Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pope Benedict Roundup

  • Vatican doctors photo of Benedict's praise for Francis, by Nicole Winfield. 3/13/18:
    The Vatican admitted Wednesday that it altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis. The manipulation changed the meaning of the image in a way that violated photojournalist industry standards.

    The Vatican's communications office released the photo of the letter on Monday on the eve of Francis' five-year anniversary. The letter was cited by Monsignor Dario Vigano, chief of communications, to rebut critics of Francis who question his theological and philosophical heft and say he represents a rupture from Benedict's doctrine-minded papacy.

    • The real story behind Pope Benedict’s strange letter, by Phil Lawler. LifeSiteNews.com. 03/14/18:
      First, Msgr. Dario Vigano sent the former Pope a set of new books on the theology of Pope Francis, asking for a favorable comment. That was in January.

      The former Pope declined to comment on the books. In fact he declined to read them, explaining that he was too busy. That was in February.

      But a month later, the Vatican press office made public the letter from Benedict, leading reporters to believe that Benedict had essentially endorsed the theological approach of Pope Francis, just in time for the 5th anniversary of his pontificate. ...

    • Vatican Reveals Full Text of Benedict XVI’s Letter to Msgr. Viganò National Catholic Register:
      Benedictus XVI

      Pope Emeritus

      Most Reverend Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò

      Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications

      Vatican City

      February 7, 2018

      Most Reverend Monsignor,

      Thank you for your kind letter of 12 January and the attached gift of the eleven small volumes edited by Roberto Repole.

      I applaud this initiative that wants to oppose and react to the foolish prejudice in which Pope Francis is just a practical man without particular theological or philosophical formation, while I have been only a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete life of a Christian today.

      The small volumes show, rightly, that Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation, and they therefore help to see the inner continuity between the two pontificates, despite all the differences of style and temperament.

      However, I don’t feel like writing a short and dense theological passage on them because throughout my life it has always been clear that I would write and express myself only on books I had read really well. Unfortunately, if only for physical reasons, I am unable to read the eleven volumes in the near future, especially as other commitments await me that I have already made.

      Only as an aside, I would like to note my surprise at the fact that among the authors is also Professor Hünermann, who during my pontificate had distinguished himself by leading anti-papal initiatives. He played a major part in the release of the “Kölner Erklärung”, which, in relation to the encyclical “Veritatis splendour”, virulently attacked the magisterial authority of the Pope, especially on questions of moral theology. Also the “Europaische Theologengesellschaft”, which he founded, was initially conceived by him as an organization in opposition to the papal magisterium. Later, the ecclesial sentiment of many theologians prevented this orientation, allowing that organization to become a normal instrument of encounter among theologians.

      I am sure you will understand my refusal and I offer you cordial greetings.

      Yours,
      Benedict XVI

  • Shirtless statue of Pope Benedict causes art sensation in Rome Crux 02/21/18:
    ... the technically remarkable sculpture has been the object of both criticism and praise, with some viewing it as desecrating the image of the emeritus pontiff while others judge it as an honest portrayal. For Jago, the work of art was never meant to be “derisive,” but rather a celebration of Benedict XVI, whom he considers to be a model for what every pope should be. "I consider this man to be the greatest theologian alive," he told Crux in a phone interview.

  • Simple advice from Benedict XVI on how to be a better mom or dad, by Kathleen N. Hattrup. Aleteia 10/31/17. An exhortation from a homily of Pope Benedict XVI at the 2012 World Meeting of Families. It’s worth reading a second time.

  • Pope Francis Makes Christmas Visit to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI 12/27/17. Pope Francis visited Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Thursday afternoon to personally give his Christmas greetings to the Pontiff Emeritus at his residence.

  • Benedict XVI hails Cardinal Müller for defending ‘the clear traditions of the faith’ Catholic Herald 12/28/17:
    Marking the 70th birthday of German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, retired pope Benedict XVI has said that, even though the cardinal is no longer prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he will continue to have a public role of serving the Church.

    The retired pope wrote the introduction to a book of essays honouring Cardinal Müller on his 70th birthday on December 31 and in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of his priestly ordination in February.

  • Resigned pope creates ‘multiplied and divided’ authority, author says, by Claire Giangrave. Crux News, 10/16/17. "While many Catholics have easily adjusted to the dual existence of Pope Francis and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, undeniably another portion cannot help but compare the two papacies, or even express a preference for one style over the other."

  • Benedict XVI is weak but still following concerns of Church, says bishop Aleteia 10/03/17. A Coptic Catholic bishop of Egypt says Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is now very weak at age 90, but still "aware of everything."

  • "On a word with Benedetto" FOCUS Magazine. 06/25/17. "Quiet and almost invisible, Benedict XVI spends his days in the gardens of the Vatican. FOCUS correspondent Eva Kallinger could speak with the pontiff off duty. Not about God - more about the world. About Mozart, green parrots and Beirut. And she learned that even a pope has homesickness." [Translated from German].

  • Pope Benedict’s Great Restoration, by Michael Brendan Dougherty. National Review 07/07/17. "Ten years ago today, Pope Benedict XVI issued a document that vindicated the arguments that Catholics like Buckley and me had repeated in safe company for years: that the Latin Mass that was common to almost all of Western Catholicism for centuries was never abrogated."

Friday, July 21, 2017

Teaching and Learning the Love of God: Being a Priest Today

Teaching and Learning the Love of God: Being a Priest Today by Joseph Ratzinger. Introduction by Gerhard Cardinal Müller. Forward by Pope Francis.

Ignatius Press (August 1, 2017). 392 pgs.

This inspiring collection of homilies delivered by Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) over six decades offers deep theological and historical insights on the meaning of the life and the witness of a Catholic priest.

When Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated the Year for Priests in 2009, he did so in conjunction with celebrating the 150th anniversary of the death of John Vianney, the patron saint of all parish priests. Benedict's purpose for that special year is the same purpose of this book of homilies -- to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a stronger and more incisive witness to the Gospel in today's world. As St. John Vianney would often say, "The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus." This touching expression makes us reflect on the immense gift that priests represent, not only for the Church but for all mankind.

Contemporary men and women need priests to be distinguished by their determined witness to Christ. These homilies are meant to illuminate and to inspire priests to renew their commitment to "teaching and learning the love of God". The homilies cover a wide variety of important topics on the priesthood, all deeply rooted in Scripture, including acting in persona Christi, becoming an offering with Christ for the salvation of mankind, being there for God's mercy, and witnessing Christian joy.

"Every time I read the works of Joseph Ratzinger, it becomes clear to me that he pursued theology 'on his knees' and still does: on his knees, because we see that he is not only a preeminent theologian and master of the faith, but a man who really believes, really prays. We see that he is a man who embodies holiness, a man of peace, a man of God. And so he embodies in an exemplary way the essence of all priestly work: that deep rootedness in God."

--Pope Francis, from the Foreword

"In this volume, Joseph Ratzinger shows a path that leads out of the crisis into which the Catholic priesthood had fallen for lack of suitable theological and sociological rudiments and motivations. A rewarding reference work, not only for the scholarly theological definition of the sacrament of Holy Orders, but also for more in-depth, spiritual reflection on the vocation to the priesthood, for spiritual exercises for priests, and for preaching about the 'ministry of a new covenant', the 'ministry of the Spirit and of life' (cf. 2 Cor 3:6–8)."

--Gerhard Cardinal Müller, from the Introduction

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Pope Benedict Roundup

  • Pope Francis visits Benedict XVI to wish him a happy birthday Catholic News Agency. 04/15/17:
    On April 12 Pope Francis visited his predecessor Pope emeritus Benedict XVI at Vatican City’s Mater Ecclesiae monastery to honor two joyous occasions: the occurrence of Benedict XVI’s 90th birthday and the celebration of Easter which this year fall on the same day, April 16.
  • As Benedict turns 90, a rare glimpse into his joy-filled life, by Elise Harris and Martin Rothweiler. Catholic News Agency. 04/16/17. In a lengthy interview with EWTN's German television branch, Benedict XVI's closest aide describes how the retired pontiff is doing as he turns the milestone age of 90, giving a rare look into what life is like for the Pope Emeritus.

  • Scholars offer Pope Benedict birthday tribute, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service 04/14/17:
    Cards and letters have been pouring in, the German archbishop added, and certainly there will be some presents, including a “Festschrift” — a collection of essays celebrating the work of a well-known scholar on an important occasion — in this case Pope Benedict and his 90th birthday. …

    This year, the Vatican publishing house and the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation pieced together a “Festschrift” titled after the pope’s episcopal motto, “Cooperatores Veritatis” (Co-workers of the truth).

    It was written by all 13 winners to date of the “Ratzinger Prize,” an award to distinguished scholars in theology or related studies. They are an Anglican Biblicist, an Ambrosian priest, a French philosopher, a Polish theologian, a U.S. Jesuit, a Brazilian Jesuit, a Spanish theologian, a Cistercian abbot in Austria, a Lebanese scholar, a Greek Orthodox theologian, a French theologian, a German theologian and an Italian historian.

  • The Ratzinger revolution, by Tracey Rowland. Catholic Herald 04/13/17. "… This is just a short account of the many elements of an embattled Catholic culture that can be found in the mountains of publications by Ratzinger."

  • New book shows interest in Pope Benedict XVI is here to stay, by Claire Giangrave. 04/17/17:
    Interest in the retired pope shows no sign of slowing down as his essential contributions to the Church and theology continue to be relevant today.

    Three new biographies on the German pontiff have been published in Italy this week alone. Three collections of essays by the pope emeritus are also in the works. Italy’s public television, Rai, will air two one-hour documentaries on Benedict celebrating his life.

    Enthusiasm over the figure of Benedict XVI is not limited to Italy. All over the world symposiums, meetings and events take place focusing on the pope’s legacy. …

  • In Rome, a new generation of Benedict XVI scholars is on the rise, by Andrea Gagliarducci. Crux 03/02/17. "The theological legacy of Benedict XVI continues, four years after his pontificate came to an end."

  • Aide says Benedict in perfect ‘mental and spiritual’ health, by Ines San Martin. 02/11/17.

Commentary

  • Benedict XVI’s new text about Sacred Liturgy – The Russian Preface, by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. Fr. Z's Blog 04/17/17.

  • A Child of Holy Saturday: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Turns 90, by Matthew Bunson. National Catholic Register 04/15/17:
    Understandably, a great deal of focus has been paid over the years to the reflections, homilies and writings of Pope Benedict on Easter. But not only is there something deeply personal about Holy Saturday for Joseph Ratzinger the man, that day — when Our Lord was behind the massive stone at the entrance of the tomb, in utter darkness, his broken body stretched upon cold and unforgiving rock — brings essential hope to the Christian confronting the challenges of the modern age. That is a truth that Joseph Ratzinger has spent decades trying to impart.

  • Father Benedict XVI is a Friend of Jesus Christ, by Fr. Maurice Ashley Agbaw-Ebai. Crisis 04/17/17:
    As Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger developed this theme of friendship with Jesus Christ especially in his homilies at priestly ordinations in which he presided as Bishop of Rome. To be a friend of Jesus Christ invites one into a greater intimacy of knowledge and communion, for friendship demands intimacy and knowledge. Father Benedict’s new ministry of prayer on behalf of the whole Church certainly mirrors to us his fondness and intimacy with Jesus of Nazareth, the love of Benedict’s life.
  • Homage to Benedict XVI, Misunderstood Prophet of Our Times, by Andrea Gagliaducci. MondayVatican.04/17/17:
    Since Benedict ascended the mountain to live out the time of his prayerful intercession on behalf of the Church, the bitterness he felt during his pontificate when he spoke of the Second Vatican Council has been forgotten. Nevertheless, he felt the need to clarify that period of Church history since the beginning of the pontificate. In his first Christmas speech to Roman Curia back in 2005, he stressed that the Council have to interpreted through the lenses of continuity. That is: the Council was not a destructive spring, but a spring called to harvest new fruits. It was a renewal within continuity, not a genetically modified organism of faith, just as every year nature is renewed in spring. At the end of the pontificate during his last meeting with the clergy of Rome, he wanted to return to the notion once more, as if that was the thread of the whole pontificate. He said that there was a media Council and a real Council. And he noted that the media Council overtook the real Council. …
  • Benedict XVI at 90: Why his theology still matters, by Fr. Robert Imbelli. "Father Robert Imbelli takes a closer look at the thought of Joseph Ratzinger, and how for him the central fact of the Resurrection is Jesus Christ does not rise a disembodied soul, but bodily. Body not self-contained, but totally relational, totally gift, really present in Eucharist, poured out to embrace a humanity called to transfiguration."

  • Ratzinger on the Dialogue of Religions, by Eduardo J. Echevvaria. The Catholic Thing 04/06/17:
    My of us have been eager to forget the video where Pope Francis urges a dialogue among the religions present – Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist. That video leaves the impression of a leveling out of the fundamental differences between these religions, suggesting a muting of the primary call to evangelize and proclaim the Gospel. Still, I think we can honor the pope’s motives here for dialogue, namely, encouraging the “maintaining of good fellowship among the nations.” (1 Pet 2:12) And, if possible, “as far as depends on one, to live at peace with all men.” (Rom 12:18)

    Joseph Ratzinger takes a very different stance regarding the question: “What, in concrete terms, is Christianity’s position in the dialogue of religions?”

  • Gospel and Law according to Ratzinger, by Eduardo J. Echeverria. The Catholic Thing 03/21/17.

  • How Pope Benedict XVI dealt with disagreement, by Dr. Edward Feser. 12/22/16:
    … This willingness to allow for diverse opinions wherever that is consistent with orthodoxy, and as far as possible to engage those who are critical of papal policy and teaching non-polemically and at the level of rational argumentation rather than by authoritative diktat, plausibly stem from Benedict’s high regard for reason.
  • James Carroll’s Ratzinger, by Paul Baumann. Commonweal 11/29/16.
    "As a gifted writer himself—and a theologically literate one—Carroll might be expected to appreciate Ratzinger’s gifts as a theological writer of uncommon power and lucidity. Yet that aspect of Ratzinger’s “moral perception” is ignored. Rather, what is most striking about Carroll’s depiction of Ratzinger and the church is how it is pitched to satisfy every prejudice his largely liberal, secular New Yorker readership presumably has about Catholicism. … For Carroll and his audience, the institutional church is simply an authoritarian bogeyman, an enduring source of anti-Semitism, a corrupt patriarchy, an anachronism. Except for Pope Francis, of course.
  • Benedict’s ‘Last Conversations’: Reshaping the Ratzinger Legacy?, by Massimo Fagioli. dotCommonweal 09/14/16:
    A trio of sympathetic books published since May hint at the effort to shape the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI. While the portrayal emerging may appeal neither to those who’d hoped for the pope emeritus to reclaim traditionalism nor to those seeking a fuller embrace of the current pope, it might yet help consolidate support behind Francis while isolating the worst of the para-schismatic fringes.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Conference: "Pope Benedict XVI’s Theological Testament"

Pope Benedict XVI’s Theological Testament
Tuesday 8th November 2016, 10:00am

Date: Tuesday 8th November 2016

Time: Conference – 10am-5pm, Book Launch – 6pm

Location: The Waldegrave Drawing Room, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, TW1 4SX

Speakers:

  • The Revd Canon Prof Richard Burridge, King’s College London, winner of the Ratzinger Prize 2013
  • Dr Jacob Phillips, St Mary’s University and translator of Last Testament
  • Dr Christopher R. Altieri, Collegium Augustinianum Graduate Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Rome
  • Dr Mary McCaughey, The Priory Institute Dominican Centre for Theological Studies, Dublin.

The St Mary’s Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society and the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible present Pope Benedict XVI’s Theological Testament.

A day conference exploring the theological legacy of Pope Benedict XVI/Joseph Ratzinger to celebrate the release of his final published work Last Testament, which will be launched after the conference. Please join us as we investigate four aspects to the Pope’s intellectual legacy; with presentations on Scripture, Theological Anthropology, Political Theology, and Theological Method.

Please register by email: kathryn.penny@stmarys.ac.uk

Conference Timetable and Additional Info

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pope Benedict XI: "The Last Testament: In His Own Words"

The Last Testament: In His Own WordsLast Testament: In His Own Words
by Pope Benedict XVI, Peter Seewald (interviewer)

Bloomsbury Continuum (November 15, 2016) 224pp.

Pope Benedict made history by being the first Pope in over 700 years to resign from office. The Catholic Church the world over was stunned. Worn out by corruption in the Church and by an endless series of clerical sex scandals, he decided that the resolution of all these problems was outside his power for a man of his age.

Last Testament is nearest to an autobiography from the shy and private man who has remained “hidden to the world” in a former convent in the Vatican gardens. He breaks his silence on issues such as:

  • The “Vatileaks” case in which his butler leaked some of his personal letters that alleged corruption and scandal in the Vatican
  • The presence of a “gay lobby” within the Vatican and how he dismantled it
  • His alleged Nazi upbringing
  • His attempts at cleaning up the “dirt in the church” (clerical sexual abuse)
  • The mysterious private secretary “Gorgeous George”
On a more personal level he writes with great warmth of his successor Pope Francis, who he admits has a popular touch, a star quality which he has lacked. Much controversy still surrounds Pope Benedict`s Papacy--in this book he addresses these controversies and reveals how at his late age, governing and reforming the Papacy and particularly the Vatican, was beyond him.

Reactions to Last Testament: In His Own Words

  • Between the End of the Old World and the Beginning of a New One: Benedict XVI’s reflections, by Andrea Gagliarducci. Monday Vatican 09/12/16:
    Benedict XVI’s “Last Conversations,” the recently published book interview with journalist Peter Seewald is not only a sort of final chapter of the Pope Emeritus’s biography – he will soon turn 90 – the book is a clue to interpreting the Church that shows once more just how few people really understand the revolutionary impact of the pontificate that preceded Pope Francis’s. It was a quiet revolution, based on a unique awareness: how necessary it is today to announce and preserve the Faith. ...
  • Benedict says he did not expect papacy, accepted it as duty to cardinals, by Joshua J. McElwee. National Catholic Reporter 09/08/16.
  • Benedict: Pope Francis Better at Reforming Curia, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 09/08/16:
    "My weak point perhaps is a lack of resolve in governing and making decisions," he said. "Here, in reality, I am more a professor, one who reflects and meditates on spiritual questions. Practical governance was not my forte and this certainly was a weakness."

    Pope Francis, on the other hand, "is a man of practical reform," the retired pope said. His personality and experience as a Jesuit provincial and archbishop have enabled him to take practical organizational steps.

  • In new book, Pope Benedict XVI exudes a rare humility, by John Allen, Jr. Crux 09/08/16. "In a new book-length interview, presumably his last, with German journalist Peter Seewald, emeritus Pope Benedict XVI projects a humility rare for any world leader by candidly conceding that government was not his strong suit, despite the fact that he actually authored historic reforms."
  • Benedict reveals dissatisfaction with Paul VI's 'Humanae Vitae' National Catholic Reporter :
    "In the situation I was then in, and in the context of theological thinking in which I stood, Humanae Vitae was a difficult text for me," Benedict says in the book, to be published in the U.S. Nov. 3 by Bloomsbury under the title Last Testament: In His Own Words.

    "It was certainly clear that what it said was essentially valid, but the reasoning, for us at that time, and for me too, was not satisfactory," Benedict states.

    "I was looking for a comprehensive anthropological viewpoint," he continues. "In fact, it was [Pope] John Paul II who was to complement the natural-law viewpoint of the encyclical with a personalistic vision."

  • How Pope Francis' 'new joy' surprised Benedict XVI Catholic News Agency. 09/12/16:
    Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has said he is satisfied with the papacy of Pope Francis and sees “no contradictions” between their pontificates.

    "Yes, there is suddenly a new freshness in the Church, a new joy, a new charisma that addresses the people, which is something beautiful. Many are thankful that the new Pope now approaches them in a new style. The Pope is the Pope, it doesn’t matter who it is," Benedict said in his newly published collection of interviews.

Pope Benedict Roundup

Regensburg Revisited - The 10th Anniversary

  • Benedict the Brave: The Regensburg Address Ten Years Later, by James Day. "On September 12, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI took to the dais of the University of Regensburg’s Aula Magna to offer a few “memories and reflections.” Contrary to the resulting rebukes, the 79-year-old pontiff knew exactly what he was doing."
  • On anniversary, can we finally catch Benedict’s point at Regensburg?, by John Allen Jr. Crux 09/12/16:
    Lost in the noise, however, is the central thing to know about the Regensburg speech, to wit: It’s not really about Islam at all.

    In the 4,500-word address, Benedict devoted barely three paragraphs to the remark quoted above from Manuel II Paeologus, which he used to set up his reflections on the topic, which was “Faith, Reason and the University.” He was trying to make a point about the importance of religion never parting company with reason, and could just as easily have taken his cautionary tale from Hinduism, Buddhism, or, for that matter, Christianity.

    Benedict’s real target in the speech is the West, identifying two worrying trends he saw (and no doubt still sees) in Western thought - one inside the Christian church, and the other in the broader culture.

  • Regensburg, Ratzinger, and Our Crisis of Reason, by Dr. Samuel Gregg. The Public Discourse 09/12/16:
    Those who write the histories of the twenty-first century will, I suspect, list an address delivered at a German university on this day ten years ago as one of this century’s most important speeches. In just 4,000 words, what we now call the “Regensburg Address” managed to identify the inner pathology that is corroding much of the world, how this malignancy emerged, and what can be done to address it.

    The fact that it was the Roman Pontiff who showed how a collapse of faith in full-bodied conceptions of reason explains so much of our world’s evident disarray probably made Voltaire roll over in his grave. But Benedict XVI’s analysis—which enraged many Muslims but also drew scorn from some secular and religious progressives—didn’t emerge from a vacuum. The need to defend an understanding of reason that goes beyond the natural and social sciences has long featured in Joseph Ratzinger’s writings.

  • Regensburg Revisited: Ten Years Later, A West Still in Denial, by Samuel Gregg. Catholic World Report 08/04/16. "Irrationality not only manifests itself in violence but also in an inability to apply authentic reason to the many pressing challenges of our age."
  • Is Dialogue with Islam Possible? Some Reflections on Benedict XVI's Address at the University of Regensburg, by Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ. Ignatius Insight Editor's note: This essay was originally published on Ignatius Insight on September 18, 2006. It is republished here on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Benedict XVI's Regensburg Address.

Commentary

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pope Benedict Roundup

  • The Church as communio: Revisiting Joseph Ratzinger's ecclesiology, by Veronica A. Arntz. Rorate Caeli 07/20/16. "In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, a lively debate occurred between Cardinals Walter Kasper and Joseph Ratzinger over the relationship of the universal and particular Church." A look back at the "Kasper-Ratzinger" debate.

  • Benedict XVI discusses resignation, Vatican governance in forthcoming book-length interview CatholicCulture. 07/01/16:
    In a new book-length interview to be published in September, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI speaks about his resignation, his reaction to the election of Pope Francis as his successor, and his challenges in governing the Church-- including troubles with a "gay lobby" inside the Vatican.

    The book-- an unprecedented collection of the memories of a former Roman Pontiff-- covers the full life of Benedict XVI, from his childhood through his youth under the Nazi regime and his service at the Vatican including his papacy. Entitled Final Conversations, the book is scheduled for worldwide publication on September 9, and will cover more than 250 pages.

  • Benedict XVI to Francis: 'your goodness is a place where I feel protected' Catholic News Agency. 06/28/16:
    On Tuesday, Benedict XVI gave his second public speech since his final day as Pope, expressing gratitude for a lengthy priesthood and for Pope Francis' “goodness,” which he said moves him deeply.

    Speaking to Pope Francis and members of the College of Cardinals gathered inside the Vatican’s small Clementine Hall for the 65th anniversary of his priestly ordination, Benedict said the Greek word "Efkaristomen" (let us give thanks), expresses “all that there is to say” for the occasion.

    "Thank you, thank you everyone! Thank you Holy Father – your goodness, from the first day of your election, every day of my life here moves me interiorly, brings me inwardly more than the Vatican Gardens."

    "Your goodness is a place in which I feel protected," he said, and voiced his hope that Francis would be able to "move forward with all of us on this path of Divine Mercy, showing Jesus’ path to God." [read the rest]

  • Joseph Ratzinger 65 Years Later, by Sandro Magister. Chiesa. 06/28/16. "And so on the Catholic priesthood fell the fury of Protestant criticism." At the anniversary of the priestly ordination of the future Benedict XVI, Cardinal Müller recounts his unyielding resistance to Luther’s followers.

  • Pope Francis writes preface to Ratzinger / BXVI volume Radio Vaticana 06/22/16:
    Pope Francis has written the preface to the first volume in an anthology of the “selected works of Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI” being published by Cantagalli in Italy. Titled, Insegnare e imparare l’amore di Dio, “To Teach and To Learn the Love of God”, to be published in six languages, including English.

    In the preface, Pope Francis writes, “Every time I have read the works of Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI, it becomes increasingly clear that he has done and is doing ‘theology on his knees’.” The Holy Father goes on to explain that his predecessor, “[E]ven before being a great theologian and teacher of the faith,” is “a man who truly believes, who truly prays: you see he is a man who embodies holiness.”

  • Not One Pope But Two, One "Active" and One "Contemplative", by Sandro Magister:
    The revolution of Pope Francis is turning the Church upside-down. But his meek predecessor named Benedict is not to be outdone.

    The resignation of the papacy was not his last act. Already in his withdrawal from the see of Peter, in that memorable February of 2013, Joseph Ratzinger made sure to say that in his election as pope there had been something that would remain "forever."

    In fact, he continues to wear the white tunic, continues to sign himself "Benedictus XVI, pope emeritus," continues to live "in the enclosure of Saint Peter," continues to have himself called "Holiness” and "Holy Father."

    And most recently the archbishop in closest contact with him, Georg Gänswein, has told us that Benedict "has by no means abandoned the office of Peter," but on the contrary has made it “an expanded ministry, with an active member and a contemplative member,” in "a collegial and synodal dimension, almost a shared ministry" ...

  • Benedict XVI dismisses supposed new Fatima revelations as "pure invention" and "absolutely untrue" Holy See Press Office (English translation by Rorate Caeli). 05/21/16:
    Several articles have appeared recently, including declarations attributed to Professor Ingo Dollinger according to which Cardinal Ratzinger, after the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima (which took place in June 2000), had confided to him that the publication was not complete.

    In this regard, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI declares “never to have spoken with Professor Dollinger about Fatima”, clearly affirming that the remarks attributed to Professor Dollinger on the matter “are pure inventions, absolutely untrue”, and he confirms decisively that “the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima is complete”.

In Print ...

Heart to Heart: The Spiritual Christology of Joseph Ratzinger Heart to Heart: The Spiritual Christology of Joseph Ratzinger

Pickwick Publications (May 13, 2016). 440 pages.

In Behold the Pierced One, Joseph Ratzinger recounts how the composition of a 1981 paper on the Sacred Heart of Jesus had led him to "consider Christology more from the aspect of its spiritual appropriation" than he had done previously. Upon realizing that this same year was the 1300th anniversary of the Third Council of Constantinople, he decided to study the pronouncements of this Council, and came to believe "that the achievement of a spiritual Christology had also been the Council's ultimate goal." Ratzinger's conclusion in attempting to define a spiritual Christology was that "the whole of Christology--our speaking of Christ--is nothing other than the interpretation of his prayer: the entire person of Jesus is contained in his prayer." The spiritual Christology subsequently developed by Ratzinger is one of communio. Indeed, it is one of theosis. Through a personal and ecclesial participation in the prayer of Jesus, exercised in purity of heart, and consummated in the eucharistic celebration, one comes into communion with Jesus Christ and all the members of his Body, so that eventually one can say truly, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal 2:20).

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Pope Benedict Roundup

  • Guest Op-Ed: Fighting for the soul of Europe. Rorate Caeli 3/29/16. The following guest Op-Ed was penned by a newly ordained diocesan priest, writing under the name Monsieur l'Abbé, comparing the pontifical approaches to Islam of Pope Francis and his predecessor:
    At the heart of the juxtaposition of the Easter Vigil of 2008 and this year’s Holy Thursday is the radical difference between the two possible approaches to the problem of Islam in Europe. In 2008, Benedict XVI personified a Church that was confident in her identity. For him, the Church is the only force that can offer transcendence to a secular Europe ... Even before his election to the Papacy, Joseph Ratzinger had an exceptional understanding of Europe and its relationship to Islam. Experiencing the extremism of National Socialism and Communism in Europe during his lifetime, Ratzinger knew what was at stake in the fight for Europe’s heart. The invasion of Islamism is the next battle that Europe is fighting, and Ratzinger has offered a unique perspective as to how the battle could be won. ...

    In contrast to Ratzinger’s immersion in European culture, Jorge Borgoglio grew up in Peronist Argentina in a milieu that saw itself as independent of European interests and more civilized than the rest of Latin America. Since his election in 2013, the pope’s preference for ministry to the “peripheries” and the marginalized has left Europe as an undefended afterthought.

  • Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is “slowly, serenely fading” but remains "very lucid". Breitbart.com. 03/24/16. Joseph Ratzinger is “an old man, of course, but very lucid. Unfortunately, it’s become difficult for him to walk and he needs to use a walking frame,” Georg Gaenswein said in an interview with the Italian magazine BenEssere.

  • Full text of Benedict XVI's recent, rare, and lengthy interview Catholic News Agency. 03/17/16:
    In a recently published interview on issues of justification and faith, Benedict XVI has addressed issues of mercy and our need for forgiveness, salvation through the cross, the necessity of baptism, and the importance of sharing in Christ's redeeming love.

    The discussion with Fr. Jacques Servais, SJ, took place ahead of an October, 2015 conference in Rome studying the doctrine of justification by faith.

    Benedict's answers, originally in German, were read aloud as a text at the conference by the Prefect of the Pontifical Household, Archbishop Georg Gänswein.

    They were later published as the introduction to a book in Italian on the conference texts and conclusions, titled “Through Faith: Doctrine of Justification and Experience of God in the Preaching of the Church and the Spiritual Exercises,” by Fr. Daniel Libanori, SJ.

    • See also: Benedict and Francis are more Lennon-McCartney than Frazier-Ali, by John Allen Jr. Crux 03/19/16. "As Benedict sees it, he inherited the emphasis on mercy in recent papacies from St. John Paul II, laid out the intellectual case, and then handed it on to Francis, who’s taking the message to the streets."

  • The Law of Benedict, by Samuel Gregg. The Public Discourse 03/16/16. Pope Benedict XVI often ventured into venues historically hostile to the Judeo-Christian tradition. A new collection of essays discusses many of these speeches, probing the relationship of reason to religion, the West, and natural law. A review of Pope Benedict XVI's Legal Thought: A Dialogue on the Foundation of Law.

  • Three years ago brought history’s greatest act of papal humility, by John Allen Jr. Crux 02/19/16. "Pope Benedict XVI, shown here in 2012, was the first pope to renounce his powers as the result of an honest self-examination."

  • The silent reform of Benedict XVI's papacy Catholic News Agency 02/11/16. In his new book on Benedict XVI, Vatican journalist Marco Mancini argues that while the retired pontiff became known for his shocking resignation three years ago, his real legacy began far earlier.

Publications

Christ’s Descent into Hell: John Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger, and Hans Urs von Balthasar on the Theology of Holy Saturday Christ’s Descent into Hell: John Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger, and Hans Urs von Balthasar on the Theology of Holy Saturday, by Lyra Pitstick.

Eerdmans (May 17, 2016) 144 pages.

Pope John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) both held Hans Urs von Balthasar in high regard. Many assume that their praise of Balthasar indicates approval of his controversial theology of Holy Saturday, but this book by Lyra Pitstick shows that conclusion to be far from accurate.

Pitstick looks at what John Paul II, Ratzinger, and Balthasar have in fact said regarding the creedal affirmation that Christ “descended into hell,” and she shows that there are radical differences in their views. She then addresses a number of important questions that follow from these differences.

This careful, concise exploration of what three of the twentieth century’s most famous Catholic theologians had to say about Christ’s descent into hell provides an accessible take on a difficult point of theological debate.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Pope Benedict Roundup

  • Clear and colorful: A common property in unscripted papal preaching, Carol Glatz (Catholic News Service) reports on a new publication of Joseph Ratzinger:
    Never-before published, the 10 homilies are informal, colorful, off-the-cuff reflections that seek to make the mystery, relevance, and force of the faith clear and inspirational to everyday Catholics in a small Bavarian parish. The 100-page book — currently available only in Italian — is titled, The Homilies of Pentling, the German village where the cardinal vacationed and kept a home he had hoped to retire to one day.

    “Apart from a few small corrections, I kept the familiar style of the text just as it flowed out back then,” the retired pope wrote in the book's preface. He said he hoped the homilies, taken from transcribed audio recordings between 1986 and 1999, would help not just "my fellow citizens of Pentling," but all readers in “understanding and living the word of the Gospel."

    While Pope Francis consistently crafts clever, memorable metaphors in his writings and talks, many people don’t remember that Pope Benedict was quite good at it, too.

  • Ratzinger Prize Recognizes Lebanese, Brazilian Scholars Zenit.org. 11/16/15. "The Ratzinger Prize this year recognizes a Lebanese scholar who translated Joseph Ratzinter's complete works into Arabic, and a Brazilian theologian who twice served on the International Theological Commission."

  • How about a Masters in "Ratzinger Studies"? - Fr. John Zuhlsdorf reports that in Rome, there is now a Masters program in RATZINGER STUDIES. The Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger Benedetto XVI is sponsoring a Masters Program in "Joseph Ratzinger: Studies and Spirituality." [Link to PDF of the brochure].

  • Kasper vs Ratzinger, the Unending Dispute, by Sandro Magister. Chiesa. 10/30/15. "Francis reignited it and the synod has not resolved it. In the paragraphs on the divorced and remarried the word “communion” isn’t there. But the pope could introduce it himself, by authority."

  • How Benedict XVI played a special role in a Pope's cause for sainthood Catholic News Agency. 10/20/15. "On his path to beatification, John Paul I can count on a very special supporter: Pope emeritus Benedict XVI."

  • Benedict: "From Where Does Evil Come?", by James C. Schall, SJ. Crisis 09/21/15:
    The former students of Pope Benedict have an annual seminar (Ratzinger Schülerkreis) to think about his vast and profound intellectual accomplishments. This year’s meeting was held Castel Gandolfo. On August 30, in the Church of the Teutonic Cemetery in the Vatican, Pope Benedict gave a brief, penetrating homily in German to the group. The general subject of discussion was “How do we speak of God today?” (L’Osservatore Romano, September 4, 2015).

    The Gospel reading in the Pope’s Mass was from Mark 7. This passage concerned the Scribes and Pharisees questioning Christ and the disciples about washing hands and utensils in dining. Christ was annoyed with these gentlemen for concerning themselves with external cleanliness when inside they were avaricious and vain. Christ concluded with the famous passage: “Nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him impure; that which comes out from him, and only that, constitutes impurity” (Mk 7:15, 20). In other words, the world’s problems are not external to our souls but originate there. We cannot reconstruct the world in order to reconstruct ourselves. We always have to attend to ourselves first.

    At this group’s meeting three years previously, using the same text from Mark, Christof Cardinal Schönborn, O. P., a former student and colleague of Pope Benedict, posed the issue in this manner: Must one first be “purified exteriorly and not only interiorly, and [does] evil only [come] from within?”

  • Benedict XVI: the Hidden Legacy MondayVatican.com 08/31/15:
    “A theological family.” This is how Fr. Stephan Horn, Salvatorian, describes the circle of former students of Joseph Ratzinger. Fr. Horn served as academic assistant to Joseph Ratzinger in Regensburg from 1971 to 1997, and today he is the secretary of the Ratzinger Schuelerkreis, which gathers once a year since 1978. ...

  • Regensburg Redux: Can Benedict say ‘I told you so’ about Islam?, by David Gibson. Crux / Religion News Service. 09/11/14:
    Eight years ago this Friday, Sept. 12, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a lecture at the University of Regensburg in Bavaria in which he seemed to diagnose Islam as a religion inherently flawed by fanaticism.

    It was an undiplomatic assertion, to say the least — especially coming a day after the 9/11 anniversary — and it sparked an enormous outcry among Muslims. It came to be seen as one of a series of missteps that would plague Benedict’s papacy until he resigned last year.

    Now, with the Islamic State on the march in the Middle East, leaving a trail of horrifying brutality and bloodshed that has shocked the world, some of Benedict’s allies on the Catholic right are saying, in effect, "He told you so."

  • Cardinal Danneels Admits to Being Part of 'Mafia' Club Opposed to Benedict XVI, by Edward Pentin. National Catholic Register 09/24/15.

  • Cardinal Danneels' Biographers Retract Comments on St. Gallen Group (but the cardinal's assertion that the secretive "mafia-like" group existed and opposed Joseph Ratzinger still stands), by Edward Pentin. National Catholic Register 09/26/15.
    • FLASHBACK: Ex pope Benedict denies he was forced to resign, by Philip Pullella. Reuters. 02/26/14:
      Former Pope Benedict, in one of the few times he has broken his silence since stepping down nearly a year ago, has branded as "absurd" fresh media speculation that he was forced to quit.

      Church law says a pope's resignation is valid only if he takes the decision in full freedom and without pressure from others.

      "There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry," Benedict, 86, who now has the title "pope emeritus," said in a letter to the Italian website Vatican Insider published on Wednesday.