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The television version of Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall is the latest account to challenge St Thomas More’s reputation as a courageous defender of the rights of conscience. Was he, in truth, a liberal icon, a religious fanatic or something in between?
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Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna has deplored the lack of appreciation for Pope Emeritus Benedict among theologians. Joseph Ratzinger would be considered the “greatest classicist among the theologians of the twentieth century” by future generations, he said at a book presentation in the Vatican. “His works will survive the centuries like those of Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas.”
Moreover, Benedict XVI had proved a “master of communication” in his efforts to limit the damage of the Richard Williamson affair in 2009, when he lifted the excommunication of the SSPX bishop without realising Williamson was a Holocaust-denier.
Benedict had taken full responsibility, he recalled, while Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos and Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who Cardinal Schönborn said were to blame, had both kept silent.
Speaking at a book presentation in the Vatican, Schönborn said he had already put all of Joseph Ratzinger’s writings next to those of St Augustine in his private library.