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April 20, 2005


Chris Brooke

If you go to Andrew Sullivan's blog, find the link he's posted to the 1988 essay he wrote in The New Republic on Ratzinger's theology.

It's a nice reminder of how he was a much better essayist than he is a blogger, but it's also an accessible and well-informed account of Ratzinger's particular variety of German Augustinianism, from which I learned quite a bit half an hour ago; and I suspect one of its claims is probably right: that we don't learn too much about Ratzinger by trying to get to him by way of what he thinks about political issues; we have to take the theology seriously, and somewhat on its own terms.


Yeah, I think I get it. As it was put to me by the Christian brothers: ask and you shall receive, don't ask and you won't receive. However:

"The very same theology that could describe
the mystery of God, His
unknowability, His radical gift of grace,
could be used to justify the lack of any
trust in the work of the Church below,
and the necessity to maintain absolute
conformity to the mysterious dictates received
from above."

Now that's fine when you're enforcing mysterious dictates as interpreted by others, but it creates a vaccuum when you have to do the interpreting yourself. I suspect that what fills it will be interpreteations frirendly to authoritarian practice, very hard in practical terms to distinguish from aggressive right wing politics.

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