Defender of the Faith

90min, HD

Feature Documentary, 2019

In 2013 Pope Benedict XVI resigned. It was the first time in 600 years that a Pope had abdicated. It was the most visible sign yet that the Church was in crisis.

DEFENDER OF THE FAITH tells the story of a man who dedicated his life to preserving the Church but instead led it into its greatest crisis of the modern era: Joseph Ratzinger, the German Pope Benedict XVI. During his 25 years working within the Vatican he was the key figure in restoring fundamental Catholic doctrine after a brief period of modernization in the 1960s. Our interviewees, who have inside knowledge of the clerical system, describe how Ratzinger’s policies contributed to the dramatic loss of moral authority that the Church suffers from today.

"Although I am not a believer, I have always been fascinated by the extraordinary appeal of the worldwide Catholic Church. Many think that Ratzinger's resignation drew a line under the manifold problems and crises of the institutional church. I see this differently because the crises that appeared during Benedict's pontificate had systemic origins – and continue to exist today. Ratzinger's departure has a symbolic meaning that goes far beyond his own person and raises essential questions about the abuse of power in all undemocratic, authoritarian and patriarchal systems."

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