Faith is a given for Ratzinger, a gift from God (and one that he apparently has enjoyed since birth), and the dogmas and doctrines of the church are not up for debate. Theology and the powers of the intellect are not to create but to conserve -- a task that requires just as much energy, as he would discover -- and to illuminate avenues to the depositum fidei, the deposit of faith for the faithful. This is His church and not a laboratory for theologians," as he put it. (Gibson, The Rule of Benedict, 158).
Saturday, July 14, 2007
As a historian I know about the importance of putting a person or a movement in context. The recent proclamations made by the Vatican, first on the Latin Mass and then the clarification on the nature of the church don't come out of nowhere.
Reading David Gibson's The Rule of Benedict (Harper, 2007) has been a helpful eye opener into the psyche of Joseph Ratizinger, aka Benedict XVI. I will write a review when I've completed the book (I'm about 1/2 way through the book at this time), but I thought this important to note. In a chapter dealing with Ratzinger's involvement at Vatican II, and he was one of the leading contributors to the discussions -- along with Hans Kung and Karl Rahner --we learn a bit about how the apparently progressive Ratzinger becomes the archconservative.
Gibson lays out the two opposing parties within the progressive/reforming end of the discussions in Rome in the early 1960s. Unlike the group that included Kung and Rahner, Ratzinger was an Augustinian who sought to return to the sources -- the Ressourcement party. What is telling is this passage:
Unlike his fellow progressives in the other party, the aggiornamento party, he was not seeking to revamp the faith for the modern world. Instead he wanted to get back to the sources. He was an Augustinian and not a Thomist. From Gibson we learn that when he went to Vatican II it was with the idea of overthrowing a Thomist dominance that he believed had harmed the church.