1982 onwards - Conservative teachings
In his Doctrine of the Faith role, Cardinal Ratzinger was seen as a strong conservative - defending traditional Catholic positions on birth control and abortion, homosexuality, women priests and other controversial social issues, in line with the equally conservative approach of Pope John Paul II (who, in other areas was widely seen as slowly moving the Church in a modernising direction).
Being in charge of discipline within the Church also meant that Ratzinger had to deal with the issue of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy - an issue which would prove controversial many years later, when it emerged that he had written a letter opposing the sacking of a US priest who had abused children, because it might harm the "good of the universal Church". This was seen by many as endorsing the cover-up of child abuse that became a major scandal when it was uncovered years later.
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