Sunday, April 13, 2008

Revisited: Where "Ratzinger" was a Swear Word

I'm revisiting these posts of a few years ago, ( Why "When ‘Ratzinger’ was a Swear Word"? and Where ‘Ratzinger" Was a Swear Word), well, because if you want to understand the hodge podge reporting you'll hear about the Pope's visit, many of you need a little background here. You see, there was a time, in the not too distant past when in theological schools in the country (outside a the few orthodox ones), that if you mentioned the name "ratzinger" in anyway other than a sneer--you would have been considered as something of a kook. I readily admit that I didn't question this much at the time, I was rather amused at it--how threatened teachers of theology would become when anyone mentioned The Ratzinger Report or any of the other Cardinal's writings, but not sufficiently motivated to actually read the Cardinal's writings myself and discover what they were so scared of--all of that has changed in the past three years--when I have devoured everything Ratzinger that I can get my hands on--and now I get it. This man, now Pope Benedict XVI understands every crackpot theology that has infiltrated the Church in the past forty years and has convincing answers for everyone of them and unlike many of these so called theologies (so called because "theo", i.e. God is missing from most of them), this man Pope Benedict XVI and theologians of his ilk have given us Jesus Christ for those of us living in the twenty-first century.
Benedict is no conservative in the sense that the term is often thrown around--he has presented us with a new theology--a new way of understanding our faith that is a corrective break from the pre-Vatican II church. Jesus Christ is at the center of this faith--the Scriptures are central to this presentation and the way of the early Church Fathers is resurrected.
How is this different from the post Vatican school where "ratzinger" was a swear word? Well there, man and woman are the center, experience is central to the presentation and the Scriptures are used at the service of this experience. So there is no truth, no call from what I am to what I must become--just the way things as they are and how that's okay with God, thus theology becomes liberation, feminist, etc. Give theology an adjective and you are no longer talking about God with a big "G" but an idolatry.