when as a new pope he visited an extermination camp. This was very early in his papacy. There were even Jewish survivors receiving him all set up in a line, and there goes Benedict and says that the Nazidom had been a thing of a few criminals heading the country.

    It still makes my stomach oscillate, and I am sure of this, but it did not create an uproar, and I can’t find it anymore to be able to quote it.

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