Edit: the most revealing, cutting comment was quoted by Sandro Magister and not present in this piece:
"John Paul II did not ask for applause, nor did he ever look around in concern at how his decisions would be received. He acted on the basis of his faith and convictions, and he was also ready to take fire. The courage of the truth is to my eyes one of the main criteria of holiness."
(Vatican) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. prays, but he also gives advice," says Vatican expert Sandro Magister. And he does it more often. While the reigning Pope Francis called upon and hailed, the Emeritus Pope raises his predecessor John Paul II. A fine but meaningful action. Benedict XVI. is it not primarily about the person of the Polish pope, who had called him to Rome and his pontificate, which he helped to shape from the background, but rather it is related to the Magisterium, particularly realling the Encyclical Veritatis splendor , and the Declaration Dominus Iesus , two documents Benedict XVI. as a contrast and corrective to current developments.Veritatis Splendor was co-authored by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, in his capacity as prefect of the CDF. It raises the absolute claim of fundamental moral truths. Dominus Iesus is a document of the CDF, which was, however, contrary to conflicting claims, approved in full by John Paul II. The Polish Pope also, said Benedict, had no fear, "as to how his decisions would be taken." Recent references can be called to mind.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, the spokesman of a fundamental attack on the sacrament of marriage, the sacrament of confession and religious anthropology, found sharp words for Benedict during the sedevacant between the resignation and the election of Francis. With words that were directed against the resigning Pope, he warned against interfering in the election of his successor and his pontificate. It is Pope Francis, in his Ash Wednesday interview in Corriere della Sera who exhorted Benedict XVI. to take an active role in the Church. Also the course as part of an unprecedented development in the history of the Church. "The Pope Emeritus is not a museum piece. He is an institution," said Pope Francis and much more, including the request, "that it would be better if he saw people went out and would participate in the life of the Church."
"No sooner said than done," says Master. "A few days later, a book was published with a text of Benedict XVI. Not about any text, but an assessment of his predecessor John Paul II ." A real public opinion, not only of the person, but also the crucial basic lines of this memorable pontificate," said Master. With emphasis, which can not but be read, because it is as a pointed comparison to the current situation of the Church and thus the reigning Pope.
Four Major Encyclicals and Two Key Documents
The text contains a number of significant points. One of them is that of liberation theology, which has gained new relevance in the Vatican. But two other points are important. The first digit refers to the most important encyclicals of John Paul II Of the fourteen encyclicals Benedict XVI. singles out five.
Redemptor hominis from 1979, where John Paul II, "offers his personal summary of the Christian faith", and today "this is a great help to those,who are in the search,' says Benedict.
Redemptoris missio of 1987, "which emphasizes the importance of the permanent mission of the Church's mission" .
Evangelium vitae of 1995, which "develops one of the fundamental themes of the entire pontificate of John Paul II: the inviolable dignity of human life, from the first moment of conception," said Benedict.
Fides et ratio of 1998, which " "offers a new vision of the relationship between the Christian faith and philosophical reason."".
"Veritatis Splendor" against Pragmatic Morality Without Good and Evil
Benedict XVI. devote a few lines of comments to these four encyclicals. Then he mentioned a fifth encyclical, which he dedicated, in contrast to the other, a lot of space, and thus the weighting still underlines.
This is the Encyclical Veritatis Splendor on some fundamental questions of the Church's moral teaching in 1993. Perhaps the least recognized encyclical of John Paul II it is considered by Benedict XVI. which the Church relies on in Her current position as the most important legacy of the Polish pontificate. "The Encyclical on moral issues took long years of maturation and remains unchanged from actuality," says Benedict XVI.:
"The Second Vatican Council was in contrast to the prevailing orientation of moral theology to natural was that Catholic moral teaching about Jesus and His message, had a biblical foundation. However, this was only rudimentarily attempted for only a short time. Then, the opinion prevailed that the Bible did not have its own proclamation to morality, but refers only to moral models whose validity varies from case to case. Morality is a matter of reason and not of faith, it was said. So on the one hand the sense of natural law as a foundation for morality disappeared, without any Christian idea taking its place. And since you still could see a Christological morality neither a metaphysical basis, they resorted back to pragmatic solutions: on a morality that is based on the principle of a balancing of interests, in which there is no longer truly the bad and the truly good, but only more, what is the point of view of efficiency, better or worse. The great task that John Paul II was presented with in that encyclical was, again to track down and expose and a metaphysical foundation in anthropology thus a Christian concretization in the new image of man from the Scriptures. "
Because of its prominence, of the utmost importance Benedict XVI recommends. people of today to read and study this encyclical again, and think about.
"Dominus Iesus" and the Essential Elements of the Catholic Faith
The second point concerns the Declaration Dominus Iesus on the uniqueness and universality of redemption of Jesus Christ and the Church in 2000. "Dominus Iesus summarizes completely the essential elements of the Catholic faith." Dominus Iesus was the most criticized doctrinal document of the Polish pontificate and indeed outside and inside the Church. And yet it is, says Benedict XVI., together with Veritatis splendor, two of the outstanding and important documents of the pontificate of John Paul II. Not only that, he recommends both documents to the Church today as a guide.
In order to undermine the significance of Dominus Iesus, opponents attempted to attribute it solely to opponents of the then Prefect of faith. The opposite was the case. Benedict XVI. emphasized in the book now published, that had been complete agreement between him and John Paul II. as to its contents as well as what the timing and the need to publish were concerned. Pope Emeritus describes this previously unknown background:
"Because of the vortex, which had originated around Dominus Iesus, Pope John Paul II told me that he intended to unambiguously defend the document during the Angelus.
He asked me to draw up a text for the Angelus, which was waterproof, so to speak, and alllowed no other interpretation. It should be made clear in an unambiguous way that he approved of the document without ifs and buts.
Therefore, I prepared a short speech, but would not it be too forward and tried with clarity but without express hardness. After he read it, the Pope said to me: "Is this really clear enough? 'I said yes.
Anyone familiar with the theologians, is not surprised that there were still those who claimed afterwards that the Pope had cautiously distanced himself from this document. "
Just how indigestible the Declaration Dominus Iesus was for parts of the Church, was demonstrated in February 2010 in a statement by Cardinal Kasper. On the edge of a meeting of the Papal Council for Promoting Christian Unity, he turned to Vatican Radio following question:
Vatican Radio: "You stated in your opening remarks that mistakes have been made with the publication of the document 'Dominus Iesus' according to ecumenical partners. What did you mean? "
Cardinal Kasper: "I will not say that there is doctrinal error, since this document reflects Catholic doctrine, but that there are problems with some formulations that are not easily accessible to our partners."
Today, Cardinal Kasper seems to have more weight in the Church than ever before. Benedict XVI. formulated in various places an opposite position, publicly and privately. So he wrote, as Curial Archbishop Georg Gänswein announced in a ZDF interview, a four-page critique of the interview of Pope Francis in the Jesuit magazine Civilta Cattolica .
The judgment of Benedict XVI. about the person of John Paul II he summarizes in his article a statement, in which he expresses admiration for the "courage", "with which he fulfilled his task in a truly difficult time. John Paul II was not expecting applause and also did not look worried about how his decisions could be taken. He acted out of his faith and his beliefs and was also willing to suffer criticism for it."
Years ago, Joseph Ratzinger coined the phrase on the exercise of the papal office:
"A pope who would not be criticized today would have missed his task in this time."
The book, in which the new text of Benedict XVI. has appeared: . "On the Side of John Paul II Told by His Friends and Associates", with an exclusive contribution of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, ed. From Wlodzimierz Redzioch, Edizioni Ares, Milan, 2014, pp. 236, € 15,90.
Text: Settimo Cielo / Giuseppe Nardi
image: CR / NBQ
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image: CR / NBQ
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