Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pope Benedict Roundup


  • Ratzinger at mass with former pupils: "The epidemic of the heart leads to corruption" La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 08/30/15:
    “The truth, love and goodness that come from God, make man pure and truth, love and goodness come together in the Word which brings liberates a world that no longer thinks of God from ‘forgetfulness’.” This was at the heart of the homily which the Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI pronounced during a mass he presided over this morning in the Teutonic Cemetery church in the Vatican. The mass was attended by members of the Schuelerkreis (Ratzinger’s “student circle”) and the New Schuelerkreis, who gathered at Castel Gandolfo in recent days to reflect on the theme “How to speak to God today”. The priest and philosopher Tomas Halik also participated. The news was posted on the Ratzinger Foundation website. ...

    The mass was followed by a ceremony for the inauguration of the “Pope Benedict-Joseph Ratzinger Hall”, which the Pope Emeritus blessed. The ceremony took place in the buildings adjacent to the Teutonic Cemetery. In his introductory speech, Mgr. Hans Peter Fischer, Rector of the Teutonic College, announced that a ceremony will be held on 18 November to mark the opening of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Roman Library. The library is entirely dedicated to the works and life of Joseph Ratzinger as a scholar and a Pope and is housed inside the Library of the Teutonic College and of the Roman Institute of the Gorres Society in the Vatican.

  • The modern world's biggest challenge, according to Benedict XVI Catholic News Agency. 08/27/15:
    Benedict XVI considers the quest for God to be contemporary society's foremost challenge, according to one of the emeritus Pope's former students, who has organized the annual meeting of Ratzinger's students to discuss that very topic.

    The Ratzinger Schuelerkreis will gather August. 28-30 to discuss the theme set them by their former professor. The group has gathered to discuss topics in theology and the life of the Church since 1978, shortly after their mentor was pulled from academia to become a bishop.

  • Francis visits Ratzinger before latter’s departure for Castel Gandolfo La Stampa 06/30/15.


  • Benedict XVI: the Hidden Legacy, by Andrea Gagliarducci. Monday Vatican 08/30/15:
    “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. In an interview granted to ACI Stampa and Catholic News Agency last week, he explained that Benedict XVI wanted the group to be a “theological family.”

    The terminology is precise, as that of all the theologians who have studied with Benedict XVI. The notion of family is the interpretative key to understanding Benedict XVI’s pontificate, but it also crucial in view of the upcoming Synod of Bishops. ...

  • Benedict XVI and Christian Europe, as seen by a Japanese scholar Catholic News Agency 08/14/15:
    Benedict XVI’s role in Europe is the focus of a Japanese scholar who says the Pope emeritus’ recent decades show his engagement in a dialogue that promotes both Catholic identity and what he saw as the best of Western values.

    “What Pope Benedict XVI wanted to emphasize was the independence of the Catholic Church,” Hajime Konno told CNA Aug. 12. He said this principle of self-determination was central to the Pope on questions of Church reform.

    At the same time, Benedict did not hesitate to dialogue with thinkers such as the German philosopher Jurgen Habermas and the Italian Social Democrat and atheist Paolo Flores d’Arcais. ...

    • See also: Benedict XVI As No One Has Seen Him Before. From Japan, by Sandro Magister. 08/06/15. "In the land of the Rising Sun, an outstanding book with a new interpretation of Ratzinger as theologian and pope. Written by a specialist in German history and culture. And with a Latin title: Renovatio Europae Christianae."

  • The return of Benedict XVI, by Damian Thompson. The Spectator UK. 07/11/15. "The Pope Emeritus has not vanished into monastic silence. He’s still offering comfort for those who prefer his vision to that of Pope Francis."

  • Benedict and Francis, a Choir of Two Voices, by Sandro Magister. "In Paraguay, great music for Pope Francis: that of the Jesuits of the “Reducciones.” And from Castel Gandolfo, Benedict XVI gives an exceptional listener’s guide."

  • Pope Francis: How the Narrative around Him Was Constructed, by Andrea Gagliarducci. Monday Vatican ("The Vatican at a Glance"). 07/20/15. [Read with a grain of salt -- Vatican conspiracy theorizing, but interesting nonetheless - Editor]:
    The latest interpretation of Benedict XVI’s resignation was given in recent weeks by Fr. Silvano Fausti, a Jesuit who was Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini’s confessor. Right before he died last month, Fr. Fausti granted a video interview and recounted that during their last meeting Cardinal Martini had told the current Pope Emeritus that the Roman Curia was not going to change, so it would be good if he were to resign. According to Fausti, Martini said this to Pope Benedict as if he were reminding him of an old agreement between them. That resignation paved the way for Pope Francis, whom Fr. Fausti admires. But this story must be decoded. It is now evident that in order to understand the reasons why Pope Francis was elected, one needs to return to the 2005 conclave.

In the Publishing World (Ratzinger Studies)

Innovation nnwithin Tradition: Joseph Ratzinger and Reading the Women of Scripture Innovation within Tradition: Joseph Ratzinger and Reading the Women of Scripture, by Mary Frances McKenna.

Fortress Press (September 1, 2015) 272 pages.

Innovation within Tradition is an exploration of the meaning and implications of Joseph Ratzinger’s biblical interpretation of the women of salvation history. Mary Frances McKenna argues that Ratzinger’s work, through his development and refinement of the church’s tradition, brings the important role and significance of the female characters of Scripture to the fore by placing them at the heart of Christian faith.

Explicating the pope emeritus’s concept of a “female line in the Bible,” which has a profound impact on the meaning and interpretation of the women of salvation history, the volume shows that this concept illustrates the practical value and creative nature of his approach to theology and biblical interpretation. Pivotal to the argument are questions around the findings on the notion of person, feminist theology, salvation history, and Mary, as well as the use of history in theology and biblical interpretation and the potential for the continuing development and deepening of the church’s comprehension of the meaning of revelation.

The book advances a constructive approach, in coordination with these questions, for a Trinitarian theology of society, addresses old theological issues anew, and provides a starting point for an interdenominational understanding of Mary.

Mary Frances McKenna is a tutor for the Centre for Marian Studies at University of Roehampton and chair of the relaunched Dublin (Ireland) branch of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She received her PhD at All Hallows College, Dublin City University, and her MA and BA in history at University College Dublin. She has published on the topic of faith and knowledge in relation to science and philosophy. This is a revision of a dissertation completed at All Hallows College, Dublin City University, Ireland under Tom Dalzell.

"This book is an outstanding study of Joseph Ratzinger's theology of ‘the female line in the Bible.’ Mary Frances McKenna shows how a ‘Marian conversion’ in the life of Ratzinger enabled him to see even more clearly how Mary constitutes an essential element of authentic Christianity and how women are at the heart of salvation history. Filled with many fresh insights, Innovation within Tradition will, I believe, be recognized as of the best studies of Ratzinger's thought."

—Robert Fastiggi
Sacred Heart Major Seminary
President of the Mariological Society of America (2014-2016)

"This book reveals Mary Frances McKenna as a rising star on the theological horizon. Her analysis of Ratzinger’s exegesis of the female figures in Scripture is fascinating and thought-provoking. Suggesting that a line of female figures – from Wisdom to the Matriarchs to the Blessed Virgin Mary – stands at the heart of the Christian history of salvation, this book will be of interest both to traditional Catholics and to feminist theologians. It will also be enjoyed by students and teachers of religion, from the undergraduate to the advanced scholar, and will supply a great deal of material for discussion."

—Sarah Jane Boss
Director of the Centre for Marian Studies, University of Roehampton, UK

  • Irish theologian publishes book on Ratzinger’s theology, by Sarah McDonald.
    ‘The Female Line in the Bible: Mary and the Recovery of the Women of Scripture in Ratzinger’s/Benedict XVI’s Theological Journey’ has just been published by Dr Mary Frances McKenna.

    In it, she explores Ratzinger’s idea of a female line in the Bible which he argues runs from Eve to Mary and is in parallel to the male line, from Adam to Jesus.

    The book shows Ratzinger to be “a surprisingly innovative theologian” who works within the Tradition of the Church.

    It is "a practical example of his specific approach to and method of biblical interpretation.”

    According to Dr McKenna, "The female line idea offers a basis for new insights into salvation history and anthropology as well as a new angle for dialogue with feminist theology." ...

    Speaking to, Dr McKenna explained how Ratzinger’s approach to the female differs from that of Pope Francis.

    "Pope Francis’ style is radically different from Pope Benedict, a style that could be described as pastoral in contrast to that of the theologian Pope," she said.

    However, she emphasised that where they are at one in their concern to ensure that Mary plays an essential role in the Church and every Christian's life, she added.

  • Symposium explores Ratzinger’s theology 04/21/14.