Former pope Benedict XVI, who dramatically resigned in 2013, was often criticized for his attitudes to social issues such as diversity, and attempting to undermine the modernisation drive of his successor Pope Francis.
Former pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger), known for his stringent traditionalism, has claimed that his opponents sought to “silence” him, in a new authorised biography, “Benedict XVI – A Life”, that was published in Germany on Monday, reported AFP.
Referring to reactions to his continued interventions in theological debates, the 93-year-old former pope insisted he was victim to a “malignant distortion of reality”.
In the new biography, the retired pontiff yet again openly deplored gay marriage.
The retired pope also warned:
Pope Francis Controversy
Touching upon accusations that were levelled against him of allegedly undermining the attempt to modernize the Church espoused by his successor Pope Francis, Benedict XVI insists in the biography that his “personal friendship with Pope Francis has not only endured, but grown”.
AP Photo / Andrew MedichiniFaithful watch Pope Francis deliver the Angelus prayer on a giant screen to avoid crowds gathering, in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, 8 March 2020. The pope in his streamed remarks said he was close in prayers to those suffering from the coronavirus and to those caring for them.
A theological conservative staunchly biding by traditional views on Catholic values, Benedict XVI had originally vowed to stay “hidden from the world” after retiring.
Yet he has persisted in openly declaring his views in articles, books and interviews. His approaches are believed to be dramatically different to those of Pope Francis, perceived as more “progressive”.
In early 2020 the former pope found himself at the heart of Vatican intrigue, as he requested the removal of his name as co-author of a controversial new book, From the Depths of Our Hearts, where he voiced his opposition to allowing married men to become priests.
In the book, Pope Benedict insisted that celibacy had “great significance” as it allowed priests to focus on their duties.
The intervention had come just weeks before his successor Pope Francis was expected to publish a document on whether married men could be ordained in the Amazon, where there was a shortage of priests.
Some perceived the intervention as undermining nature.
Controversial Social Debates
In office from 2005-13, Benedict XVI was also frequently criticised for his attitudes to Islam, and was especially berated for a 2018 controversial essay in a German-language theological journal where he was accused of fostering anti-Semitism.
The retired pontiff’s text on Jewish-Catholic relations in an issue of Communion fired a debate around his denial the Catholic Church ever adopted “supersessionism.”
The latter, dismissed by Jews who reject this view as Christian “arrogance”, is a theological belief that God’s covenant through Christ replaced the covenant God made with the Jewish people.
The former pope who unexpectedly resigned as leader of the Catholic Church on 28 February 2013 became the first to relinquish the office since Gregory XII in 1415.
At the time, the Pope cited his declining health due to old age as the reason for his decision.