Joseph Ratzinger had published the essay in his time as a professor of theology in Regensburg. Now, it has appeared in the Collected Works, issued by the Pope-Benedict Institute under the direction of Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg.
1972: The Proximity to the Position of Cardinal Kasper
In 1972 Joseph Ratzinger had written something similar, as Cardinal Walter Kasper has represented at the Cardinal Consistory and at the Synod of Bishops on the Family. It was about civil remarriage, which should find some recognition in the Church. There was talk that "the opening of Communion in the community after a period of probation of not less than the time fairly and fully in line with the Church's tradition." Of course, if "successful, a second marriage for a long time proves its moral significance" and had been "lived in the spirit of faith" and if "there are moral obligations towards children and wife" in the new civil marriage. This was the original Ratzinger essay, as it was cited by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, whose difference is now noted.
2014: The Distancing of Cardinal Kasper
Now Pope Benedict XVI. no longer shares the view he held in 1972. For this reason he underwent a major rewriting of the essay prior to its publication in the collected writings. The conclusion that Benedict XVI. draws in 2014, is completely different than the theologian Joseph Ratzinger in 1972 drew. Not to recognize the second marriage and grant admission to Communion, but to check the condition of nullity on the marriage and streamline the process. This is a position he had already proposed as Pope during his reign.
The revised version is binding and thus Benedict XVI. has distanced himself to Cardinal Kasper and the attempts undertaken in this year within the Church to enforce the recognition of a second marriage and the Communion for remarried divorcees. Instead Benedict XVI. strengthens the position of those cardinals who are attempting to confront this, Cardinal Prefect Gerhard Müller, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, Cardinal George Pell and others.
Benedict XVI. take sides as "Counter-Pope" of Pope Francis
The date of revision can hardly be considered random. Thus, the retired head of the Church took an active part in the ongoing discussion and clearly sided with one party. According to Church tradition that would negate the demand. However, the facts speak for themselves. Also, that the "against" of Benedict XVI., which the Süddeutsche Zeitung attributed him as "The Contrast-Pope" with their word game, is actually directed against Pope Francis and Benedict XVI. in the latest and most heated inner-Church debate, is positioned as "anti-pope".
So it would never be said in the Vatican. The battle takes place at a distance and without naming the counterparts. However, the picture is clear, Benedict XVI. defends the teaching of the Catholic Church. His position is not directed against anyone, but takes the side of the deposit of faith, which he sees clearly at risk. In other words: He takes position against all who oppose the Church's teaching whether it be Cardinal Walter Kasper and be it even Pope Francis.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org