Skip to comments.RATZINGER RISING
Posted on 05/08/2017 3:03:51 PM PDT by NYer
In 2012, a year before his retirement, the University of Notre Dame had already published a commemorative volume of essays on Ratzingers impressive theology and writings. Two years before that, following his successful visit to the United Kingdom, new Catholic youth movements began springing up, followed by an unexpected increase in men and women pursuing religious vocations. After his retirement, an online initiative titled Generation Benedict emerged, inviting young people to describe how Joseph Ratzinger had changed their lives. And this year, the Vaticans publishing house, in cooperation with the Benedict XVI Foundation, released a new tribute, titled Cooperatores Veritatis (Co-workers of the Truth), written by the winners of the Ratzinger Prize, an award now given to leading theologians and scholars.
Ratzingers achievements are significant not just for the following theyve produced, but for the keen insights and teachings they contain.
Nowhere has Ratzingers influence been greater than in theology, and specifically in expounding and defending the foundational beliefs of Christianity. In his now-classic Introduction to Christianity, published in 1968 at the height of the cultural revolution, Ratzinger not only defended biblical Christianity through a profound elucidation of the Apostles Creed, but presented it as the only cure for the chaos then convulsing society.
Before and after becoming pope, Ratzinger also defended the essential truth of Holy Scripture, against both a literalist reading and the modern-day effort to de-mythologize it. Ratzingers theological contributions culminated in his Jesus of Nazareth trilogy, along with his related writings on eschatology, Mary, the apostles, the saints, the Doctors of the Church, and, not least, Christian worship. No modern Catholic leader has done more to revive the latter than Ratzinger did with his book The Spirit of the Liturgy and his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. This welcome document allowed for unprecedented freedom for modern priests to celebrate the Tridentine Mass—now known as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass—following its suppression in favor of the New Mass of Paul VI. Addressing the liturgical wars directly, Benedict taught that both forms are valid and authentically Catholic, and should not be seen as rivals.
Ratzingers writings on the Second Vatican Council, which he attended as a theological expert, culminated in his now famous critique of the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture, which has portrayed Vatican II as a radical, irreconcilable break with classic Catholic teaching—when, in fact, Vatican II is continuous with it, within the context of legitimate reform and development, rooted in the Sacred Deposit of Faith. Ratzingers proper reading of Vatican II answers both modernists and arch-traditionalists who, having mistaken Vatican II for a revolution, try to use it as either a charter for dissent, or a target for reactionary rebellion. Ratzinger, in contrast, represents the vital center of Catholic orthodoxy, which seeks to bring the Gospel to the contemporary world, without losing its salt or falling prey to secularism and relativism.
That said, Ratzinger has not been afraid to criticize the Council for omitting or downplaying vital aspects of Catholic tradition, or for its reluctance to confront dangerous ideologies and pathologies. In doing so, he has demonstrated how faithful Catholics can support the Council without romanticizing it.
The continuing value of Joseph Ratzinger's work can be seen—to cite three examples—in the intense debates over decentralization in the Church, Amoris Laetitia, and the right approach to radical Islam.
Back in 2001, Cardinal Ratzinger (then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) and Walter Cardinal Kasper publicly debated decentralization in the Church. Kasper argued for the importance of the local Church and its practices, over and against the universal norms promulgated by Rome, which Ratzinger strongly defended. Many bishops in Germany regrettably followed Kaspers advice, and the disastrous consequences can be seen in the countrys empty pews, mass secularization, and open defiance of Catholic teaching. Robert Cardinal Sarah, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, recently spoke about the damage localization and decentralization have caused within the Church—citing Ratzinger:
As Pope Benedict XVI tells us: It is clear that a Church does not grow by becoming individualized, by separating on a national level … by giving herself an entirely cultural or national scope; instead, the Church needs to have unity of faith, unity of doctrine, unity of moral teaching. She needs the primacy of Peter, and his mission to confirm the faith of his brethren.
Absent that, warned Cardinal Sarah, the Church risks fragmentation, and even schism.
On Amoris Laetitia, three professors at the Pope St. John Paul II Institute in Rome have just produced a handbook for faithfully interpreting it—and their guide for doing so is Ratzinger's hermeneutic of continuity. As Stephan Kampowski, one of the books authors, explained:
Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit guides the Church along the ages in the understanding of the revelation that God has given us once and for all in Jesus Christ. While there is growth in understanding, no new revelation is to be expected. … Now, the Holy Spirit does not contradict itself. Therefore, a hermeneutic of continuity is the only legitimate one for interpreting magisterial texts. A manner of reading the difficult passages of Chapter 8 [in Amoris Laetitia] that clearly contradicts the magisterium—in particular, with respect to the concrete practice, John Pauls Familiaris Consortio and Benedict XVIs Sacramentum Caritatis … is not simply implausible, but, theologically speaking, illegitimate.
Consequently, the book reaffirms Church teaching forbidding Holy Communion for those in grave states of sin, and doesnt try to get around that teaching by speculating about a persons individual culpability (something only God knows for certain), or invoking mistaken notions of conscience, mercy, discernment, and accompaniment. Full and genuine repentance of ones mortal sins, followed by a firm intention not to commit any more, say the authors, must precede Holy Communion.
Benedicts 2006 Regensburg address, undoubtedly his most controversial speech, was an eloquent reflection on faith and reason, but was heavily criticized for raising pointed questions about Islam. Yet, over a decade later, with radical Islamic terrorist attacks proliferating, that address is seen by many, including reform-minded Muslims, as prophetic. Although Pope Francis has been far more reluctant to question any aspect of Islam, he recently rose to the occasion in Egypt, echoing some of the themes Benedict broached. As John Allen commented:
In effect, what Francis delivered on his first day … was almost his version of Pope Benedict XVIs celebrated, and controversial, 2006 speech … [which] caused a firestorm of protest by quoting a line linking the Prophet Mohammed with violence. Francis avoided the incendiary quotation, but nevertheless delivered a clear and powerful call to religious leaders—which, in the Egyptian context, unmistakably means Islam in the first place—to reject violence in the name of God.
Joseph Ratzingers warnings to the Church should not be taken to mean that his life or pontificate have been dominated by such critiques, or by an all-consuming suspicion of the world. In fact, Ratzinger has always welcomed fruitful dialogue with those outside the Church, including non-believers, and encouraged Catholics to embrace beauty, especially through art, music, and literature. The goal of Joseph Ratzingers work has consistently been to uplift and inspire, and to draw people closer to the pierced one, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The joy Christianity brings has been the overriding theme of his life and pontificate; and one could detect some of that joy on the pope emerituss face when he recently celebrated his 90th birthday with friends and family. It is a joy that the Church will long share in, as Catholics continue to thank heaven for the gift of Joseph Ratzinger.
William Doino Jr. is a contributor to Inside the Vatican magazine.
Miss him. Catholic ping!
Someone get him in fighting shape!!
It’s unfortunate that he oversaw so much of the cover-up of the homosexual pedophile attacks on boys in the RCC at large.
Hopefully, Pope Benedict won’t be the last decent Pope. Francis’ appointment of so many “progressive” Cardinals is not promising.
Well now that we Catholics know what can happen we will have to give em an earful during the next selection process.
Run the church without donations if you pick another leftist.
He was defrocking priests at a rate of hundreds a year.
Please know what you’re talking about before typing.
In his last two years as pope, Benedict XVI laicized nearly 400 priests for molesting minors. This is just the number of priests forcibly removed by the Vatican’s in-house procedures the real figure is likely far higher, since the numbers don’t include sentences meted out by diocesan courts, strongly encouraged by papal policy.
It’s unfortunate that you are so ill-informed.
Miss him terribly!
Online live link that proves your statement, please! Otherwise this is slander and calumny.
You are aware, aren’t you, that Pope Benedict XVI sent teams to inspect the seminaries and throw out the trash they found? I’ve got lots of links to prove that.
During the last years of JP II, it became clear that most of the crystal clear theologic scholarship of that Pontificate owed a lot to J. Ratzinger as a true partner to JohnPaul II. His selection as Pope encouraged me to spend more time in common with the Catholic Church due to his high scholarship.
His retirement from his office at almost 86 made him the fourth oldest Pope in history. It is disappointing that many don’t understand he tried to retire three times in his 70s before selection as Pope but his best friend JPII kept him in the traces. He had a stroke before becoming Pope. Finally he knew he could not perform the duties to his standards and made his retirement.
His ability to clearly outline a course of doctrine is wonderful. The first actual full doctorate Professor of Theology to be a Pope. Just as John Paul II was the first Doctor of Philosophy.
Remember his clarity in so many things. In breathless leftist drivel a reporter asked him how he evaluated the faith of Islam. He answered with one word: “Deficient.” A home run of scholarship and clarity.
I thought Pope Benedict was wonderful. I was greatly saddened by his retirement. I really don’t know what to make of his replacement. At least according to what is widely reported, Pope Francis does and says a lot of things that induce, at the very least, quite a bit of head-scratching...
Thank you for setting the record straight.
I miss him.
Wait, you’re joking right?
And yet, still so many little boys were raped by the pederasts.
Here is my proof:
Cardinal Arinze - "Youth will embrace religious life with right role models"
Today's seminarians reflect growing trend
Number of Seminarians Increases - Please Decipher This!!!!
In Seminaries, New Ways for a New Generation
Seminary Springtime: Father Darrin Connall s Big Success
EVIDENCE GROWS OF DIRECT DISOBEDIENCE TO VATICAN IN MAJOR AMERICAN SEMINARIES
Pope to Church: Risky Seminarians Must Go
Priests Down, Seminarians Up
U.S. Priests and seminarians survey: more vocations in orthodox dioceses
Vatican Announces Surge in Seminaries during JPII Pontificate
Seminary Reform Needed in Wake of Sex Abuse Study ["the crisis in the Church is ... homosexuality"]
Homosexuals in seminaries? The latest.....
Priests 'In Orgy' at Seminary
Bishop urges gay ban in clergy; presses for overhaul in screening priests
A New Breed of Priest
AUSTRIAN SEMINARY SHUT DOWN FOR PROBE
Seminarians Show Support For Celibacy
556 Reasons for Hope [Seminarians Support Celibacy]
No Shortage of Vocations From Conservative Parishes
Oakland seminary housing sex offender priests
Phoenix bishop to helm Priestly Formation Committee [of USCCB]
Vatican Firms up Plans for U.S. Seminary Visitation in 2005
SIBLING VOCATIONS - Early calls led two sisters to same religious order
On the admission of homosexuals to seminaries
Catholic priests demand the right to marry
New Start For Austrian Seminary
Disciples of Pope John Paul (Faculty of Gregorian University Gripe About Piety of New Seminarians)
New Priests in U.S.: Older, and More >From Abroad (Survey Tracks Trends Since 1998)
U.S. seminarians welcome Pope Benedict XVI
Vatican review of seminaries to raise issue of gay priests
Some Decry Retirement Despite Priest Shortage
The Priesthood Ordination Class of 2005 People would be surprised to know that I
(Catholic) Seminarians Double In 25 Years
Pope's death inspires would-be priests
Changes Add Up for Priesthood
Irish Bishops Apologize to Seminary Whistle-Blower
SIGNAL CALLING - UB quarterback foregoes family and career to train for priesthood in Rome
Pop Culture Heros Help Recruit Priests
Small Bible-belt (Catholic) diocese sees increase in seminarians
Dashing young priests turn heads at Youth Day
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Vatican to Start U.S. Seminary Evaluations
Apostolic Seminary Visitation To Begin This Fall
U.S. Bishops to Begin Inspecting Seminaries
Prelate Says Gays Shouldn't Be Ordained
American overseeing Vatican evaluation of US seminaries says gays should not be ordained
Vatican to Check U.S. Seminaries on Gay Presence
POPE APPROVES BARRING GAY SEMINARIANS
Pope bans homosexuals from ordination as priests
Questions Arise Over Seminary Inspections
New Vatican Rule Said to Bar Gays as New Priests
New Vatican Rule Said to Bar Gays as New Priests (ABOUT TIME)
VATICAN: HOMOSEXUALS ARE NOT TO BE ORDAINED AS CATHOLIC PRIESTS
Homosexuals in the seminary; A Global Church in a Globalized World
Gay Men Ponder Impact of (Anti-Gay Clergy)Proposal by Vatican(Barf Alert)
Aquinas Seminary is First for Scrutiny
Vatican Begins Inspections At St. Louis Seminary (Rector: No homosexuality-pedophilia link)
The Sins of the Seminaries
Notre Dame Experts React to Potential Seminary Rules
Seminary Reviews Not Just About Homosexuality, Says Prelate
Jesuit Official Rips Expected Ban on Gays
Jesuit Official Rips Expected Ban on Gays
Jesuit official protesting expected Vatican ban on gay priests
A Catholic Moment of Truth
Gay Catholics Angry Over Seminary Searches
New Rules Affirm Pope Benedict's Stance Against Gays
New Report on Vatican Gay Priests Document Said to be Gay Lobby Rumor Mill
Gay men can be priests if celibate
Gay men can be Catholic priests if celibate-paper
No ban on gays expected in Vatican document; will advise 'prudential judgement'
African Cardinal Views the Vocation Shortage - With Full Seminaries, Ghana Shares Its Wealth
Keep the Ban
Today's seminarians: The Vatican survey
Lincoln diocese boasts highest number of priests to Catholics
Vatican Document on homosexuals in seminaries will be published tomorrow
Married Priests Arent the Answer (a seminarian states his view)
Vatican document restricts gays in priesthood: paper
Barring gays from priesthood not discrimination, say Italian bishops
Roman Women are Converts to Convents
Heads Up!! Zero Hour is 9am on December 29
Why I Thank God I Couldnt Be A Priest
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