EWTN To Air Exclusive Interview with The Vatican’s Cardinal Ratzinger
Irondale, AL (EWTN) – EWTN Global Catholic Network will air an exclusive interview conducted by EWTNews Director, Raymond Arroyo, in Rome with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as part of the international newsmagazine The World Over Live. The complete interview will air on Friday, September 5 at 8 PM EDT.
Cardinal Ratzinger, often referred to as the Vatican's doctrinal watchman, is responsible for protecting Catholic doctrine and exposing heresy. He is considered the single most powerful man in the Vatican aside from Pope John Paul II. A notoriously private man, the cardinal rarely grants interviews or takes questions from the media. In this historic session with Raymond Arroyo, Cardinal Ratzinger, whose primary language is German, consented to the request that the interview be conducted in the English language.
The cardinal answered far-ranging questions posed by Arroyo on current Church issues, including the root causes of the sexual abuse crisis in the United States, his estimation of the Church's future, his diagnosis of the problem with the Bishops' Conference, his views on efforts to convert the Jewish people, and a comment on his possible retirement. On the latter, Cardinal Ratzinger said, "Yes, I had the desire to retire in 1991, 1996, 2001 because I had the idea I could write some books and return to my studies as Cardinal Martini did…but, on the other hand, seeing the suffering Pope, I cannot say to the Pope, 'I will retire, I will write my books'…I have to continue."
When asked by Arroyo what he identifies as the root cause of the current sexual abuse crisis, Cardinal Ratzinger said, "The general element is a weakness of human beings, even of priests…temptations are present also for the priests…I think the essential point is a weakness of faith…So, two things are essential. Conversion to a profound and deep faith with a life of prayer and sacraments and clear moral teaching and connection of the teaching that the Church has the Holy Spirit and can give us the way."
Directing the discussion to the much-discussed topic of the role of bishops with regard to the crisis, Arroyo asked, "The Bishops' Conference has largely taken the lead, the National Conference, in trying to heal and put an end to this crisis. Because there is such a lack of confidence, if you will today, among the faithful in their episcopacy, do you believe the Bishops' Conference to be the best instrument of that healing at this point?" Cardinal Ratzinger replied, "Coordination between the bishops is certainly necessary because the United States is a great continent. From the outset it is clear that the personal responsibility of the bishop is fundamental for the Church, and perhaps the anonymity of the Bishops' Conferences can be a danger for the Church. Nobody is personally, immediately responsible. It was always the Conference and you do not know where or who is the conference."
Bringing up another controversial subject currently in the news, Arroyo posed, "You've discussed often the nature of sexuality and that it finds its home in the context of marriage. This today is a very contested notion and a very contested teaching. How does the Church bring that message into a culture where we now have homosexual marriages being legalized, in vitro fertilization and technologies of reproduction outside of the marital act? How do you bring this teaching to the culture?" Cardinal Ratzinger answered, "It is always essential that the nature of a human being is a given, and we understand that men and women were created one for the other…So I think even if our culture is against marriage as an essential form of relations between women and men, I think our nature is always present and we can understand it if we will to understand it. I hope it is possible in a sincere and open dialogue with the people to understand even today that our nature is this: man and woman are created one for the other."
In recent days, Cardinal Ratzinger has taken on greater responsibilities, personally overseeing the investigation of all sexual abuse claims and deciding the fate of accused clergy.
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