Vatican denies pope gave reprint permission

According to Radio Vatican, the article written by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany was published originally in 1995 and was used without permission by the Aula Publishing Company in a 1998 volume on the 1848 Revolution.

Titled “Freedom and Truth,” the article contains "absolutely no formulations that could be considered in any way ‘right-wing,’ " Vatican radio said.

The head of the Aula publishing firm is a former Nazi Party member and S.A. storm trooper named Otto Scrinzi, according to a report in the Osterreich daily newspaper.

A statement from some guy at Radio Vatican doesn’t cut it. We need the pope himself to make clear what happened and to make clearer that he didn’t give permission for this both before and after becoming pope.

What exactly is the controversy about? Is it about what the Pope wrote, or the fact that it was later incorporated into a book by Aula Publishing Co.? How well-known is Aula Publishing Co.?

I looked around the website of the Vatican Radio, but couldn’t find any articles relating to this topic.

The problem is that, according to a report I’ve read, is that the person who negotiated the publication of Ratzinger’s article with his secretary kept their complete exchange of letters, which would prove the Pope did give his written agreement to the re-publication.

The complete report was reproduced here.

Until further information and details are provided and a more legitimate news service picks this story up, I wouldn’t be too concerned about this story. The originating site appears to encourage users to submit their own news stories, and it’s unclear what verification steps are taken to ensure accuracy and truth of information being reported. I tried to locate the article in question, but I was unable to quickly locate in German or English. Sounds like a fabricated story–at first glace anyway.

The German magazine Der Spiegel has repeated the allegation and claims to have seen the evidence supporting the claim that Cardinal Ratzinger gave permission to reprint the article… but in a magazine, and not in the book mentioned in the first post.

In 1997, Ratzinger – who at the time was head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – allowed Austrian publisher Aula-Verlag to use a text that he had written for a collection of essays to mark the 150th anniversary of 1848, a year of revolution in Germany as elsewhere. The editors of this book entitled “1848 – Erbe und Auftrag” (1848 – Heritage and Mission) were Otto Scrinzi and Jürgen Schwab, two well-known leading figures among German-speaking right-wing extremists who have never made a secret of their political beliefs

On Sept. 18, 1997 Reisegger asked “His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger” for “permission to reprint” the article that was published in the magazine Communio in 1995. "The monthly magazine Aula of the Libertarian Academic Associations of Austria " wanted to comment on Ratzinger’s “exceptional thoughts” on the “confusion” surrounding the 150th anniversary of the Revolution of 1848.

Only 12 days later, Ratzinger’s secretary, Monsignore Josef Clemens, gave Reisegger the green light: “In response to your friendly letter … I may on behalf of Cardinal Ratzinger inform you that he has approved the printing of his essay … in the monthly magazine Aula of the Libertarian Academic Associations of Austria.”,1518,613756,00.html

Thank you for providing that link. Does anyone know where one could obtain a copy of “Freedom and Truth”? I guess I’d have to read it in its entirety before I could comment further.

That’s correct, RedGecko, the article written by the pope was published in a neonazi magazine, not a book. His article can be read here (in English) or here (in German).

So what is the objection to the article? Is it because some blogger claims it to be a virulent attack on liberty and personal freedom? If so, such a claim shows that the idea of freedom in the world is that it is the equal of wanton licence to do anything. Is it because of the critique of democracy? Such an opinion shows a total lack of Catholic doctrtine and historical perspective. We have not finally arrived at the pinnacle of all political systems. Time has proven that political systems have evolved and improved over time. It would be the heighth of arrogance to assume democracy has nothing wrong with it.

When something real comes out on this, I’ll believe it. I don’t believe blogs and agenda-drive web sites.

I don’t think there is any objection to the article which the Pope wrote. The objection is to his giving permission to a right-wing extremist magazine to re-print it. Doing so conveys the impression that high ranking persons in the Catholic Church supports that magazine and its views.

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