Hitchens coldly observes that the pope is not above the law. ‘The pathetic excuses of Joseph Ratzinger’s apologists evaporate before our eyes.’
So now a new defense has had to be hastily improvised. It is argued that, during his time as archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany, Ratzinger was more preoccupied with doctrinal questions than with mere disciplinary ones.
So we read that New York Times article and we learn more about the pope’s preoccupations.
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Cardinal Ratzinger ruffled feathers almost upon arrival in Munich by ordering priests to return to celebrating First Communion and first confession in the same year, rather than having the first confession a year later, a practice that had become established over the previous