Tracey Rowland's "Ratzinger's Faith"

Forgive me for not having blogged much in the past week or so. Blame it entirely upon Tracey Rowland’s latest book “Ratzinger’s Faith” which she has kindly given to me to review for the Kairos (stay tuned for the full review). I have had my nose buried in this book since it arrived, and it has given me great joy and spiritual consolation.

So I have missed all the excitement surrounding the “great debate” between the Cooees boys (and girls, sorry Sister K) and Brian Coyne of Catholica.

But I catch up with most things eventually, and so to with this “gem” that they quote from Brian’s jottings:

Every public action of this man [Pope Benedict XVI] seems totally designed to appease the nutters, the insecure, and those who see “salvation” not being secured by the Cross of Jesus but by rules, bells and smells and some quaint “culture” of Catholicism that is rooted not in the time, and life of Christ, but in some kind of European feudalism or monarchism where some believed in the “Divine Right of Kings”. None of that “shit” has anything whatsoever to do with our salvation, resurrection or finding the “peace of Christ” in our lives that surpasses all human understanding.

Reading such a diatribe amidst reading “Ratzinger’s Faith” almost makes me physically sick. It is patently obvious that Brian knows not what he does, and perhaps he may therefore have recourse to the prayer of our Lord on the Cross for those who were crucifying him.

That he can accuse Benedict of seeing salvation as being secured by anything other than the Cross of Christ, or of trying to appease those who might think this to be the case, and that he can sum up the faith which Benedict expounds for the faithful as being only about “rules, bells and smells” indicates to me that he has not read a word of Benedict’s teaching.

Let me put up just two quotations from Tracey’s book, the first from Ratzinger himself (which I think I have already cited) and the second from the author herself:

If the Church were to accomodate herself to the world in any way that would entail a turning away from the Cross, this would not lead to a renewal of the Church, but only to her death. (page 39)

Raztinger wishes, however, to distinguish between the teaching authority of the Church and the practice of enlightened despotism. The Church, he says, is not in the business of leading in the same sense of the enlightened ruler who knows that he is in possession of better reason, translates it into regulations, and counts on the obedience of his subjects who have to accept his reason and its articulation as their divinely willed standard. Rather, it is a case of there being certain teachings which have been withdrawn from any possibility of majority judgement, by the bishops or by anyone else, because they are things which of themselves human reason has not discovered. They are gifts of Revelation. (page 89)

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