Sandro Magister, the Italian journalist who published Ratzinger’s letter to McCarrick, has a followup piece in the aftermath, including the he said/he said debate and Ratzinger’s “harmony” letter.
Returning to Ratzinger’s letter to McCarrick, it must be emphasized that, when it speaks of “harmony,” it refers exclusively to the document “Catholics in Political Life,” but passes over in silence the “Interim Reflections” produced in Denver by the Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, presided over by McCarrick himself.
The reason is simple. The “Interim Reflections” are much more difficult to harmonize with the principles fixed by Ratzinger in his memorandum.
That’s because the “Interim Reflections” were rejected by the bishops in favor of their formulation as expressed in the statement released at the end of the bishops’ meeting. Yet, notice that the “Interim Reflections” remain on the home page of the USCCB, right next to the superceding statement “Catholics in Political Life,” as if they bear equal authoritative weight and don’t contradict one another. And McCarrick’s own statement that appears with the “harmony” letter muddies the water as well, bringing in his task force’s “reflections” and once again making it appear that Ratzinger endorsed its conclusions when he didn’t.
Finally, note that “very much in harmony” is not necessarily the same thing as “is in complete agreement with.” He didn’t exactly endorse the “Catholics in Political Life” statement either, but said that he hopes to continue dialogue, as if the issue were not finished. All very interesting.