Retirement Comes for the Archbishop
- Bishop Matthew H. Clark remembers the letter: stern, foreboding, and signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — the man whom the world knows today as Pope Benedict XVI.
Delivered to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester in 1986, the Vatican’s letter said that Rev. Charles E. Curran’s beliefs on the subjects of masturbation, homosexuality and premarital sex would promote a questionable “pluralism in teaching moral doctrine,” and that Clark was not to defend the man’s opinions any more.
But Clark didn’t back down.
“Your Eminence, I fail to see how such a description does justice to what I wrote,” Clark responded in a return letter. “My intention was to portray moral theology as a living discipline, which ever faces new questions and which historically has developed a great deal.”