Category Archives: Pope Benedict XVI

Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: Anthropology and Culture –published

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Book sales will no doubt sky rocket with Benedict’s resignation next week. But this superficial reason won’t hold those really interested in one of THE most pivotal thinkers of the Church in the 20th and 21st centuries when Volume 2, Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: Anthropology and Culture (Michigan/Cambridge, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013) is in the mailbox.

Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: Anthropology and Culture is edited by David L. Schindler and Nicholas J. Healy. The 14 texts herein address anthropological themes written by Joseph Ratzinger between 1972 and 2005. That Eerdmans is the publisher is a terrific help since their list is widely acclaimed and ecumenical.

The editors tell us in the introduction of the second volume is to available in one place all of Ratzinger’s articles that appeared in the American edition of Communio, beginning with first edition in 1974. The writings have been grouped into three major categories: Church, anthropology, and theological renewal. Hence, you’ll find in this volume essays on humanity between reproduction and creation; Jesus Christ today; the meaning of Sunday; hope, technological security understood as a problem of social ethics; and God in John Paul II’s “Crossing the Threshold of Hope.”

In 2010, David L. Schindler et al. published what is now known as volume 1 under the title of Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: The Unity of the Church.

If you don’t know about the Communio journal, it is an international quarterly journal of theology and culture, founded in 1972 Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Jean-Luc Marion and Joseph Ratzinger, among others. There are 21  Communio study circles that meet to discuss the published articles or some other agreed upon text. As an historical note, Communio was a journal promoted by Father Luigi Giussani for the ongoing theological education of members following the ecclesial movement, Communion and Liberation.

Ratzinger’s Cross

Indeed, “It would be foolish to act as if nothing happened” with the abdication of a pope, and much more since it was Benedict XVI. While I am not completely surprised by his gesture of love for the Church, I am saddened that he’s exiting stage left because I have come to rely on him as a credible witness of how to live my Christian life with vigor.

Editorials are flying around faster than the wicked witch: some are very worth reading and some not. One would swear that the commentators have never read a word that Razinger wrote or truly observed a gesture of Benedict XVI. But won’t realize this until you digest what’s said.

Let me offer an editorial from La Repubblica (February 15, 2013) written by Father Julián Carrón, President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation. “Ratzinger’s Cross” gives reasons of true Hope.

An excerpt…

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What was capable of filling the entire world with silence, all of a sudden?

That astonished moment destroyed, in one stroke, the images that we normally have of Christianity: a past event, an earthly organization, a group of roles, a morality about things that we should or shouldn’t do… No, all of this cannot give adequate reasons for what happened on February 11th. We must look elsewhere for the explanation.

Therefore, faced with the Pope’s gesture, I wondered: Will anyone ask themselves who Christ is for Joseph Ratzinger, if the bond with Him led him to carry out an act of freedom this surprising, which everyone–believers or not–recognized as exceptional and profoundly human? Avoiding this question would leave the event without an explanation and, what is worse, we would miss the most precious part of what it witnesses to us. It cries out, in fact, just how real the person of Christ is in the life of the Pope, how much Christ must be contemporaneous and powerfully present in order for him to generate a gesture of freedom from everything and everyone, an unheard-of novelty, so impossible for man. Full of wonder, I was then forced to shift my gaze to what made it possible: Who are You, who fascinate a man to the point of making him so free that he provokes the desire for the same freedom in us, too? “Christ in His beauty draws me to Him,” exclaimed another man passionate about Christ, Jacopone da Todi. I haven’t found a better explanation.

Full text: Julián Carrón Ratzinger’s Cross.pdf

Benedict XVI’s homily for Ash Wednesday: “return to God with all our heart,” and you will be new people

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Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin a new Lenten journey, a journey that extends over forty days and leads us towards the joy of Easter, to victory of Life over death. Following the ancient Roman tradition of Lenten stations, we are gathered for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The tradition says that the first statio took place in the Basilica of Saint Sabina on the Aventine Hill. Circumstances suggested we gather in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Tonight there are many of us gathered around the tomb of the Apostle Peter, to also ask him to pray for the path of the Church going forward at this particular moment in time, to renew our faith in the Supreme Pastor, Christ the Lord. For me it is also a good opportunity to thank everyone, especially the faithful of the Diocese of Rome, as I prepare to conclude the Petrine ministry, and I ask you for a special remembrance in your prayer.

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Benedict XVI: to whom do you belong? –asks for prayers for himself and future pope

When the Pope came into the Paul VI Hall he was greeted with lots of people which is typical, but there seemed to be more than c. 8000 people in attendance. The outpouring of affection was evident. Before the weekly teaching, he said, 

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Dear brothers and sisters, as you know I decided. Thank you for your kindness. I decided to resign from the ministry that the Lord had entrusted me on April 19, 2005. I did this in full freedom for the good of the Church after having prayed at length and examined my conscience before God, well aware of the gravity of this act.

I was also well aware that I was no longer able to fulfill the Petrine Ministry with that strength that it demands. What sustains and illuminates me is the certainty that the Church belongs to Christ whose care and guidance will never be lacking. I thank you all for the love and prayer with which you have accompanied me.

I have felt, almost physically, your prayers in these days which are not easy for me, the strength which the love of the Church and your prayers brings to me. Continue to pray for me and for the future Pope, the Lord will guide us!

The catechesis the Pope offers us today…

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Douthat evaluates Benedict’s resignation

Ross Douthat “conservative columnist” of The NY Times writes about Pope Benedict’s resignation yesterday. He pinpoints how in recent years, in many ways very recent years, how the ministry of the Bishop of Rome has changed. And not for the better.

In The Pope Abdicates, he puts his finger on things Benedict tried to minimize: the cult of papal personality, a globe-trotting bishop, a world-powerful CEO, an international voice of reason, etc. The real power of the Pontiff is work of unity among all peoples and teaching and living the truth: Jesus Christ is true for all people because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
There are beautiful and positive lessons to be learned with Benedict’s resignation. God knows what he did when he gave Ratzinger the responsibility of being the Bishop of Rome. The challenges of a global Church worshiping the One, Triune God, preaching salvation, dispensing forgiveness of sins, being an example of love for the other, living according to the Magisterium, and the like, led by an 85 year old are very burdensome today. The humility of Benedict, who in good conscience likely did as much in 7 years as John Paul did in 26 is amazing. But you have to read this work to know this. His homilies and his talks are crucial to know his current thinking and direction. Take for example, Benedict’s 2005 address to the Roman Curia. 
A lesson to study is how focussed are we on God? Is God our true center? Do we believe that Jesus is the center of our Church, or is the real head a man in nice clothes? Sentimental we can’t afford to be: there is something important at stake here: salvation.
Even without the office, Benedict remains a true Father of the Faith.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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