Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Benedict the inquisitor

As I paid for my turkey wrap and orange juice at "La Cantina," i.e., the student coffee shop, today, the cashier told me that a new pope had been elected. Back in my office, I went on the Web and learned that Cardinal Ratzinger was now Pope Benedict XVI.

Coincidentally, some of my colleagues and I had just been discussing Aidan Kelly's Crafting the Art of Magic (Llewellyn Publications, 1991), which for all its flaws represents the first book-length study by a scholar of religion on Wiccan origins.

Kelly, raised Roman Catholic, turned to the Craft as a young man, but then in the early 1980s tried for a time to return to the Church, only to feel that there was no place for him in it.

At his book's conclusion, noting how the Church never apologized for the execution of "witches" and "heretics," he writes:

The man who holds the position of Grand Inquisitor, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, is responsible for the harassing of Fr. Charles Curran, and of Fr. Matthew Fox, whom he has accused of heresy. Why? Because Fox hired Starhawk (and Luisa Teish, a Voudun priestess) to teach at Holy Names College in Oakland, California. . . .

Let me merely extend an invitation: if you, dear reader, can no longer stomach being in communion with Cardinal Ratzinger--or whoever the Chief Son-of-a-Bitch of your particular persuasion may be--then come circle with the Witches. We offer you liberty, fraternity, and equality.

That was my first introduction to the Ratzinger-as-Inquisitor meme, back in 1991. As the analysis of the papal election rolls forth, we may hear more of it.


Anonymous Carol Maltby said...

Starhawk's link is leading to a quartered circle in a landscape. Other than one or two areas which lead to alabaster sculptures, other live areas on that page lead only to a web-hosting company. If it's meant to function as a portal to her usual range of reports and articles, it's not doing so. You might want to check with her and see if this is her intent.

Matthew Fox has a blistering and intense commentary on John Paul II's papacy at his website.
Under the circumstances "refreshing" is hardly the word to use, but after the many hours of fawning media coverage it was the first description that came to mind for me.

5:46 AM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...


It should have been ".org". Thanks for noticing. I corrected the link.


8:15 AM  

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