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Joseph Ratzinger and the Healing of Reformation-Era Divisions

By Emery de Gaál (Editor), Matthew Levering (Editor)



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Edited by Emery de Gaál and Matthew Levering, Joseph Ratzinger and the Healing of Reformation-Era Divisions examines Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI’s manifold contributions to Catholic-Protestant theological reflection. The collection opens with an introduction comparing Ratzinger’s approach to ecumenism to that of Karl Rahner. Rahner argues that the structural uniting of Protestants and Catholics should take place now without worrying about doctrinal differences. In contrast, Ratzinger argues that unity in Christ requires probing the doctrinal differences and seeking a deeper understanding of the reasoning of each side—on the grounds that the truth of the Gospel that each side desires to preserve will ultimately be the basis for the only kind of Christian ecclesial unity worth having, namely, a unity of the basis of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Detailed essays follow, treating a number of loci including papal primacy, ecumenical principles, liturgy, evangelization, Mariology, Christ’s birth and the celebration of Christmas, public theology, Christocentrism, Martin Luther, charity, conscience, missiology, justification, the reception of Ratzinger/Benedict in Radical Orthodoxy, and Scripture and Tradition.  These essays run the full gamut of Ratzinger/Benedict’s major themes and preoccupations.

Ten of the essays are by Catholic scholars, and seven by Protestant scholars. Contributors include many of the world’s leading Ratzinger experts, and the volume opens with an essay by Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, Director of the Pope Benedict XVI Institute in Regensburg, Germany.

 

Matthew Levering holds the James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology at Mundelein Seminary. He is the author or editor of over forty books on topics in dogmatic, sacramental, moral, historical, and biblical theology. He co-edits two quarterly journals, Nova et Vetera and International Journal of Systematic Theology. Since 2004, he has been a participant in Evangelicals and Catholics Together, and from 2007-2016 he served as Chair of the Board of the Academy of Catholic Theology. He co-founded the Chicago Theological Initiative and has directed the Center for Scriptural Exegesis, Philosophy, and Doctrine since 2011.

Emery de Gaál a is a priest of the Catholic diocese of Eichtätt, Bavaria, Germany. He is chairman and professor of dogmatic theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/ Mundelein Seminary. He studied philosophy and theology in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Munich. De Gaál is the author of O Lord, I Seek Your Countenance: Explorations and Discoveries in Pope Benedict XVI’s Theology, The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI: The Christocentric Shift, and numerous articles on Benedict XVI’s theology.

 

“This book is a testimony to true ecumenical dialogue.  Rather than engage in a bland ‘ecumenism of negotiation,’ De Gaál and Levering put on display an ‘ecumenism of mutual gift.’ The high caliber of both Catholic and Protestant contributions, along with the friendship among the contributors, are the guarantee that this dialogue will in fact yield the desired mutual enrichment. This book is a major accomplishment and deserves prayerful reading and reflection with a hopeful eye to full doctrinal and ecclesial unity.”

Hans Boersma
Nashotah House

 

“Here is a collection of timely essays on the ecumenical legacy of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the most consequential Catholic theologian since the Second Vatican Council. An important contribution to the ongoing journey toward Christian unity.”

Timothy George
Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

 

“This volume represents an important step forward in Ratzinger scholarship, exploring as it does a remarkable range of topics germane to the emeritus pontiff’s ecumenical vision. The authors follow Ratzinger in rejecting a dead-end ecumenical approach that would marginalize questions of doctrinal truth—and thereby the reason anyone would want to be Christian in the first place. What is more, by including both Catholic and Protestant scholars in the endeavor, the editors have produced a volume which not only speaks with erudition on the subject of ecumenism but—just as importantly—puts it into practice.”

Matthew J. Ramage
Benedictine College

 

“This honest and hopeful volume merits careful reading by Catholic and Protestant scholars seeking deeper communion in Christ. The contributors outline areas of mutual enrichment without papering over ongoing major differences. The editors are to be commended for guiding this volume to reflect Ratzinger’s patient, preserving, and reforming spirit. I hope this collection will fuel further productive biblical-theological collaboration.”

Paul House
Beeson Divinity School of Samford University

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