New (and Confusing) Ratzinger Text about the Jews Avoids Accurate Answers

New (and Confusing) Ratzinger Text about the Jews Avoids Accurate Answers

[AQ Tom: Jan-Heiner Tück (editor of the German-language edition of Communio and Professor of Dogmatic Theology in the Catholic Theological Faculty at the University of Vienna) in a commentary on the new Benedict text entitled “Controversial Food for Thought” (see Google translation in comment below – not the best translation, for which I await a better one and/or more commentary from the likes of Maike Hickson at 1Peter5) puts the work in context as “no magisterial-authoritative text” but “as strong as the arguments he brings in” (or one theologian’s opinion), because Benedict by his resignation is no longer Pope (but “Pope emeritus”) and thus can no longer issue magisterial statements.  He also said something similar about his Jesus of Nazareth triology writen while Pope: “In no way an exercise of the magisterium but rather an expression of his personal search for the face of the Lord … not however, primarily meditational or part of the genre of edifying literature, but more directly the book of a theologian, concluding the scientific work of Prof. Ratzinger.” Again I will let others do better analysis and commentary.] – 7/6/18

The former Benedict XVI has published a text about the Jews in the theological journal Communio.

According to (July 6), the text entitled „Grace and vocation without remorse”, is signed on October 26, 2017, with “Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI”.

It is a reflection given to Cardinal Kurt Koch who convinced Ratzinger to publish it.

The text deals with two themes, the “theory of substitution” and the fact that “the covenant was [obviously] never abrogated”. Ratzinger is however more interested in political correctness than in theological truth.

He claims that it is “basically true” that “Israel is not substituted by the Church” but this is only true in a sociological, not in a theological sense, because after Christ “there is no distinction between Jews and Greeks” (Rom 10,12).

Thus, there cannot be a “Jewish” way of salvation without Christ as the heretic, Cardinal Walter Kasper, has claimed.

By not making clear distinctions, Ratzinger’s text is a source of confusion not of clarity.

Contradicting his previous claim that he refuses political messianism, Ratzinger even claims that the [secular] State of Israel “may express in a broader sense God’s faithfulness to the people of Israel” – a theses strongly refuted by religious Jews.

A similar confusion Ratzinger creates when speaking about the “covenant that was never abrogated”. It is a common place that Christ did not abrogate the covenant but fulfil it.

Saint Paul however states that those religious Jews who refused Christ’s eternal covenant, “lack understanding” (Rom 10,2). He calls them “disobedient”, “obstinate” (Rom 10,21), rejected (Rom 11,15), unfaithful (Rom 11,23), hardened (Rom 11,25), godless (Rom 11,26) and enemies (Rom 11,28).

So the covenant is still in place but those Jews who have distanced themselves from it, have no benefit out of it, because “it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring” (Rom 9,8).

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3 comments on “New (and Confusing) Ratzinger Text about the Jews Avoids Accurate Answers

  1. Tück on the new Benedict text: “Controversial Food for Thought”

    (Google translation of Tück zu neuem Benedikt-Text: “Brisanter Denkanstoß”)

    Viennese dogmatic theologian and “Communio” editor [Jan-Heiner Tück] in the “Kathpress” interview on the new Benedict XVI text on Jewish-Christian dialogue: Emeritus Pope wants conceptual re-sharpening in standards of interreligious dialogue – “Remaining theological dignity” of Judaism in other Ratzinger texts more clearly named.

    Vienna, 6 July 2018 (Catholic Austrian Press) That the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who wanted to be silent, now speaks or writes and published in the current issue of the journal “Communio” comments on the Judeo-Christian relationship, is remarkable – and this For several reasons: On the one hand in the eyes of Pope Francis, to whom theologically, so to speak, a “second vote” comes to the side, especially since the Bergoglio Pope has also expressed in “Evangelii Gaudium” on the Jewish-Christian relationship. Second, in view of the content of the text itself, which is stimulating and encouraging, but certainly worthy of discussion and a “controversial food for thought”, as the Vienna Dogmatic Professor and “Communio” editor Jan-Heiner Tück in a conversation with “Kathpress” stressed.

    Benedict XVI. In his text he problematizes two “standards” of the post-conciliar Jewish-Christian dialogue, not to question them, but to deepen them theologically, according to Tück. Thus he considers the common rejection of the so-called “substitution theory”, according to which the church has replaced the salvation-historical role of Israel, in need of improvement. The theological tradition did not speak of “substitution”, writes Benedikt in his text. Instead, he proposes to look at different elements such as the cult of the temple, the cultic, legal, and moral regulations, but also the Messiah question and the land promise. In this way he opens up the possibility of a theological critique in the Jewish-Christian dialogue, “which does not amount to a substitution of Israel, but on the contrary also makes the differences between Judaism and Christianity fruitful for dialogue”, says Tück.

    Benedikt also makes clarifications in the speech of the “never quit alliance” – a phrase that Pope John Paul II first used in 1980: “Quitting” is not a biblical vocabulary; moreover, in the Bible, the covenant is not in the singular, but often in the plural, there is a whole series of covenants ranging from Noah to Abraham and Moses to the prophetic speech of the new covenant. The emergence of the pope in his text argues that the story between God and his people is characterized by infidelity and breakage on the part of human beings, but faithfulness to God’s side. So helpful as the speech of the “unbroken covenant” had been in order to solve the blockades of conversations, “the language of the Bible itself must be chosen in the long run, which speaks of the incorruptibility and faithfulness of God to his promises”, Tück acknowledges this consideration of Benedict ,

    All in all, Benedict’s text should therefore be seen as a “testimony to an inner-church reflection” that attempts to re-explore the relationship with Judaism, according to Tück. It should also be remarked that Benedict sees the existence of the state of Israel not as a salvation, but as politically motivated: it is the consequence of the Shoah and a sign of the faithfulness of God to his people, even if it can not be legitimized directly from Scripture ,

    No magisterial-authoritative text

    Regarding the question of the classification of the new text, Tück emphasizes that the article “does not claim a magisterial-authoritative rank”, but rather “is as strong as the arguments he brings in”. Correspondingly, the text should also be countered with a “hermeneutics of benevolence”, without which there is no understanding – certainly with no necessary critical queries to fall under the table. Such a query concerns, for example, the fact that the author deals exclusively with the sharpening of internal Christian linguistic rules, but does not actually lead a conversation with Jewish theology.

    A central question and at the same time a request to the text was also how one could express the lasting theological dignity of Judaism despite the difference in the Messiah question on the Christian side. Benedict XVI. explains in the text that even in the Diaspora, which was often considered a punishment, Israel actually perceived its own “mission”. What that means exactly, must continue to be carried out, so Tück. Pope Francis sensitively sums up the lasting dignity of Judaism when he writes in “Evangelii Gaudium” that the church has a “very special view” of the Jewish people “whose covenant with God was never abolished” and ” Friendship with the children of Israel (…) to the life of the disciples of Jesus “belong.

  2. Let your YES be YES and your NO be NO is what Scripture says , not all this pseudo-theological day dreaming.

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