Thursday, 21 February 2013

Summing up the theology of the Pope

On Fr Ray Blake's blog is this link to the estimable Fr Stephen Wang, who was asked by the BBC to sum up Pope Benedict's theology in 150 words (given the acres of verbiage devoted to other subjects on their website that seems ridiculously stingy.) As Fr Wang says, he couldn't quite achieve that, but here is what he did produce and it is a reminder of why, whatever our tradition, we will be always indebted to the present occupant of the See of St Peter:
"The key to Pope Benedict’s theology is the idea of ‘connection’ or ‘continuity’.
How do you preserve the fundamental connections between faith and reason, between the past and the present, between the human and the divine? How do you avoid a rupture that would betray the Christian vision and impoverish everyday life?
His first encyclical letter surprised everyone by being a meditation on love. The joy of human love (‘eros’ or erotic love) leads us to a deeper, sacrificial love (‘agape’), that finds its true fulfilment in the love of Jesus Christ on the Cross. The human and the divine connect; they are not in opposition.
The worship of the Church, whatever new forms it takes, needs to connect with its two thousand year history. The moral values of the Church, even if they are expressed in new ways, need to be rooted in the wisdom of the Bible and the Christian tradition. And Catholic teaching, which is always developing, should never betray the sure faith that has been handed down through the centuries.
He believed in renewal and reform, but always in continuity with the past.
He called on Catholics to deepen their faith, through studying the Catechism. He encouraged the secularised West not to become trapped in a ‘dictatorship of relativism’ – where everything is allowed but nothing has any meaning.
For Pope Benedict, Christianity is a revealed religion, not something we create for ourselves. It surprises and startles us. No wonder that his last published work was about discovering the face of God in Jesus Christ, the child of Bethlehem."

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