Benedict, the first theologian pope after centuries. He will stay by Sant’Agostino » –

to Jian Guido Vicky

Dialogue with Jewish traditions, secularism and freedom of conscience in Ratzinger’s thought: He will be the father of the Church

Vatican City –
Pope Benedict, Professor Ratzinger, was a real teacher for me…. Cardinal theologian Christoph Schenborn, 77, Archbishop of Vienna, speaks softly and measures his words carefully, tired and sad. The most famous student of Joseph RatzingerAlthough he says humbly one of the disciples. Dominicans such as Thomas Aquinas studied theology and psychology among him in Vienna, Paris and Regensburg, the most influential thinker in the College of Cardinals, Benedict as esteemed as he is by Francis, who entrusted him with the very delicate task of offering a conclusion. Synodal guidance on the family and who, when confronted with more sensitive theological questions, answered journalists: Ask Schenborn. And now that his old teacher is dead, The first thought of the Viennese cardinal goes to what remains of Joseph Ratzinger: first of all, his work.

Your Eminence, what will be left of Benedict XVI Ratzinger’s thought?

I place him alongside the great ones, as Doctor of the Church and Father of the Church. I have placed in my library the works of Pope Benedict side by side with those of St. Augustine.

Author of Confessions and the City of God, perhaps the greatest Christian thinker…

Yes, I compare him with St. Augustine, his teacher, and I dare to bring them together. His teachings, works, and episcopal and petrian service. Centuries later, we have a theologian pope, professor of theology. I had the pleasure of being his pupil, along with many others, and was not only a teacher of great ability, with a gift of clarity, but a true master, of written texts as of the living word. I learned a lot from him and I believe it is his ability to teach, impart faith and reflect on faith that makes him almost a father of the church. He will remain among the greats who will be remembered for centuries to comeWe will remember Joseph Ratzinger in the twentieth century as we remember John Henry Newman in the nineteenth century or Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventura da Panuregio in the thirteenth century.

He was an anachronistic thinker, so will the depth of his work be better understood with time?

Yes, Ratzinger’s legacy is certainly not exhausted yet, in a few decades the richness of his theological work will be better and better. Of the many subjects, I think first of all his works on Jesus of Nazareth: in history he was the first pope to write a scholarly and in-depth book on Jesus himself, and it is important that he does so in dialogue with Jewish thought beginning with Jacob Neusner. Another point is Ratzinger’s political teachings: the great theme of freedom of conscience in his speech to the London Parliament, the reference to what we call natural law in his speech in Berlin, the dialogue with the philosopher Jurgen Habermas on the moral foundations of politics. and finally his reflection on the presence of Christians in secular society, the role of “creative minorities”: Ratzinger does not complain about the evils of his time but rather sees the opportunity of the creative minority, here also in dialogue with Judaism, above all. With Jonathan Sacks. Judaism and Christianity in Dialogue as Creative Minorities… All contributions that will survive for generations to come.

What distinguished him as a theologian?

I was his pupil, and his teaching enriched me greatly, and I am not alone. He was a teacher for the whole church and beyond the church as well, with his theological thought full of wisdom, clarity and light. But apart from the professor, the tutor, I dare say, was a father figure to me. Because the true master is not only the teacher, the one who guides and accompanies you, who opens horizons for you. The years of collaboration with Cardinal Ratzinger, first with Professor Ratzinger, and finally with Pope Benedict XVI represented to me a real gift of spiritual fatherhood. And then, over the years, a true friendship grew.

What do you think when the Pope decided to resign?

February 11, 2013 was definitely a revolution, An unexpected surprise, a shock that will remain in the memory of the Church. But I respectfully accepted his resignation because I believed what he said: he no longer felt capable of serving as Bishop of Rome and successor to Peter. And this work, which astonished the world, had, in my opinion, an important influence on the personality of the pope.

What you mean?

Choosing to live, as a man of God and pray, in a certain way made the Petrine service more human. Because Benedict XVI humbly said: Well, I can’t take it anymore. It is the simple truth that the Pope has been able to say: I no longer have the power, the challenges ahead are too great, the younger man needs to take charge, an act of courage that opens the door to the future of the papacy.

Jan 2, 2023 (changed on Jan 2, 2023 | 23:16)

Harold Manning

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