There has been some coverage of Benedict’s resignation suggesting that the controversy surrounding his tenure has been due to his adherence to traditional Church teachings. While I certainly would see his record in that regard as grounds for resignation, that’s not really why he gets the hate. It is important to remember that he had to earn that hate, not for some boldly anachronistic theology, but for the lasting damage he has caused to actual people.
Under Benedict’s illustrious leadership, the Vatican cracked down on American nuns for caring too much about poor people and not enough about making gay people feel unwelcome/preventing women from accessing healthcare:
The Vatican also rebuked the nuns for spending too much time “promoting issues of social justice” while failing to speak out often enough about “issues of crucial importance to the life of the church and society,” such as abortion and gay marriage.
The man himself stated that condom use increases HIV, undercutting lifesaving efforts to stem the spread of the disease:
HIV/Aids was, he argued, “a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem.”
When he has walked such positions back, it has been a matter of outside public pressure, not a matter of growing ethical understanding.
And, of course, when confronted with instances of child abuse and rape, his first reaction was to protect the rapist, not the child:
A canonical trial authorised by Cardinal Ratzinger’s deputy was halted after Fr Murphy wrote to the future pope asking that proceedings be stopped, despite objections from a second archbishop.
The man was an absolute monster. That’s why we hate the bastard and are glad to see him go.