Since When Did it Start with Amoris Laetitia? What about Ratzinger's "Myth of the Ontological God"?
Here is my 2009 Catholic Family News Conference lecture on the heresies of Josef Ratzinger -- one of the main Neo-Modernists of our time.
Below is an article from Si Si No No on the notorious heretical New Theology of Josef Ratzinger. This cannot be covered up. It is one of the first things that I read which clearly explained what exactly the New Theology is.
CARDINAL RATZINGER: A PREFECT WITHOUT FAITH
AT THE CONGREGATION FOR THE FAITH
AT THE CONGREGATION FOR THE FAITH
Pope Paul VI's discretion and persistence most effectively handed over supreme control and power to the "new theology" in the Catholic world. There is absolutely no room for doubt on this score. However, the triumph of this "new theology" has not meant a triumph for the Catholic Faith. The German theologian Dormann, referring to the last Council (The Theological Way of John Paul II and the Spirit of Assisi) writes, "Never before has a Papal encyclical, written barely fifteen years previously, been repudiated in so short a time and so completely by those very persons whom it condemns, as Humani Generis (1950)." The Jesuit and "new theologian" Henrici has given us a portrait of the present situation:
"Nowadays, when theological professorships are in the hands of our Concilium colleagues, almost all of the theologians who have been named bishops in the last few years have come from the ranks of Communio (a more moderately progressive journal)…Balthasar, De Lubac, and Ratzinger, the founders [of Communio], have all become cardinals" (30 Days, December 1991).
Presently, in the Church-affiliated universities, including Pontifical universities, the founding fathers of the "new theology" are being studied; doctoral theses are being prepared on Blondel, De Lubac, and Von Balthasar. The Osservatore Romano as well as Civilta Cattolica praise these modernists and their ways of "thought" and the Catholic press falls in line: Everyone falls into line with the one occupying Peter's throne.
At the present time, a "new theologian" holds the exalted position of President of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
For convenience's sake, let us distinguish between Ratzinger the "theologian" and Ratzinger the Prefect. Actually, in this case, such a distinction is not valid; for we are not dealing here with debatable questions, but with matters of Faith. On the other hand, a Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith who doesn't have the Faith himself would simply go against common sense, besides the fact that Ratzinger the Prefect is in complete accord with Ratzinger the "theologian."
Ratzinger the "theologian's" work, Einfuhrung in das Christentum, which was published in France under the title La Foi Chretienne, hier et aujourd'hui (The Christian Faith, Yesterday and Today) is considered to be his fundamental work. Its Italian version (Introduzione al Christianismolezioni sul Simbolo Apostolico), which is already in its eighth printing, is on sale in Catholic bookstores. It was edited at the Queriniana de Brescia, exclusive editors of the "new theology" literature.
Here is how Ratzinger's fundamental work is presented in his The Ratzinger Report: with Vittorio Messori: "A kind of school book, continually re-edited, which has formed a whole generation of clergy and laity, drawn as they were, by absolutely "Catholic" thinking while also being absolutely open to the new climate of Vatican II." We must, at this point, stop to consider some fundamental notions, enough at any rate to get an exact idea of the "theology" of the present Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
A FRIGHTFUL PROBLEM
It is of Divine and Catholic Truth, that God became man and more precisely, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, Who is God as is the Father and the Holy Ghost; that He (the Second Person) took on a human nature and that therefore, in Our Lord Jesus Christ, there are two natures (the human and the divine) united in one Divine Person. This union is called the hypostatic union. Which the Church has always and everywhere put forward for our belief and which She has defended against heresy (for example in the Councils of Ephesus, Chalcedon, and Constantinople V).
What are we to say, therefore, when we are obliged to face the fact that the present Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith professes quite the contrary in his books of theology - that in Jesus, it is not God Who became man, but rather, man who became God? As a matter of fact, in Ratzinger's mind, just who is Jesus Christ? He is that "man in whom the definitive reality of man's being is manifested, and who, by that very fact, is God at the same time."
What does this mean - if not that man, in his "definitive reality" is God and that Christ is a man, who is, or better yet, became God by the sole fact that in Him has come to light that "definitive reality of man's being"? (La Foi Chretienne, hier et aujourd'hui p.126).
GOD IS MAN AND MAN IS GOD
Moreover, the problem is put clearly before us and is affirmatively resolved by Ratzinger himself who asks: "Do we, then, still have the right to re-absorb Christology [that part of theology devoted to the study of Christ and His work] into theology [the methodical study of those truths revealed by God]? Must we not rather passionately acclaim Jesus as man and consider Christology as [a form of] Humanism, an Anthropology? Or could authentic man, simply because of the fact of being completely and authentically man, be God and could God be, precisely, authentic man? Could it be possible that the most radical humanism and the Faith in the God of Revelation merge together here to become one and the same thing?" (p.130).
The answer is that the struggle concerning these questions, and which continued throughout the first five centuries of the Church, "has, in the ecumenical Councils of that period, resulted in an affirmative [sic!] answer to all these questions" (p.140).
The main question, without misrepresenting the author's idea, could be put in the following words: authentic man, precisely by the fact that he is fully such, is God, and consequently, God is an authentic man.
A COHERENT "CHRISTOLOGY" IN ITS HERESY
Ratzinger's entire Christology is developed in a coherent manner around this fundamental thesis. It would also be quite difficult to give a different explanation to those statements, which, in his book Christian Faith, Yesterday and Today, are to be found time after time, and amongst which we will now quote the following in fairness to the author as well as to our present study.
"The heart of this Christology [based on the Scriptural texts of St. John] of the Son would be as follows: 'The fact of being a servant is no longer presented as an action, behind which the person of Jesus would remain confined in itself; it penetrates the whole existence of Jesus so that His very being is service. And precisely because this whole being is service only, it is a filial being. In this sense, it is only here that the changes in value due to Christianity have come to term; only at this point does it become unmistakably clear that he who puts himself entirely at the service of others, who commits himself to total unselfishness as well as to voluntary self-deprivation, that is the true man, the man of the future, where man and God are at one" (p.152).
"The being of Jesus is pure actuality of relations 'from' and 'for.' And by the very fact that this being is no longer separable from its actuality, it coincides with God; it becomes at the same time exemplary man, man of the future through whom we are able to perceive just how little man has begun to be himself [that is to say, God]" (p.153).
It was the "primitive Christian community" which for the first time applied Psalm 2 to Jesus: "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me and I will give thee the gentiles to be thy inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." This application - Ratzinger tells us - was simply to explain the conviction that: "He who has placed the sense of human existence, not in a self-affirming power, but rather in an existence radically consecrated to others, as proven by the Cross, it is to Him alone that God has said: 'Thou art my son, this day - that is to say, in this situation [on the Cross] - I have begotten thee' and he concludes: "The notion of son of God...through the explanation of the resurrection and of the Cross through Psalm 2, came in this manner and under this form into the confession of Faith in Jesus of Nazareth" (p.147).
And that will be quite sufficient for us for the moment.
To Ratzinger's way of thinking then, Jesus is not God because of His being the natural Son of God, born of the Father before all ages, "begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father," because His person shares from eternity the infinite Divine Nature and therefore possesses its infinite perfection. Ratzinger's concept of Jesus, on the contrary, is that of a man who "came to coincide with God" when on the Cross he incarnated "being for others," the "altruist by automasia."
What distinguishes Him, from other men, lies only in the degree of human development attained by Him and does not depend on that gulf separating man from God, the Creator from the Creature. Ratzinger rejects the Church's Christology, labelling it as "a triumphalist Christology having simply no use for the man [sic!] crucified and servant, ready to invent once again, in his place, the myth of an ontological God" (p.152).
To the "triumphalist Christology" which creates a "myth of an ontological God," Ratzinger opposes his "Christology of service" which he claims to have found in St. John and wherein the word "Son" would only convey the meaning of a "perfect servant."
On the other hand, the man Jesus, who by his perfect service, has come to "coincide with God" reveals to man that man is becoming God, and therefore there exists an essential identity between man and God.
UNMISTAKABLY CLEAR CONFIRMATION
Ratzinger's concept of Christ as the "last man," as we find confirmed in unmistakably clear terms (beginning on p.158), indeed represents the Cardinal's thought on the matter. Here Ratzinger falsifies or "twists" the interpretation of another passage of Holy Scripture (St. Paul to be exact), paying no heed whatsoever to Catholic exegesis in those passages concerning Dogma which must strictly adhere to the meaning always taught by Holy Mother Church:
"And on the other hand, what a difference in perspective is to be seen as we consider St. Paul's idea according to which Christ is the 'last man' [last Adam] (1 Cor.15: 4-5), the definitive or ultimate, who introduces man to that future which belongs to man, a future consisting in not simply being man, but to be one with God" (p.158).
And immediately after, he continues under the title "Christ, The Last Man": "And here we have reached the point where we may attempt to summarize the meaning of the Creed: ‘I believe in Christ Jesus, the only Son of God, our Lord.’ After all these reflections of ours, we should be able, first of all, to make this affirmation: the Christian Faith acknowledges the exemplary man in [the person of] Jesus of Nazareth. Here we have, so it seems, the best way of interpreting the Pauline concept of the 'last Adam' mentioned above [which on the contrary, simply signifies the 'second Adam' the head of redeemed humanity, in contrast to the 'first Adam']. But it is precisely in his condition or status as exemplary man, as a classic example of man, that he transcends human limitations. It is only by this fact that he is the truly exemplary man" (p.158).
And this would be the motive for his theory: "That which makes man is his open-mindedness, his opening on All, on the Infinite. Man is man by the fact that he tends to go infinitely beyond himself; consequently, he will be more man in the measure that he will be less withdrawn into himself, less 'limited' [beschrankt]. But then - let us repeat - that one is the most [perfect] man, truly man, he who is the most unlimited [ent-schrankt], who not only comes into contact with the infinite, but is one with it: Jesus Christ the Infinite Himself. In Him, the process of humanization (the evolutionary development of human characteristics) has truly reached its ultimate development" (p.159).
THE "CREDIT" DUE TO TEILHARD
Moreover, in order to eliminate any possible lingering doubts on his thought as well as the "sources" of his "theology," Ratzinger appeals to that boldest and most dreadful of the "new theologians," Teilhard de Chardin, the "apostate" (R. Valneve) Jesuit: "It is to Teilhard de Chardin's great credit that he has rethought the whole issue of these relationships based on today's vision of the world,...to have made them accessible once again" (p.160).
There follow numerous quotations from Teilhard's writings. It will be sufficient to cite the last one as an example, which also serves as a conclusion: "The cosmic drift is moving 'in the direction of an incredible near mono-molecular state...where each ego is destined to reach its paroxysm in some mysterious super-ego.' True, man in as much as he is an ego, does represent an end, but the direction of the being's movement, of his own existence, reveals him to be an organism destined or intended for a super-ego which incorporates him without dissolving him; only through the integration will the form of the future be able to become a reality in which man will have finally attained the goal and summit of his being [the perfect "humanization," incorrectly called "deification" or supernatural]" (p.162).
This monistic-pantheistic delirium seems to constitute for Ratzinger - incredible as it may sound, but nevertheless true - the essence of...St. Paul's Christology!
"It will be readily admitted that this synthesis, elaborated as it has been, based on today's view of the world and couched in terms doubtlessly overly biological, is nevertheless faithful to Pauline Christology whose profound meaning is now well-perceived and brought to a higher level of intelligibility: faith sees in the man Jesus in whom has been realized in some way - biologically speaking - the following mutation of the process of evolution ...from that point, faith sees in Christ the beginning of a movement which integrates more and more that humanity previously divided in the being of a single Adam, of a single 'body,' into the being of future man. It [this Faith] will see in Christ the movement towards this future of man wherein he is to be totally 'socialized,' incorporated into the Unique" (pp.162-163).
All this constitutes a complete reversal of the Catholic Faith; it is no longer God who was made man, it is rather man who has emerged as God in Jesus Christ.
How could Ratzinger end up with such a doctrinal turnabout? Cardinal Siri gives us the explanation in Gethsemane-Reflections on the Contemporary Theological Movement. That "cosmic monism" or "anthropocentric idealism" or "fundamental anthropocentrism" whereby Ratzinger lays waste and dissolves theology, constitutes that certain and inevitable outlet of De Lubac's error concerning the "supernatural" implied in the natural where the "supernatural" necessarily coincides with human nature's maximum development. "In revealing the Father," De Lubac writes, "and in being revealed by Him [Jesus Christ] completes man's self-revelation…Through Christ a person reaches adulthood, man definitively emerges from the universe" (Henri de Lubac, Catholicism, pp.295-296).
This is nothing but Ratzinger's "Christology" in its embryonic state. Cardinal Siri rightly questions: "What can be the meaning of such an affirmation? Either Christ is only man, or else man is divine" (Gethsemane, p.60). We should also add that the "supernatural" which finds its explanation simply in nature (or that which is simply natural) is also to be found in the center of Blondel's "new philosophy," which seeks to explain the man's participation in the divine nature as a "return, so to speak, of God to God in us" (Letter to De Lubac, April 5, 1932).
Cardinal Siri points out that de Lubac's error (as well as that of Blondel) ultimately develops and matures in Karl Rahner, S.J., who wonders "if it is possible to try to discover the hypostatic union (that union between the human and divine natures in Christ) along the lines of the absolute perfecting of that which is man" ("Nature and Grace in the Thought of Karl Rahner," quoted in Gethsemane, p.79). The affirmative answer to all of this, before being found in Ratzinger, is to be found in Rahner himself, who "completely twists the Church's thought and Faith concerning the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God in Jesus Christ as recorded in Tradition as well as in Holy Scripture" (Gethsemane, p.85).
Karl Rahner and Jospeh Ratzinger during Vatican II
In Rahner's works, Cardinal Siri writes, "there clearly appears a fundamental anthropology which not only coincides with de Lubac's thought, but even goes beyond it to the extent of transforming, in the conscience of the followers of the new theology, those very articles of Faith such as those of the Incarnation and the Immaculate Conception" (Gethsemane, p.78). Again: "When one acts, thinks, and expresses oneself in such ways as to favor theories such as the one of essential identity between God and man [this is precisely the postulate upon which Ratzinger has based his own "Christology"], then one is no longer treading the path of truth but rather has locked himself into the rut of error [of heresy]…These are the dire consequences of having started out with an [erroneous] concept concerning a great mystery, such as the mystery of the supernatural, artificially presented [by De Lubac and his followers] as being part and parcel of Catholic doctrine… Gradually, all the principles, all the criteria, as well as all the fundamental truths of the Faith have been called into question and are crumbling away" (Gethsemane, pp.74, 82).
A RETURN TO MODERNISM
Cardinal Siri re-echoed Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., who, as early as 1946, had already figured out and summarized the "new theology's" Christology:
"Thus does this new Christology suppose that the material world has evolved towards the spirit, and the spiritual world has evolved naturally, so to speak, toward the supernatural order as well as towards the plenitude of Christ. Thus the Incarnation of the Word, the Mystical Body and the Universal Christ are to be understood as moments or stages of Evolution…This is all that remains of Christian Dogmas in that theory which seeks to destroy our Creed in the same measure that it favors Hegelian evolutionism" (La Nouvelle Theologie: ou va-t-elle?). And the famous Dominican theologian immediately sounded the alarm: "Where is the New Theology leading us to? It is taking us in a straight line right back to modernism by way of whims, errors and heresy" (Nouvelle Theologie).
Ratzinger maintains, while repeating his "masters"' old party-line, that this monistic-pantheistic delirium, quite apart from "Pauline Christology" (as interpreted by Teilhard de Chardin), can be found in the "most ancient professions of Faith" as well as in St. John's Gospel and would make "clear" to us the true "meaning" of the Dogmas of Ephesus, 431 A.D., and of Chalcedon, 451 A.D. This affirmation constitutes in itself another heresy. If this were so, we would be obliged to say that the Church, in spite of its divinely promised infallibility, had lost its memory and forgot the real meaning of St. Paul's doctrine, St. John's Gospel, as well as the earliest professions of Faith, of Christological dogma and, indeed, of all of Divine Revelation itself!
But the sad truth is quite different: Ratzinger makes use of, often quite literally, as we have shown, the same old arguments of those "masters" of the "new theology." In so doing, he is simply rejecting, the "philosophy of being" in favor of the philosophy of "becoming." Thus is Ratzinger caught in the act of repudiating both Catholic Tradition and the Magisterium as he "quietly" (to use one of his favorite terms) "continues to go his way on the path of whims, error, and heresy." This path, in fact, is nothing else but that highway back to that modernism previously condemned by Pope St. Pius X which "recognizes in Jesus Christ nothing more than a man" even though "of a very high nature such as had never before been seen nor will ever be found in the future."
On the other hand, this same Modernism sees a God in man, since "the principle of faith is immanent [intrinsic] in man...this principle is God" and therefore "God is immanent in man." (Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi).
Through necessity (since we have here but one article to oppose to an entire book replete with whims, errors and heresies) we have limited our attention to Ratzinger's Christology. The reader, however, will readily understand that once this fundamental point of Christology has been thus so distorted and falsified, everything else will also suffer contamination: soteriology [that branch of theology concerned with the doctrine of salvation through Christ]: the vicarious satisfaction for sins is considered by modernism to be simply an unfortunate medieval invention of St. Anselm of Aosta (1033-1109)! Mariology [that branch of theology treating of the Blessed Virgin Mary, particularly in her relationship to the Incarnation and Redemption]: the virginal Conception is quite foggy at best, and in order to remain consistent, no mention at all is made of the Blessed Virgin's Divine Maternity, and so on through all the other articles of the Creed. All of this is to be found in Ratzinger's book, The Christian Faith - Yesterday and Today which would have been more correctly entitled Introduction to Apostasy.
But perhaps Ratzinger the Prefect (of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) later denied or refuted Ratzinger the theologian? Not at all; in fact, quite the contrary. His "theological" works continue to be reprinted unchanged. (The Italian version of The Christian Faith - Yesterday and Today, has already reached its eighth edition.) Ratzinger the Prefect has never yet corrected or withdrawn one iota of his writings. On these "theological works," new generations of clerics will be formed in complete ignorance of Catholic theology and will, in the future, distort the most elementary truths of the Catholic Faith.
Ratzinger the Prefect goes even farther: he sponsors and collaborates officially in the review Communio, the press organ of "those who think they have won," that same Communio which he founded together with his friends De Lubac and Von Balthasar. On May 28, 1992, Ratzinger, fortified by his prestige as Prefect of the Faith, was able to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Communio in Rome, in the great amphitheater of the Gregorian University, in the presence of a multitude of cardinals as well as the professors of Roman theological faculties. Communio was printed in several languages, and since it is under the patronage of the prefect for the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, it serves to indicate, unofficially but clearly, to the clergy of various countries the line of belief, action, and conduct wanted by "Rome."
Is it simply by chance that as soon as vacancies occur in episcopal sees, they are just as quickly filled by Communio collaborators? Il Sabato (June 6, 1992), in an article celebrating Communio’s twentieth anniversary, remarked: "Twenty years have passed. Communio has won the day [in the struggle for modernism]." At least, this is true regarding the ecclesiastical supremacy in the Church. To those three "dissident" theologians - Ratzinger, De Lubac, Von Balthasar, - the Church has now bestowed the most coveted and prestigious of awards: the red hat of the cardinalate.
"To the most highly-skilled Communio collaborators went the episcopal promotions! Prominent amongst these are the Germans KarI Lehmann and Walter Kasper, the Italian Angelo Scola, Eugenio Corecco from Switzerland, the Austrian Christoph von Schonborn, Andre-Jean Leonard from Belgium, and Karl Romer from Brazil. A whole troop of bishop-theologians whose influence in the Church goes way above and beyond their own diocesan jurisdictions. A real 'think tank' of Karol Wojtyla's Church."
Is it simply by coincidence if "the theological chairs are presently dominated by Concilium’s fellow workers?" (30 Giorni, December 1991).
Is it not Ratzinger the Prefect who leaves them undisturbed? And all this corresponds perfectly to the' modernists' concept of authority as described by St. Pius X in Pascendi and which Msgr. Montini also outlined in his interview with Jean Guitton (cf. Courrier de Rome July- August 1993). As far as the modernists are concerned - St. Pius X declares -the doctrinal evolution of the Church "is like a result from the conflict of two forces, one of them tending towards progress, the other towards conservation." The conserving force exists in the Church and is found in Tradition; Tradition "is represented by religious authority" while the progressive force is there to stimulate evolution.
It is therefore "logical," according to modernistic logic, that those Concilium ultra-progressives as well as Communio moderates should have divided the tasks among themselves, the Concilium collaborators acting as the progressive force laying claim to the universities, the field of theological research, religious authority as well as ecclesiastical supremacy.
No room, therefore, for self-delusion: today, there actually exists no struggle whatsoever between liberal Catholics and conservative Catholics; the true "conservatives" have been effectively wiped off the official ecclesiastical map.
The sham struggle is between modernists who have gone to the very limits of their erroneous principles and their cousins, the moderate modernists who wish to go in the same direction albeit more slowly; it is not at all a question of a fight to the death, but rather of insignificant skirmishes, or more exactly, "of party maneuvers or ploys."
ROME NOW OCCUPIED BY "NEW THEOLOGIANS"
Ratzinger the Prefect, the driving force behind the modernists' express train, has filled Rome with "new theologians" who have set up shop in the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in particular, as well as in other commissions under his presidency. And so it is that, in order to “promote sound doctrine” under the prefecture of Cardinal Ratzinger, there is to be found among others, in that very same Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a bishop Lehmann who rejects the bodily resurrection of Christ (cf. Courrier de Rome July-August 1993, "Bishops without Faith"). But for Ratzinger also, Jesus is "the one who died on the Cross and who, in the eyes of the Faith [sic!] has risen again" (The Christian Faith-Yesterday and Today, p.146).
Also it is to be noted that in the same Congregation is a certain George Cottier, O.P., a "great expert" in Freemasonry and "advocate of dialogue between the Church and masonic lodges," a certain Albert Vanhoye, S.J., for whom “Jesus was not a priest" (but He is not priest any more for Ratzinger, nor for his "master" Karl Rahner), and Marcel Bordoni, for whom remaining resolutely attached to the Christological dogma of Chalcedon constitutes an intolerable unchangeableness (sad to say, Ratzinger also shares this same view).
Ratzinger the Prefect is also President ex-officio of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, which was revived after a long period of stagnation. Two modernist secretaries have been engaged in this Commission; first, Henri Cazelles, Sulpician, a pioneer of neo-modernist exegesis, whose Introduction to the Bible was formerly severely criticized and reproved by the Roman Congregation for Seminaries (cf. Courrier de Rome, June-July 1989). He was succeeded by the above-mentioned Albert Vanhoye, S.J., as secretary to that same Commission amongst whose members are to be also found Gianfranco Ravasi, who relentlessly attacks Holy Scripture as well as the Faith itself, openly and without restraint. Guiseppe Segalla, another member, repudiates St. John's Gospel as he assails it with the most outrageous and unwarranted criticism (cf. si si no no, IV #11:2).
Another group, the International Theological Commission, is under Ratzinger's presidency. Amongst its members who are chosen on his proposition are Walter Kasper for whom those Gospel texts "where mention is made of a risen Christ whom one is able to touch with one's hands and who has meals with His disciples" are but "trivial affirmations, quite unworthy of serious consideration...which represent a danger of justifying an 'overly-rosy' paschal faith" (but neither does Ratzinger himself show any liking for a "markedly literal and terrestrial representation of the resurrection" (Christian Faith-Yesterday and Today p.219).
Again, we have Bishop Christoph Schonborn, O.P., editorial secretary for the new Catechism and who, to mark the first anniversary of Von Balthasar's death, sang the praises of the deceased's ecumenical super-Church, the non-Catholic "Catholic" in St. Mary's Church in Basle, Switzerland (cf. Von Balthasar, Figura e Opera, ed. Piemme, pp. 431 ff.). Also Bishop Andre-Jean Leonard, "Hegelian... bishop of Namur, in charge of St Paul's Seminary where Cardinal Lustiger of Paris sends his seminarians” (30 Giorni, December 1991, p.67).
WITH (AND WITHOUT) DISCRETION
What is to be said about the more discreet, yet very effective publicity methods used by Ratzinger the Prefect in promoting the "new theology"? No sooner had Walter Kasper been named bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart than Ratzinger wrote to him, "You represent, in these stormy times, a precious gift from Heaven" (30 Giorni, May 1989). Urs von Balthasar died in June 1988, on the very eve of receiving the "well-deserved honorary distinction of the cardinalate." Ratzinger the Prefect personally delivered the funeral oration (at the cemetery in Lucerne, Switzerland) in which he praised the deceased to the skies as he bestowed upon the departed cleric the honor of theologian probatus."
On this occasion, he went on to say, "That which the Pope wishes to express by this mark of gratitude, or rather, this manifestation of honor, remains valid. It is not longer a case of ordinary persons, of private individuals, but [it is] the Church itself in its official [sic!] ministerial responsibility which tells us that he [Von Balthasar] was, in fact, a sure and trustworthy guide on our journey towards the springs of living water as well as a witness to the Word through which we may learn of Christ and life itself” (quoted in Von Balthasar, Figura e Opera, pp.457 ff.).
Furthermore, Ratzinger the Prefect heads up the group sponsoring the opening, in Rome, of a "center dedicated to the formation of candidates to the consecrated life," a formation "inspired by the life and works of Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar and of Adrienne von Speyr" (30 Giorni August-September 1990).
Finally, and in order to keep this study within limits, Ratzinger the Prefect presented the press with an "Instruction on the Theologian's Ecclesiastical Vocation," wherein he underscores the fact that this document "affirms - maybe for the first time ever with such clarity - that there are decisions [which have been made in the past] of the Magisterium which are not to be considered as the final word on a given subject as such, but serve rather as a mooring in the problem, and above all, also as an expression of pastoral prudence, a kind of temporary disposition" (L'Osservatore Romano, June 27, 1990. p.6). And Ratzinger provided several examples of such temporary dispositions, which are now considered "outdated in the particularities of their determinations":
1. those "Papal declarations of the last century on religious liberty,"In short, those three very same ramparts which the Sovereign Pontiff had set up against Modernism in the social, doctrinal, and exegetical domains.
2. "the anti-modernist decisions of the Pope at the beginning of this century,"
3. "the [papally approved] decisions of the Biblical Commission of that same time period."
Must anything else be added to prove that Ratzinger the Prefect is in perfect accord with Ratzinger the "theologian"? Yes, we do owe it to our readers to point out the fact that Elio Guerriero; chief editor of Communio (Italian edition) is in perfect agreement with us on this score. In order to illustrate the new theology's victorious march in his journal Jesus (April, 1992), he wrote, "Anyway, in Rome we must bring to your attention the work done by Joseph Ratzinger, both as a theologian and as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith." The only thing left of Ratzinger the "restorer" is the myth.
THE MYTH OF THE "RESTORER"
It is not difficult to see what gave rise to this myth. In his Preface to Introduzione al Cristianismo (1968 Italian edition of Ratzinger's book Einfuhrung in das Christentum) for example, Ratzinger writes, "The problem of knowing exactly the content and meaning of the Christian Faith is presently shrouded in a nebulous halo of uncertainty, thick and dense as has never been seen before in history." And this because "those who have followed at least in some small way the theological movement of the last decade and have kept a certain distance from the herd of unthinking souls who consider anything new as being always and automatically better," have been quite anxious to know if "our theology ...has not gone in the direction of an interpretation reducing the rightful claims and demands of our Faith which seemed overly oppressive, for the simple reason that since nothing of any great importance seemed to have been lost and so many things still remained, the new theologians could immediately dare to go still one step further" (p.7).
What Catholic who loves the Church and who is suffering such a heartache in the midst of the present universal crisis would not wholeheartedly agree with these affirmations? Already in this Preface, which has remained unchanged since 1968, we find sufficient matter to give rise to that popular myth of Ratzinger the "restorer."
But just what does he oppose to this progressive onslaught and demolition of the Faith being perpetuated by present-day (new) theology? His opposition consists in a general absolution of this very same "theology" concerning which - he declares - "one cannot...honestly ...affirm that, taken as a whole, it has taken this kind of direction." By way of "corrective action," he suggests the repudiation of Catholic Tradition along with the Church's Magisterium by which the new theology of the last few decades has succeeded in shrouding "the content and meaning of the Christian Faith. For the deplorable tendency of this new theology to reduce the Faith, Ratzinger remarks, "We will surely not find the solution by insisting on remaining attached to the noble metal of fixed formulas of former times and which, in the final analysis, turn out to be simply a heap of metal which weighs heavily upon our shoulders instead of favoring, by virtue of its worth, the possibility of reaching true liberty [which in this way, has underhandedly replaced the truth]" (Preface to Introduzione al Cristianismo, p.8). The fact that his foreword is certainly heading in the same direction as contemporary "theology" seems to have completely escaped Ratzinger. Long ago, Pope St. Pius X noted that all modernists are in no way able to draw from their erroneous premises truly inevitable conclusions. (cf. Pascendi).
Ratzinger is always the same: those excesses or abuses from which he keeps a "respectful" distance (often by cutting remarks) he never opposes with Catholic truth but only with some other apparently more moderate error which, however, in the logic of error, nevertheless leads inevitably to the same ruinous conclusions.
In his book Entretien Sur La Foi (Discourse on the Faith), Ratzinger labels himself as a "well-balanced progressive." He favors a "peaceful evolution of [Catholic] doctrine" without, however, "solitary breakaways ahead of the flock," yet "without nostalgia nor regret for times irretrievably past"; meaning, of course, quietly leaving behind the Catholic Faith (pp. 16-17). Although he shrinks back from extreme "progressivism," Ratzinger cares even less for Catholic Tradition: "We must remain faithful to the present day of the Church [l'aujourd'hui de l’Eglise], not to its past [non a l'hier], nor its future [ni au demain]" (Entretien sur la Foi, p.32).
For this reason, a Catholic who cherishes the Catholic Faith and loves the Church is able to favor or subscribe to a number of Ratzinger's central affirmations, but, on closer observation of what this "restorer" proposes in place of the current universally-deplored "abuses," he will find himself unable to approve even a single sentence. And this is because the downward neo-modernist path leads us down the same slippery slope, even though it does so more gradually, it still ends up with the very same complete rejection of Divine Revelation, that is, in apostasy. No doubt about it: the writings of Ratzinger the "Theologian" are there for all to see, demonstrating an undeniable proof of this flagrant apostasy.
Hirpinus (to be continued)
Translated from Courrier de Rome, September 1993