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Pope Benedict XVI's 30-year campaign to reassert conservative Catholicism

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"The world is evil and the church is pure," says an Austrian church official. "This is serious for Benedict. He doesn't want the church to be a joke. He's suspicious of chaos and avoidance of discipline and order, and of human efforts to adopt popular culture and create church out of the world, instead of a church that transforms the world. This deeply upsets him. He sees all salvation taking place inside the Catholic Church. He believes that."

Yet ironically, child abuse has arguably brought greater disorder than the ferment of Vatican II in the late 1960s. This spring, the pope described pedophilia as "the petty gossip of dominant opinion" before shifting 180 degrees and asking contrition from St. Peter's Basilica on June 11: "We ... insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again."

From progressive to traditionalist

Ratzinger was not always seen as the conservative enforcer of Catholic doctrine. In 1965, the arrival of Ratzinger to the theology faculty at Tubingen brought a stir of anticipation. Ratzinger's bestselling "Introduction to Christianity" seemed a new impulse for democracy and freedom. The school had a joint Protestant-Catholic faculty. Change was in the air. Ratzinger was brought in by Hans Kung, a progressive young Swiss lion of Vatican II; for a time, it looked as if the two men were at the start of a beautiful friendship.

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