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Cardinal Ratzinger: modern Cincinnatus had to "leave the plow"

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Showing 1-14 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 18, 2013 7:41:23 AM PST
The critics of Pope Benedict XVI fail to mention that Cardinal Ratzinger, a humble scholarly theologian, had no desire to leave his post as Archbishop of Munich-Freising. At the urging of Pope John Paul II, in 1981 he had to accept the appointment of Cardinal-Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Likewise, he had no desire of becoming pope, but he had to accept the election by the College of Cardinals.

This harkens back to the legendary Cincinnatus who left his plow when emissaries from the Roman Senate arrived requesting him to assume command in the face of a pressing military threat.

Cincinnatus was a very popular figure among the veterans of the American Revolution, as indicated by the creation of the Society of the Cincinnati. In a famous marble statue, George Washington is depicted as Cincinnatus, with one hand on a plow; and the Minuteman Monument (Embattled Farmer) at the Old North Bridge in Concord has one hand resting on a plow.

At the Connecticut State Armory in Hartford, just to the right of the main entrance, there is a fascinating exhibit dealing with Israel Putnam. An 1886 lithograph depicts Putnam engaged in spring plowing and a horseman with the inscription: "News from Lexington: PUTNAM Leaving the Plow. 'He dared to lead where others dared to follow.'" The exhibit also has a plow that, according to his descendants, Putnam was using when the news arrived. Subsequently, Putnam commanded a company of Connecticut farmers who fought at the battle of Bunker Hill. "Putnam leaving the Plow," sculpted by Hermon A. McNeil in 1917, also appears on the tympanum over the doors on the north side of the State Capitol in Hartford.

Posted on Feb 18, 2013 8:14:34 AM PST
we already had this exact same topic

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2013 11:13:06 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
Isn't this a familiar theme throughout church history?
In monastic orders today, those devoted to prayer and contemplation,
isn't the Superior General of the order always seen as making a profound
sacrifice in leaving the pure contemplative life to assume the cross of
administrative duties so that others may enjoy the pure vocation no longer
allowed to him?

We have long seen reluctance and indifference to worldly power as the
best qualifications for those chosen to administer or lead.

But given the crisis faced by Roman Catholicism today all over the world,
will the demure, self effacing posture of cardinals going into the conclave
really serve the church as it tries to choose a new leader?
Does it need a reluctant, self effacing, demurring cardinal or
some one who welcomes the challenges and has true creative ideas about them?
A Julius Caesar or an Augustus, for instance, rather than a Cincinnatus?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2013 11:30:09 AM PST

According to legend, Cincinnatus was successful in meeting the pressing threat that Rome faced, therefore the analogy is appropriate. Unfortunately Benedict XVI has not had the legendary success of Cincinnatus.

Also, note that I had written the following under another thread:

<<When he was first elected, I gave him the honorific title of Kaiser Benedikt. This was not a flight of fancy on my part because, ever since Pope Leo the Great was described as "Emperor of the West," one of the many posts conferred on the Bishops of Rome is that of successor of the Caesars.

I also felt that Pope Benedict had a golden opportunity of emulating Kaiser William II's insights and actions on religion issues. A scanned copy of THE KAISER'S MEMOIRS is at:

On page 209 the Kaiser wrote that he "felt deeply the inadequacy of the sermons, which often dealt only with dry dogmatic matters and paid too little attention to the personality of Christ. [...] I became acquainted with Dr. [Ernst] Dryander [...] His sermons were free from dogma, the personality of Christ was their pivotal point, and 'practical Christianity' was brought right into the foreground. Later I brought him to Berlin and soon had him appointed to a post at the cathedral and in my palace."

What is also particularly interesting is the Kaiser's admission that "polemics in religion have remained alien to me, and such autocratic expressions as 'orthodox' are repulsive to me."

Unfortunately, Kaiser Benedikt did not make a serious enough effort at burying the hatchet with the Evangelical/Lutheran, Anglican/Episcopal and other mainline Churches. The continuing divisions among the hierarchs continue to be an intolerable scandal.>>

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2013 5:34:43 PM PST
Anne Rice says:
I suppose you are right.
For all the talk of burying hatchets, Benedict believes absolutely
in the special superiority of the RCC. And he could never really
get anywhere seriously with other religions, believing what he did.

Inviting Anglican priests ----who shared his fear of women and his bigoted
stance against them ----- into the Roman Church was an all time low for the man.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2013 5:50:18 PM PST
Benedict XVI created a "Personal Ordinariate" for Anglican/Episcopal priests and their congregations who have decided to join the Catholic Church. Perhaps the next pope could create another "Personal Ordinariate" for women priests and their congregations.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2013 11:45:21 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
What a beautiful idea!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2013 3:34:48 PM PST
There is an abundance of women who would make wonderful priests--they would certainly be much better than all the dullard priests that I have dealt with.

Posted on Feb 21, 2013 10:06:31 PM PST
Mike 4 truth says:

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2013 8:27:15 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 22, 2013 9:19:44 AM PST
In my opinion, the huffpost article blames Benedict XVI for the actions of John Paul II. The 1991 op-ed piece in which McBrien discussed "the prolonged, slow-motion coup that has been under way in the church since the election of Pope John Paul II in October 1978" is at:

It is interesting to note that Pope John Paul II was the darling of some Protestant groups who had been fiercely hostile to the Catholic Church and to the papal office.

Posted on Feb 22, 2013 12:11:29 PM PST
Mike 4 truth says: domenico?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2013 8:57:13 PM PST
Mike 4 truth says:
watch mea maxima culpa MR ROSA.......... its on netflix or HBO you ll understand WHYhe resigned ,nothing to do with health. They exposed his cover up. Denial of truth is guilt of cover up.

Posted on Feb 23, 2013 2:41:02 PM PST
Mike 4 truth says:
And yet there was /is a rush to make John Paul a saint. Y? in doing so the vatican could make mucho dinero of off Poles coming to vatican to see their "homie" When I think of John Paul II, What comes to mind and I can not forget how he was laid out in his funeral w/ those pointy red shoes which cost $800.00 in US dollars. After watching that documentary from HBO I now understand his legacy along w/ Bennedict s is how they BOTH knew what was happening w/ the abuse scandle and CHOSE to do NOTHING!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2013 7:58:00 AM PST
<<And yet there was /is a rush to make John Paul a saint. Y?>>

I am much more disturbed by the fact that Pius IX is up for sainthood.
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Discussion in:  Catholic forum
Participants:  4
Total posts:  14
Initial post:  Feb 18, 2013
Latest post:  Feb 24, 2013

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