Skip to comments.Ratzinger Rehabilitates Müller. But Benedict, Himself, Is Being Hit with Accusations of Heresy
Posted on 01/02/2018 5:28:46 PM PST by ebb tide
You defended the clear traditions of the faith, but in the spirit of Pope Francis you also sought to understand how they can be lived today.
This is the praise that pope emeritus Benedict XVI bestows on Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller in the opening of the volume published in Germany on the occasion of the cardinals 70th birthday and the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
Last July 1 Pope Francis brusquely dismissed Müller from the position of prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, after repeatedly demonstrating that he did not appreciate his vigilance over the doctrinal correctness of his own magisterium.
But he should not give up because of this, Joseph Ratzinger now writes to him. Because even without a specific office anymore, a priest, and certainly a bishop and a cardinal, is never simply in retirement. On the contrary: you will be able to continue in the future to serve the faith publicly, especially in these confused times in which we live. A service that in effect Müller is already performing with untiring dedication.
Ratzinger credits his cardinal friend with having carried out his role as prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith in the right way, meaning that he combined theological expertise with the wisdom of someone who has well in view the whole life of the Church.
And he observes, in this regard:
I think for example that in the liturgical reform some things would have been different if the last word had not been left to the experts, but there had also been wisdom in judging.
One could cite here other significant passages of the greeting that Benedict XVI addresses to his cardinal friend in the book in his honor. But it is his whole text that deserves to be read.
The original in German is on this other page of Settimo Cielo
> Grußwort von Papst em. Benedikt XVI.
While here below is a translation of it in English.
It will be noted that Ratzinger goes on at length about his own work as a theologian and cites authors like Karl Rahner and Bernard Häring on whom - just like on himself - whole generations of theologians and pastors have been formed.
Curiously, however, the publication of these recollections of his, in the book in honor of Cardinal Müller, coincided with the emergence of a frontal theological attack, of unprecedented harshness, precisely against Ratzinger as theologian.
By whom, and why, is explained at the end of this post, after Ratzingers praise for Müller.
A WORD OF GREETING
by pope emeritus Benedict XVI
Eminence! Dear brother!
Your 70th birthday is drawing near, and even if I am no longer capable of writing a genuine scholarly contribution to the book that is dedicated in your honor on this occasion, I would like to participate in it with a word of greeting and of gratitude.
22 years have gone by since you gave to me, in March of 1995, your Katholische Dogmatik für Studium und Praxis der Theologie. It was for me an encouraging signal that even in the generation of the postconciliar theologians there should be thinkers who have the courage to strive for integrality, which means representing the faith of the Church as unity and totality. Even if detailed research is important, it is no less important that the faith of the Church appear in its inner unity and in its completeness and that therefore there should also become visible the whole simplicity of the faith, all the complex theological reflections notwithstanding. Because the sense that the Church is imposing upon us a package of incomprehensible things, which in the end are of interest only to specialists, is an obstacle of the highest order to the yes to God who speaks to us in Jesus Christ. One becomes a great theologian, in my opinion, not by dealing with refined and intricate details, but because one is able to represent the final unity and simplicity of the faith.
Your Dogmatik in a single volume also touched me for an autobiographical reason. Karl Rahner had presented in the first volume of his writings a plan for a renovated structure of dogmatics that he had elaborated with Hans Urs von Balthasar. Naturally this had aroused in all of us a great thirst to see this plan filled out and elaborated. The desire that arose everywhere for a Rahner-Balthasar dogmatics was also connected with an editorial operation. Erich Wewel had convinced Fr. Bernard Häring in the 1950s to write a moral theology text in a single volume, which after its publication became a great success. After which that capable editor got the idea that something of that nature should also exist in dogmatics, and that a complete work written by the same hand would correspond to a real need. Obviously he approached Karl Rahner and asked him to write this book. But Rahner in the meantime was involved in so many efforts that he did not see how he could get away for such a large undertaking. Strangely, the editor then approached me, when I was at the beginning of my journey and was teaching dogmatic and fundamental theology in Freising. But unfortunately I too, even though I was at the beginning of my path, was engaged in many activities and did not feel capable of writing such a large work in an acceptable timeframe. So I asked if I could bring in a co-author, my friend Fr. Alois Grillmeier. To the extent possible I collaborated on the project and also met with Fr. Grillmeier a number of times for extensive consultations. But Vatican Council II was taking up all my energy at that point and imposed a thorough rethinking of the whole presentation of the traditional doctrine of the Church. When I was appointed archbishop of Munich and Freising, in 1977, it was clear that I could no longer think of such a work. So in 1995 when your book was put into my hands, I suddenly saw, in a work by a theologian of the subsequent generation, what I had wanted but had not been realized.
I was able to meet you in person when the German episcopal conference proposed you as a member of the international theological commission. There you stood out in a particular way for the richness of your expertise and for your wholly interior faithfulness to the faith of the Church. When in 2012 Cardinal Levada resigned for reasons of age from his position as prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, you appeared, after all the evaluations, as the bishop most suited to take on this task.
When I accepted this position in 1981, Archbishop Hamer - the secretary of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith at the time - explained to me that the prefect did not necessarily have to be a theologian, but a wise man, who in standing above theological questions would not need to formulate specialized judgments, but rather to understand what had to be done for the Church in a given moment. Theological expertise was to be concentrated in the secretary, the one who directs the council, the assembly of expert theologians who together give a correct scholarly judgment. But as in politics, the final decision cannot be made by the experts, but by the wise who have familiarity with the technical but moreover have well in view the whole life of a great community. During the years of my office I sought to meet this standard. To what extent I succeeded will be for others to judge.
In the confused times in which we live, the coexistence between technical knowledge and wisdom on what is decisive in the end seems to me particularly important. I think for example that in the liturgical reform some things would have been different if the last word had not been left to the experts, but there had also been wisdom in judging, which would have recognized the limits of the mere man of studies.
During your years in Rome, you repeatedly dedicated yourself to working not only as a scholar, but as a wise man, as a father in the Church. You defended the clear traditions of the faith, but in the spirit of Pope Francis you also sought to understand how they can be lived today.
Pope Paul VI wanted the highest positions in the curia - those of the prefect and secretary - always to be assigned for only five years, in order to protect the freedom of the pope and the mobility of curial work. In the meantime, your five-year mandate for the congregation for the faith ran out. Therefore you no longer have a specific office, but a priest, and certainly a bishop and a cardinal, is never simply in retirement. This is why you will be able to continue also in the future to serve the faith publicly, on the basis of your interior inspiration, of your priestly mission and your theological charism. We are all content that, with your great inner responsibility and the gift of the Word that has been given to you, you will continue to be present in the struggle of our time for the correct comprehension of the human being and of the Christian being. May the Lord help you in this.
Finally, I have to express again a very personal thanksgiving. As bishop of Regensburg you founded the Institut Papst Benedikt XVI, which - led by one of your pupils - carries out a truly exceptional work in keeping my theological work available to the public in its entirety. May the Lord repay you for your effort.
Vatican City, Monastery Mater Ecclesiae,
on the feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, 2017
Yours, Benedict XVI
The attack in recent days on Ratzinger as theologian comes in a book just off the press that has as its author Enrico Maria Radaelli, known as the most faithful disciple of Romano Amerio (1905-1997), the Swiss philosopher who in 1985 published in Iota Unum the most systematic and detailed accusation against the Catholic Church of the second half of the twentieth century, for having subverted the foundations of doctrine in the name of modern subjectivism.
Radaellis book is entitled Al cuore di Ratzinger. Al cuore del mondo, and is published pro manuscripto by Aurea Domus, the publisher that is owned by the author himself, from which it can be bought via e-mail, as well as from a few bookstores in Rome and Milan.
What led Radaelli to the decision to accuse Ratzingers theology of being subversive as well was the reading and analysis of his best-known and most widely read theological work, that Introduction to Christianity which, published for the first time in 1968, later went through dozens of editions and numerous translations, down to our own day.
Now, what is most most striking is that Radaelli has not found himself alone in demolishing Ratzingers theological framework, because he received immediate support from a theologian and philosopher among the most decorated, Monsignor Antonio Livi, dean emeritus of the faculty of philosophy of the Pontifical Lateran University, a pontifical academic and president of the International Science and Commonsense Association.
In Livis judgment as well, in fact, Ratzinger and his theology potentially contributed to the rise to power, meaning to an ever more hegemonic role in the seminaries, in the pontifical universities, on the doctrinal commissions, in the curia dicasteries and at the highest levels of the hierarchy up to the papacy, of what he calls the modernist theology with its evident heretical drift.
It is not necessary to recap here the arguments that Radaelli musters in his indictment against Ratzinger as theologian and then pope. It is enough to read the perfectly clear presentation that Livi makes of them on this other page of Settimo Cielo:
> L'eresia al potere
From this it can be gathered that Francis is not the only pope who today is the target of a correctio for heresy, because not even his predecessor emeritus is sheltered from this anymore.
Both Radaelli and Livi are among the first signers of the correctio addressed to Pope Francis last summer. And now also of that against Benedict XVI.
In the meantime, the interminable controversy over the application of Amoris Laetitia, for or against communion for the divorced and remarried who cohabit more uxorio, has been augmented as of today, January 2, by a new public statement from three bishops:
> Profession of the immutable truths about sacramental marriage
As can be grasped from the title itself, it is a statement firmly against any change in the doctrine and discipline of the perennial Church.
It is signed by three bishops of Kazakistan:
- Tomash Peta, metropolitan archbishop of Mary Most Holy in Astana;
- Jan Pawel Lenga, archbishop-bishop emeritus of Karaganda;
- Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana.
(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)
"Ratzinger Rehabilitates Müller. But the Pope Emeritus Himself Is Being Hit with Accusations of Heresy"
**Benedict, Himself, Is Being Hit with Accusations of Heresy**
To read later.
Mini version: 2 extreme theologians accuse Ratzinger in his 1968 “Introduction to Christianity” of possible acceptance of “modernist” ideas.
What theologians are you referring to?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.