Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Truth and Tolerance by Joseph Ratzinger

Truth and Tolerance (2003) by Joseph Ratzinger remains one of the most sophisticated and elaborate works of this giant theologian. This book in particular must be read again by philosophers of religion and made an optional-read for students in theological learning. 

Ratzinger takes the reader for a tour of the major religions and cultural trends of the world and critiques most of them especially esoteric mysticism from the Far East, the new phenomena represented by the New Age movement, Marxist Liberation Theology, historical Biblical criticism as never sufficient for properly interpreting Scriptures and contemporary science that does not recognize truth beyond matter. 

Ratzinger focuses his critique on relativism connected with the Enlightenment and makes the case for Reason as the rational source of knowledge. Aside from his remarks on Plato and Aristotle, I found his defense of Christianity from Abraham on to Jesus Christ and throughout the early Church to be in the same vein as that of the development of doctrine in that the concept of God has slowly been revealed and perceived throughout history particularly with the Israelites. Ratzinger also recognizes the Greek thought which St. Paul used to advance the Christian good news and, in spite of opposition by Platonist philosophers, the Church was able to baptize many barbarians and continues to speak the truth today.

The most significant contribution of Ratzinger is definitely his moderate stance that the Catholic Church does not share the Protestant view expounded by Karl Barth that salvation is exclusive to Christians, nor is it indifferent to accept all religions or sects as equal sources of the truth that lead to salvation as the pluralistic view of Paul Knitter.  The Catholic Church is inclusive, a point developed by Karl Rahner in his "Anonymous Christians" theology. She maintains that she alone has the fullness of the truth as developed in tradition. 

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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