Saturday, December 31, 2022

Women's Ordination Worldwide responds to death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Today, Women’s Ordination Worldwide marks the death of Joseph Ratzinger, an academic who understood church history better than most and began his clerical life as a liberal theologian knowing  full well that women were equal founding leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. However, as head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office for decades, and later as pope, Benedict XVI caused immense harm through his fixation on the ‘crimes’ of  Catholics seeking equality, inclusion and justice.

We lament the fact that Pope Benedict died without apologizing for silencing his fellow theologians and women's ordination campaigners who dared to question his increasingly extreme positions on women’s ordained ministry. In particular, we call to mind Pope Benedict’s 2010 decision to classify the “attempted ordination of a woman” as a grave crime, on a par with the sexual abuse of a child, but with the punishment of automatic excommunication for women.

We extend our sympathy and solidarity to the survivors of abuse by clergy and note that Pope Benedict’s tolerance for the crimes of male priests was in sharp contrast to his determination to punish those who challenged his absolute intolerance for the equality of women.

We pray for the repose of the soul of Pope Emeritus Benedict and for the healing of divisions that his intransigent theology deepened within the church.

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