January 19, 2023
By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK
Benedict XVI, man of great intellect and learning that he was, lived the radical truth that faith, the direct graced contact with God, must be the starting point for all theological inquiry. Dating back to Augustine and Anselm of Canterbury (c. †1033-1109), the phrase “faith seeking understanding” is first mentioned by the latter in his Proslogion. It was this conviction which set up the great conflict with modernist and heretical forces within the Church.
Just as the physical came from the spiritual in Creation, and God existed before all He has made, so we must proceed in all inquiry beginning with God. Perceived and grasped through graced belief, an abiding trust in all His words and actions, is the starting point for all rational questioning and exploration of any matters relating to the Divine.
I have been parsing an advance copy in rough English translation of the new book by Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Nothing But the Truth. In the first chapter of the book Ganswein brings up this matter of theological method in connection with the elevation of the great theologian Ratzinger by Paul VI to the cardinalate, along with three others. He quotes the words of the Pope at the event:
“In his speech for the occasion, Paul VI explained that the main endowment of the newly ordained cardinals was ‘the absolute fidelity that has been lived by them, in this postconciliar period rich in healthy ferments but also in disruptive elements, in a continuous availability in a diuturnal service, in a total dedication to Christ, to the Church, to the Pope, without flexing, without wavering,’ specifying for Ratzinger that his ‘high theological teaching in prestigious university chairs in Germany and in numerous valuable publications made us see how theological research — in the high road of “fides quaerens intellectum” — cannot and must never be separated from the profound, free, creative adherence to the Magisterium that authentically interprets and proclaims the Word of God’.”
As a sign of confidence in his gifts, Paul VI in 1975 had already invited Ratzinger to preach the spiritual exercises in the Vatican. However, with his typical humility, Ratzinger declined. Ganswein quotes him, “I did not feel confident enough in either my Italian or my French to prepare and dare such an adventure, and so I had said no.”
Ratzinger always found the faith and truth together and never wavered from that conviction of trust in the Lord. His episcopal motto chosen, after his March 25, 1977 appointment at 49 as archbishop of Munich and Freising, makes this evident. Again, from Ganswein: “When it came to choosing the motto for the episcopal coat of arms, there was a significant development, with the choice of verse 8 of the third letter of St. John: ‘Collaborators of the truth’ (Cooperatores veritatis). In his autobiography, he motivated it as a desire to ‘represent the continuity between my previous task and the new assignment: even with all the differences, it was and always is about the same thing, to follow the truth, to place oneself at its service. And since in today’s world the topic ‘truth’ has almost disappeared, because it seems too big for man, and yet everything collapses, if there is no truth, this episcopal motto seemed to me the most in line with our time, the most modern, in the good sense of the word’.”
Read the rest: https://thewandererpress.com/catholic/news/our-catholic-faith/gansweins-new-book-on-benedict-xvi/
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