The following comes from a Sept. 12 story on Reuters.com.
With Pope Benedict retired behind the Vatican’s walls and his former students getting on in years, a new generation of theologians is taking up the challenge of spreading his views on God, faith and modern society.
The ex-pontiff, who stepped down in February, met every year since 1979 with several dozen former students whose doctoral theses he mentored as a theology professor in Germany before climbing the Roman Catholic Church’s career ladder to the top. He was absent when his students, who have mostly reached or passed retirement age, gathered at the papal summer residence Castel Gandalfo outside Rome two weeks ago.
But a new generation of scholars joined them there and announced plans for two conferences in Africa to introduce the theology of Professor Joseph Ratzinger, as he was known in his university days, beyond its European context.
“We students of his are old hands who are reaching retirement age or well beyond it,” Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn told Vatican Radio after the meeting. “It’s very good to see that a younger generation is coming along that is bright, very interested and very competent. I think it’s also a joy for Pope Benedict to see that the students circle that he started 34 years ago when he was archbishop of Munich will live on.”
“Not only Professor Ratzinger, the pope emeritus, is getting older, his students are as well,” said Rev Achim Buckenmaier, a member of the new group. “There is a danger that Ratzinger’s theology will no longer be taught.”
The new group counts 29 scholars specialised in the former pope’s theology rather than the older ones in the “Ratzinger student circle” who wrote their doctorates with him. They met together at Castel Gandolfo for the first time this year. Its first project will be a seminar on his writings in Benin next week for French-speaking African priests and theologians and one in Tanzania next March for English speakers….
Ratzinger is known as a conservative thinker, and his writings reflect loyalty to orthodox Catholic theology, but he could surprise readers by debunking some old myths with the latest insights from academic research. In his last Jesus volume, for example, he said there was no ox and ass at the Nativity and Christ was probably born in a cave rather than a stable, as Christian tradition says.
He also said a monk’s miscalculation put Jesus’s birth a few years earlier than it actually happened – a widespread view among academics that can still surprise average churchgoers.
To read entire story, click here.
Pope Benedict was a top notch theologian and thinker, but struck me as being overwhelmed by the papacy. We must pray that he has found some peace in retirement, he certainly deserves it.
You shall have no peace in this world. Your master had non.
Pope Benedict was not overwhelmed. He has been one of the best minds in the Church.
He had been in the Vatican for years including heading up the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith prior to becoming Pope, and knew exactly what was going on.
His age and health played a big part, and along with his accurate understanding that their is much evil inside the Church and his physical strength was limiting him. He was 86 years old when he stepped down.
Actually, in those times, Stables were front for caves, so that when it was too hot, the livestock could retreat into the cave!
That is exactly what we were told when we visited Bethlehem.
May God have mercy on an amoral America!
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
ON FINDING GOD IN EVERYONE
“God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else_God is in this person’s life.”
ON FAITH AND DOUBT:
“If one has the answers to all the questions_that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.”
WHAT ABOUT THE ROLE OF WOMEN?
Pope Francis has previously called for greater study of the role of women in the church, although he has ruled out women’s ordination. He went further in this interview, saying women must be involved in top decision-making matters.
“The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions. The challenge today is this: to think about the specific place of women also in those places where the authority of the church is exercised.”
I love reading Pope Emeritus Benedict’s books on theology. They are very clear, easy to read, and I have learned a lot from them — especially about the liturgy and the life and times of Christ. I wished I had more time for such reading.
Are there any weightier examples of his “debunking old myths” than the ox and the ass and the cave versus the stable and the dating of Christ’s birth?
Yes, Sodom is not about Gays.
So says you and no orthodox theologian.
Ann T., It is a Catholic fact, and has been one for a long………………………………….time. Sodom is not about Gays. ” WHO AM I TO JUDGE THEM”, Pope Francis. The Pope also knows that Sodom is not about Gays and he knew it well before he became the Pope.
Jim K, read Pope Francis message in context. Many have twisted what the pope said to their own destruction — justifying their sins. He was talking about judging a man in the confessional who says he is sorry for what he has done and is trying to do better. He was saying that he could not judge the sincerity of a person if they say they are trying to live a better life and avoid sin. That is the case with all sinners, unless the sinner shows no contrition then any priest can refuse absolution. Also, the official Catechism of the Catholic Church on homosexuality, 2357, says: “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, (140) tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law….. The (140) refers to the note at the bottom of the page that refers to Genesis 19:1-29, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. That trumps anything a pope might say off the cuff. Pope Francis has repeatedly said that homosexual acts are wrong.
The “National Catholic Register” (NOT Reporter) has an excellent article by Jimmy Akin entitled “7 things you need to know about what Pope Francis said about gays”. He puts it in context, not like how Time and the secular media that twist what the Holy Father said because, for the most part, they know nothing about Catholic theology. You can put the title and author in your search bar, and it will come up.
Ann T, You can still hate Gays all you want. I’m sure Pope Frances is 100% behind you on hating Gays. My point is Sodom is not about Gays.
Speaking of orthodox Catholic teaching and instruction, I read that the Sulpician Fathers are being REMOVED from St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park by Archbishop S. Cordileone who owns the Seminary, and that he has installed Bishop Thomas Daly as the new President of the Seminary!
This is a good sign of things to come we hope!
Pope Francis: “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
“The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow…”
“The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent.”
There are some sins so horrible that they are not-negotiable – ABORTION, EUTHANASIA, SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, CONTRACEPTION.
Avoiding discussion of these major sins in teaching sends the message that they are not so important, and leads to further relativism.
You do not LOVE your Neighbor as commanded by Christ, if you ignore teaching the truth – sins that he must repent from or spend eternity in HELL.
Do not allow anyone to confuse you.
Always use the “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition” for the TRUTH of what the Church teaches in entirety.
A little comparative theological background might help and explain some of the current statements of Pope Francis. Cardinal Ratzinger’s doctoral dissertation was on Augustine’s ecclesiology (1953), directed by Munich professor Gottlieb Soehngen. His postdoctoral dissertation was on S. Bonaventure’s theology of history. Cardinal Wojytla’s 1st dissertation (after phenomenological studies in Edmund Husserl, of whom Edith Stein was an advanced university student prior to her entering the Carmel) at the Angelicum in Rome (1948) was on divine-human relationship and personal encounter in the mystical doctrine of S. John of the Cross. JP2′s 2nd dissertation was @ Krakow on the thought of Max Scheler, also a phenomenologist, and a successor to Husserl. And the present pope? He didnt finish his dissertation started in the 1980’s at Frankfurt’s Sahnkt Georgen. So we dont know…
Thank you Steve. Have you read this piece by a very knowledgeable writer ? Just scroll down to his recent assessment of Pope Francis’ recent interview.
Pray for our beloved Church and for our Holy Father. He asks for prayer and we must be faithful! I’m a bit stretched right now but will try to contribute here now and then…keeping the faith and traditions of the Church are more imperative than ever; no time for regrets, no time for doubts. Keep the faith brother Steve, brother Kenneth, sisters Catherine & Abeca! God is so good, it’s difficult sometimes to grasp such love, such patience. He deserves our best. Jesus gave all for us, we may be called to do so for Him, with the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, may we do so if need be.