A moral theologian at Marquette University who claims to be a Christian, but doesn’t hold the very basic Christian beliefs, recounts an encounter with then-Cardinal Ratzinger in 1986. Daniel Maguire was in Rome with his young son, encountered the cardinal in St. Peter’s Square and took a photo.

Maguire loves telling the story about meeting Ratzinger. He and Tom – who is now 29 and a Muslim who is raising a family and studying in Cairo – had just seen the pope in the square. Suddenly there was Ratzinger.

Maguire asked if he could snap a photo of him with Tom. “But of course,” Ratzinger replied in English. Then he asked Maguire if he was enjoying his pilgrimage to Rome.

“Oh, yes,” Maguire responded, “especially because I’m a Catholic theologian.”

The smile ran from Ratzinger’s face. Considering this layperson in front of him, he asked, “A theologian?”

“Yes, my name is Daniel Maguire.”

“What?!” Ratzinger sputtered. “You are Daniel Maguire?” He glared at Maguire, possibly recalling the name from the high-profile effort Maguire led with another priest to get Catholics to ignore the 1968 encyclical from Pope Paul VI condemning the use of birth control.

I’m skeptical that it took place like this. Did the cardinal really know Maguire by name? Did he frown at the thought of a lay theologian?

Notice the relevant point about Maguire’s son. Larry, who sent the link to this to me, comments: “Itcastic sneer at the new Pope:

Rock-solid truth as professed by religious conservatives is overrated, he believes. It’s grounded in fear, especially the fear that liberalism will lead to society’s disintegration.

“The truth is always something we’re working toward. Our grasp on it can be improved,” Maguire said.

Try telling that to the holy man in the photo.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • The key word isn’t “Gorbachev”.  It’s “I”.

    This has been the sum and essence of so many of the liberal or progressive Catholic comments.  It all revolves what “I want”.  This takes the form of desiring as the Vicar of Christ, the spiritual and moral head of well over one billion Catholics, someone who closely follows the ideas and values of the infinitesimally puny speaker.

    And basically what is wanted is a Pope who follows an agenda set by this small, essentially unimportant minority who find support and an outlet in an equally vacuous media.  In one form or another, what is wanted is contained somewhere between the navel and the upper thighs…whether in abortion, more open marriages, homosexual acts, married priests, women prietesses, etc, etc. ab adsurdum.

  • Gorbachev was a leaf that was swept by the tides of Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II.  History will only remember him for what happened and not for what he did.

  • What sort of defense is that, anyway?  “He wasn’t really doing what he believed in, he was just doing what the Pope wanted.”  With defenders like that casting doubt on his integrity, who needs enemies?

    Also: is this “he was just following orders” a more subtle form of the anti-German stereotyping?

  • I think it’s the worst position to take, to say that he’s going to soften up just to appease the media and the left??? He (and we) are not here to win popularity contests. Unfortunately Pope JP II was SO popular that I think that some Catholics are hoping that Benedict will win the same adulation.

    This might offend some people but personally I think if they try to canonize JP II the primary thing that could prevent it is the world adulation he received… in a lesser person it could really feed the ego. I’m not saying that this is the case for him, but I’ve heard it said that that was a major flaw with Bishop Sheen.

  • What is it, day 8?  Where are the freakin’ anathemas?!?  What’s taking so long?

    Seriously, though, I think the pundits will probably turn out to be correct.  Vatican II, and especially the 1983 Code of Canon Law, marked a conscious shift away from the apostolic power to eject the unrepentant.  To entirely forswear this authority is heresy (1 Corinthians 5), and perhaps this is the dominant heresy of our times.  But 2,000 years of experience has taught the Church a thing or two, and it seems that the Church has suffered more lasting disunity as a result of excommunications than from any other cause.

    So what will this mean?  Ratzinger will appoint good, solid people to replace those who are retiring.  He will implement the recent liturgical reforms already promulgated, such as ad orientam, the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin, and Redemptionis.  He will teach (the greatest power a Pope has is to teach) the truth with less concern for offending people. 

    But will Kissling, Kerry, Kennedy, Cuenin, Greeley et al be shown the door?  Probably not.  There were reasons, whatever they were, for not kicking them out last year when Cardinal Ratzinger was in the CDF.  Those reasons have not been destroyed by his election.

    Unfortunately, in a raw power showdown, (and one may soon be forced by the other side), in which legal ownership of Church assets is contested, a splinter group forms with enough bishops to ensure perpetually valid sacraments, etc., the temporal political power of the Pope and those in Communion with him will be a factor in determining the temporal pain suffered by the Church.  And Pope Benedict has far less power as a media figure than his predecessor and any of his likely successors.  I wonder if he was not chosen with the consent of some liberals who felt his preexisting image made him “damaged goods”, a poor defender of the Church’s temporal patrimony, leaving the “jewels” of power, wealth and fame open for the plucking.

  • The Holy Spirit is not above using fallen men, and sometimes outrageous motives, to choose the Pope.  This Pope will not teach error in matters of faith and morals.

  • Time will tell, but I think seamole has some valid points and that is worrisome.  Since the average person gets his news and views from the soundbites on TV or the first few paragraphs in the newspaper, Benedict’s teaching will be misstated or underreported just as was JPII’s.

    What would get news and be a teaching moment for the two generations of poorly-taught Catholics would be the excommunication of dissident Catholic leaders—some mention of the reasons for which will inform other Catholics.  As in, “Oh, I didn’t know that Catholics can’t believe that!”

  • I agree that there has been much apologetic explanation; as one cardinal said before the conclave, “I don’t know how I would explain [Ratzinger’s election] to the folks back home” (paraphrase).  What ‘explain’??  Of course, they have to go up against the media with their barrels of ink who are/were quite ready to tell the western world that BXVI was a cruel dark man intent on meting out punishment.  I wonder if some of the quotes we’ve heard were in response to questions like “Is Benedict going to crush dissent like he did as head of the Inquisition?”

    This all brings us back to: who will BXVI choose as the new CDF?

  • Scott Hahn studied at Marquette for a while – I wonder if he ever encountered the “great” Dan Maguire.  This guy is a real treat.  He exists to show what a travesty Tenure is.

  • The mail-it-in-puff-piece.  Tells us a lot about Maguire—much of it unintentional—and only a little about Benedict XVI.  I, too, doubt it happened exactly this way, though some of it rings true—such as the future Pope’s determination to remain gracious in the face of such a demonstrable, self-aggrandizing twerp.  It’s remarkable how every article involving Mags has him identify himself as “a Catholic theologian.”  The phrase drops from his lips every.  single.  time.

    The focus on Maguire is appropriate in one way, though:  as with too many of his generation, Catholicism has been all about *them,* and not Him.

    The good news is that people will be reading Ratzinger/Benedict long after Maguire has been relegated to the occasional, head-shaking footnote.

  • “Rock-solid truth as professed by religious conservatives is overrated, he believes. It0;

    How sad.
    As Father Murphy said in his homlity this morning, our faith is not grounded in fear but in love.  And a Catholic theologian should know that the Truth is not a thing but a person. “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” If he were really seeking the truth, it would set him free. Unfortunately he is only seeking what he wants to find, therefore he will ultimately only find that which he seeks: himself.

    As St Teresa Benedicta said, “he who seeks truth seeks God, even if he does not know it.” Sadly, Maguire is not an honest seeker for truth.

  • Pope Benedict XVI did not become a Cardinal until 1977:

    In March 1977, Paul VI elected him Archbishop of Munich and Freising and on 28 May 1977 he was consecrated, the first diocesan priest after 80 years to take over the pastoral ministry of this large Bavarian diocese.

    Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Paul VI in the consistory of 27 June 1977, of the Titles of the Suburbicarian Church of Velletri-Segni (5 April 1993) and Suburbicarian Church of Ostia (30 November 2002).

  • _date_gmt>
    So old Danny boy resurfaces to get a dig in at the new Pope.  How hard-hitting, makes one want to become a dissenter—NOT!  Must have been a slow day at the paper. . . .

    It is so hard to take him serious.

    We all know him as the man of love and compassion, right?  Just look at his compassionate view of abortion at the (non)Catholics for Free Choice website.  Well, he isn’t exactly what he likes to portray himself as.  He gave a lecture to my students in a course on the U.S. Bishops Pastoral Letter on War and Peace.  It was more a rant than a lecture.  Finally, near the end of his demagoguery, this man of peace, love and compassion, who really had nothing too substantive to say, did utter a moral certainty(!!).  “I can say, with full theological certitude, that Ronald Reagan is going to hell.”  For those half-asleep, he repeated himself.  Yes, 100% Grade A certainty!

    Up till then I had been stunned at how poorly the talk was going, now I was rather annoyed.  He had delivered not only a blas_name>dr_freud_let_me_help_you_up publish 0 0 post 26954
    2005-04-27 18:20:39
    2005-04-27 22:20:39
    It was great a few years ago when James Carroll, who had formerly been the chaplain at Newman House at BU, wrote a column for a BU publication on something Church-related, I forget now what the topic was, but John Silber, then-president of BU and non-Catholic, wrote an unbelievably scathing rebuttal to Carroll’s nonsense. I don’t think most Catholics could have written w the knowledge of Catholicism that Silber did. I’m grateful to him for that.

  • “I want a Gorbachev. I want someone who will do for the Catholic Church what Gorbachev did for Soviet communism.uthor>
    2005-04-27 20:11:03
    2005-04-28 00:11:03
    It’s not just the commentators.  We went to the only Mass in L.A. to celebrate the new pope—which was announced before the identity of the pope was revealed—and the entire homily could have been titled “Don’t Worry, We’ll Live Through It.”  And this was at the most conservative parish in town.  We went up to thank the priest for having the Mass so we’d have somewhere to celebrate, and he did another tapdance about how it wasn’t going to be so bad, Ratzinger wasn’t as bad as everyone said he was, etc.  We were busy trying to explain that we were hoping he was as “bad” as everyone said he was.  It was really bizarre.

  • Oh come Holy Inquisition!  The former head of the Office of the Inquisition (recently retitle Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) is now Pope!!!

    Let’s get it on!!!!  We don’t need burnings or racks…just tersely worded letters of excommunication after private counseling…that provides the worst sting of all….Kennedy, Kerry, Cuomo, Greely, Cuenin, etc etc they need the Church and without it they will fizzle like the Wicked Witches of the West.