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Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI #266129
12/03/07 04:26 PM
12/03/07 04:26 PM
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Virginia!
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John
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I just finished my first read of Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI's Letter on "Christian Hope", over the weekend.

I know there is at least one other thread underway, but I'm starting a new thread because I wanted to ask a question that is less about the new encyclical and more about Pope Benedict XVI. So already my subject title is a bit incorrect.

In reading what Pope Benedict XVI has written (now as pope and before as Cardinal and even earlier), I am finding that he is extremely catholic (universal) in his writings. When I first started to study his writings and read his speeches I found myself a bit surprised at how Eastern he was. But now I am considering that it is not that he is Eastern, or that he is intentionally bringing an Eastern viewpoint into his writings (as a way to include us). It seems more to me now that when he is speaking of Catholic Theology he is not purposely attempting to include Eastern and Western viewpoints but instead really drawing on both sources reasonably equally. It is almost that he is presenting us with an example of a new theological 'voice', one that provides a wonderful synthesis of Catholic Theology.

This made me wonder if we can take something from this new 'voice'. Too often our discussions here become East vs West with those who hold to one view almost disparaging the other. I know that I am learning a good deal from studying the Holy Father's writings (including his earlier works). Not only about Catholic Theology but also about how to speak theology.

Has anyone similar insights to the writings of Pope Benedict XVI (in his writings and speeches both now as pope and earlier as cardinal)?

Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: Administrator] #266134
12/03/07 04:46 PM
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Dr. Eric Offline
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John,

I only have read The Spirit of the Liturgy from when he was a Cardinal. I have to say that he draws fairly equally from the East and the West. I think he was drawing on the shared heritage of the ancient Liturgies, and arguing for a return to their forms and their spiritualities in his call for the reform of the reform.

Good Topic! smile

Dr. Eric

Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: Dr. Eric] #266139
12/03/07 05:00 PM
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I think God is using him to draw the Body of Christ together - so he speaks of God the Father, Jesus Christ, through his life giving Holy Spirit. These are words following in the footsteps of JPII that will draw all of Triune God's Church into one people.

Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: Pani Rose] #266174
12/03/07 07:07 PM
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I absolutely agree with your perceptive observation, John. This Pope is indeed a "new voice." In Spe Salvi His Holiness ensures we understand that "faith" is an objective gift of God, not a "belief" that we choose to entertain. This is important for an authentic understanding of the Catholic notion of papal (and ecclesial) infallibility.

He also has something important to say about the connection between "suffering" (askesis?) and moral and spiritual progress. This includes room for something like our notion of "involuntary sin" (para. 33) and purgation after death (paras. 44 ff).

I've written more on this elsewhere. But I did want to add my "amen" to our esteemed Administrator!

Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: Fr Maximos] #266248
12/03/07 11:17 PM
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sounds like you hit the nail on the head.

Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: Robert K] #266317
12/04/07 12:17 PM
12/04/07 12:17 PM
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Dear Friends,

I agree that Pope Benedict is well-versed in both Eastern and Western Fathers and viewpoints.

But what of his particular synthesis of both?

It is still too early in his pontificate to make that out, regardless of his writings, before and so far during his pontificate.

His most pressing need right now is to rally the RC troops and he is doing that by hearkening back to traditional RC liturgy and practices that symbolically helped keep RC's together as a coherent and homogeneous unit around a strong religious/cultural identity.

Where there is room for EC's in any of that has yet to be seen, quotations from the Eastern teachers notwithstanding.

Personally, I wouldn't get too excited.

Alex


Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: Administrator] #266330
12/04/07 01:25 PM
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ebed melech Offline
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Originally Posted by Administrator
In reading what Pope Benedict XVI has written (now as pope and before as Cardinal and even earlier), I am finding that he is extremely catholic (universal) in his writings. When I first started to study his writings and read his speeches I found myself a bit surprised at how Eastern he was. But now I am considering that it is not that he is Eastern, or that he is intentionally bringing an Eastern viewpoint into his writings (as a way to include us). It seems more to me now that when he is speaking of Catholic Theology he is not purposely attempting to include Eastern and Western viewpoints but instead really drawing on both sources reasonably equally. It is almost that he is presenting us with an example of a new theological 'voice', one that provides a wonderful synthesis of Catholic Theology.

This made me wonder if we can take something from this new 'voice'. Too often our discussions here become East vs West with those who hold to one view almost disparaging the other. I know that I am learning a good deal from studying the Holy Father's writings (including his earlier works). Not only about Catholic Theology but also about how to speak theology.

Has anyone similar insights to the writings of Pope Benedict XVI (in his writings and speeches both now as pope and earlier as cardinal)?


John,

I completely agree with your assessment here. I think Pope Benedict (Joseph Ratzinger) is reflecting his deep roots in and sympathies for the ressourcement movement (pejoritavely - and ironically - entitled la nouvelle théologie by the Neo-Scholastics). He stands solidly with the likes of his theological guides such as Henri deLubac, Jean Danielou and Yves Congar and peers such as Hans Urs von Balthasar, Louis Bouyer and Karol Wojtyla in seeing the need for a new converegence of theological streams.

I believe that the ressourcement movement ("the new theology") and the efforts of Sources Chretiennes cofounded by deLubac and Danielou are the greatest largely untapped hopes for both Christian unity and a more authentic proclamation of the Gospel in both Orthodox and Catholic East and West. Metropolitan John Zizoulas ascribes to this movement much of the impetus for the end of the "Western Captivity" of Eastern Orthodoxy begun in France. Like a seed planted deep in the soil and covered over by rocks and debris, I think the power of this movement is only now finally emerging through the obstacles set up by modernity and is also being felt throughout BOTH communions.

God bless,

Gordo

Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: ebed melech] #266352
12/04/07 03:10 PM
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Dear Gordo,

All this is great news for RC theology. But none of this really translates into anything relevant in practical terms for Orthodox-Catholic relations or for the Eastern Catholic particular Churches.

If anything, the Orthodox are getting their backs up against the wall even more.

Pope Benedict is speaking to the Latin Church here and elsewhere as that is his main concern (as Pope it should be).

We must see this writing in context and the fact that he affirmed (when perhaps he didn't have to) that the RC Church is the right one etc. sent out the wrong message at this critical juncture of East-West relations.

He is an excellent academic and also a proven administrator.

His ability to use both Eastern and Western Fathers to undergird his thematic proves nothing from the Eastern angle and if it is "Catholic" as has been suggested, it is decidedly "Roman Catholic" and hardly Catholic in the "universal" sense.

The EC Churches have gotten excited about RC documents before, including Vatican II. The pragmatic outcomes have brought them down to earth, however.

If anything, the RC Church is becoming more of what it used to be and that can't be good news for Eastern Christianity, Catholic or Orthodox.

Alex



Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: Orthodox Catholic] #266361
12/04/07 03:33 PM
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Alex,

I disagree on three levels.

First of all, he is teaching in his ministry as Pope, not as Patriarch of the West. He addresses the universal Church in these writings, which includes the Churches of East and West as you know.

Secondly, the fact that the head and spokesman for the college of bishops is theologizing in a convergent way (East and West) will have an influence that will potentially redound to all those who are engaged in theological study and teaching, both in academia and within the Church episcopate. And an increase of familiarity on the part of Latins with the Eastern fathers can only help to soften the divide between Eastern and Western Christians.

Finally, if we speak about the Church and how it existed in the first 1000 years as a guide for how Orthodoxy and Catholicism can approach full communion, does it not follow that a growing dissemination and resulting familiarity with the writings and teachings of that period will help?

Quite honestly I'm very surprised by your reaction here. It seems quite out of character.

In ICXC,

Gordo

Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: ebed melech] #266365
12/04/07 03:43 PM
12/04/07 03:43 PM
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Dear Gordo,

I apologise for trying to be as honest as I can on this matter. As you know, I've had my own experience with our patriarchal movement and our own ongoing struggle with Rome throughout the years re: our particular rights. It is not only I that would show some (healthy?) cynicism, if that is what that is, or else criticism of such statements.

Popes and even RC Councils in the past have spoken in the same vein. The result has been the same for the Eastern Churches - not as glowing as the words themselves suggested. Please show me with practical examples where this assessment - shared by more than just me, I can assure you - is wrong.

Academic words are not enough to move the East-West dialogue from the doldrums it is currently in. The fact that Cardinal Kasper has been chastised by the ROC - and they didn't do that unadvisedly - about a papal visit or meeting says a lot about things. Volumes have been produced, but in terms of practical movement - really, not at all. And the situation of our EC Churches has remained the same. What we have achieved, we have achieved by moving ahead ourselves.

If the Pope and the RC Church are serious about returning to the first 1,000 years of Church life, that is fine. There is NO indication that the Pope is ready to divest the Western Church of what it has accumulated by way of extra bureaucracy, administrative culture and ways of action that have developed since that time.

Again, words.

UGCCers who speak as I do are not "reacting" to anything but to Roman ecclesial praxis despite the nice-sounding words.

Sorry to appear out of character.

Alex

Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: Orthodox Catholic] #266373
12/04/07 04:08 PM
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Dear Gordo,

Just one more "reaction" on my part . . . wink

In your first point, you mention the "universal Church." In fact, that term has traditionally been used by RC administrators when they put the wood to the UGCC.

The Pope is the head of the particular Latin Church and the Latin Church is a universal Church. EC's are in communion with him, but in a different way than say the RC's are.

He surely cannot be "over EC's" in the same way as he is over the RC Church. How can he be even expected to be?

For example, as head of the Latin Church, he believes that celibacy is integral to the priestly calling. You mean to say that as the Pope for the EC Churches, he feels differently? Certainly, he tolerates married EC priests, but does that change his stand on the theology of the priesthood?

I'm asking, not telling.

Alex

Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: Orthodox Catholic] #266375
12/04/07 04:13 PM
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Alex,

Thank you for explaining your sense on these things a bit more. I certainly do respect your opinion on a variety of matters, and in the past you seem to have been more irenic and conciliatory in your tone. That is what was surprising to me.

I believe that you are right to be frustrated by the situation around the Patriarchate of Kyiv. I personally subscribe to the "Taftian" method of winning friends and influencing people, especially Moscow.

I think John is right - this does represent a real and welcome change in the methodology of the papal magisterium, even more so than under Pope John Paul the Great, of blessed memory. It may not be a reunion council, but I think it is a step in the right direction.

As the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day. A new properly functioning and focused Roman primacy cannot be constructed in two or three years either, especially after centuries of operating in the manner you describe (actually - it was far worse).

So I agree. Enough with words. Let the Patriarch declare himself, take action and let Moscow be...well, Moscow.

In ICXC,

Gordo

Last edited by ebed melech; 12/04/07 04:25 PM. Reason: wrist slapped by Alex for mispelling "Kyiv" :-)
Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: ebed melech] #266377
12/04/07 04:23 PM
12/04/07 04:23 PM
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Dear Gordo,

I will join you in a loud rendition of "Viva Il Papa" any day!

Fortunately or not, I'm with the UGCC, her patriarchate and Pat. Joseph the Hieroconfessor in particular (and it is "KYIV" you . . . smile smile - just pointing this out because the Administrator may see this and be reminded as well!)

Moscow will be Moscow - no one is going to tell her any differently. If anything, Rome has shown a willingness to listen to Moscow and take its Eastern cues from her. Fine, more power to the Elder and Third Rome's.

RC's, by now, actually do know a lot about the Eastern Churches. Of that we can have little doubt. It changes not one iota of ecclesial praxis, however, and that is my point. Decades have passed and one could say centuries, and little has changed. If Rome is about to change in respect to the EC Churches, then you know more than me and I defer to you.

But let's see some real action. As for methodology - methodology is best seen in action, not words.

Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: Orthodox Catholic] #266383
12/04/07 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
If Rome is about to change in respect to the EC Churches, then you know more than me and I defer to you.

But let's see some real action. As for methodology - methodology is best seen in action, not words.


Alex,

I certainly would not claim to have any inside track here...

I was simply referring to Pope Benedict's synthesis as being a change. Beyond that, I cannot hope to say. (Well, I can at least hope...)

Peace,

Gordo

Re: Spe Salvi & Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI [Re: ebed melech] #266385
12/04/07 05:46 PM
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And Hope is what it's all about.....

And that's one to grow on.....

biggrin

Honestly, I welcome this "breathing with both lungs" that the Holy Father is doing. I think it does a great service to both East and West. The West learns more of the riches of the East (that's why I'm here) and the East gets more "air time." (pun intended wink )

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