On February 28, 2013, Benedict XVI became the first pope in nearly six hundred years to resign. In doing so, Joseph Ratzinger, the man who became Benedict, also relinquished a controversial religious career in which he was largely responsible for the Catholic Church's prodigious troubles: his scorched-earth assault on modernity and the world of ideas destroyed any hope of progress in the Church while leaving a trail of shattered lives in its wake.
In this persuasive new book, Daniel Gawthrop argues that Ratzinger must not be allowed diplomatic immunity from the abuse scandals that have rocked the Vatican. Gawthrop not only accuses Ratzinger of quitting to avoid potential prosecution, but also indicts him for promoting a toxic theology whose destructive impact can be felt far beyond the Church. In doing so, the book examines Ratzinger's career in all its infamy, from his medieval understanding of women and demonization of homosexuality to his war on liberation theology. It also offers insight into Ratzinger's successor, Pope Francis I, and provocative ideas on how the Church can transform itself, thereby restoring the faith of its followers.
During his eight years as pope, Ratzinger attempted to rebrand himself from "God's Rottweiler" to Prince of Peace. The Trial of Pope Benedict reveals the true Ratzinger, in the process telling one of recent history's most astonishing tales of institutional power, religious bullying, and systemic abuse.
Daniel Gawthrop is the author of four previous books and is a self-proclaimed "lapsed Catholic" who has written extensively on the subject.