Wednesday, April 20, 2005

In the end, no

I read the uninformed comments of this post on Benedict XVI, and drafted a response. In the end, I decided not to post it, as I don't think it would do any good. But I offer it for your own reading here:
    Listen, many people here might vehemently disagree with the teachings of the Catholic Church which Benedict XVI also holds to, but some of these comments are really off-base.

    For instance, Ratzinger was one of the most important theologians at Vatican II. *For the progressives*. And his theological principles have changed very little since then (i.e. he didn't sell-out for "power").

    About two dozen theologians were disciplined, in one way or another, during Ratzinger's tenure as prefect of the CDF. Two dozen out of thousands over the course of 20+ years. That's not very authoritarian.

    He is about as far from being a rigid authoritarian, dogmatic, ruthless, cold and utterly intolerant of new ideas coming into the church as one can be: those who have engaged in discussion with Ratzinger -- e.g. Protestant theologians, atheist philosophers, etc. -- have nearly unanimously stated that his is a warm, kind, charming person, even though they disagree on whatever issue they are debating.

    I do agree that looking to his past is helpful: he is a member of the Communio school of theology, which has included scholars like Henri de Lubac and Hans Urs von Balthasar, neither of whom were regarded as conservatives.

    Yes, he went after liberation theology: because it uncritically assimilated problematic aspects of Marxism, which (among other things) was leading to class warfare, something decidedly unChristian. (See the Catholic Worker Movement for a more authentic approach to poverty.)

    Nor is he a Bush man: like JPII, he was opposed the war in Iraq.

    Just some food for thought.

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