The Trial of Pope Benedict: Joseph Ratzinger and the Vatican’s Assault on Reason, Compassion, and Human Dignity
On February 28, 2013, Benedict XVI became the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign. In abandoning a role that nearly every one of his predecessors had seen as a calling from God to be heeded until death, Joseph Ratzinger, the man who became Benedict, also relinquished a controversial religious career in which he was largely responsible for the Catholic Church’s prodigious troubles: his scorched-earth assault on modernity and the world of ideas destroyed any hope of progress in the Church while leaving a trail of shattered lives in its wake. Thanks to his antediluvian teachings about human sexuality, bioethics, and Original Sin, Ratzinger helped turn the Church into a reactionary breeding ground for ultra-conservative orthodoxy. Along the way, he enabled the moral and spiritual squalor of clerical child sex abuse that has led to a mass exodus from the pews and threatened to bankrupt the Church itself.
In this persuasive new book, author Daniel Gawthrop argues that Ratzinger must not be allowed diplomatic immunity from the abuse scandals that have rocked the Vatican. He not only accuses Ratzinger of quitting to avoid dealing with an explosive new sex scandal, but also indicts him for promoting a toxic theology whose destructive impact can be felt far beyond the Church itself. As proof, the book examines Ratzinger’s career in all its infamy, from his medieval understanding of women and demonization of homosexuality to his war on liberation theology. It also offers insight into Ratzinger’s successor, Pope Francis, and provocative ideas on how the Church can transform itself as a means to restore the faith of its disenchanted followers.
During his eight years as pope, Ratzinger attempted to rebrand himself from “God’s Rottweiler” to Prince of Peace. The Trial of Pope Benedict reveals the true Ratzinger, in the process telling one of recent history’s most astonishing tales of institutional power, religious bullying, and systemic abuse.
Predictions on Pope Francis
Discussing the Future of Catholicism
On February 16, 2013 Daniel Gawthrop joined New York author Amanda Marcotte and CJAD 800 AM radio (Montreal) host Todd van der Heyden for a “Viewpoints” discussion on the meaning of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, his overall legacy, and the social relevance of Roman Catholicism today.