ZENIT's Spanish service on 1/11/07 carried this interview with a Spanish theologian who has just written his third book on Joseph Ratzinger. Unfortunately, the 'interview' is maddeningly sketchy!
ROMA (ZENIT.org)- A new book on Benedict XVI highlights his Augustinian side, that is his similarites with the saint of Hippo and his passion for Augustine.
«Joseph Ratzinger: Vida y Teología», published in Spain by Rialp last year is a portrait of the theologian who became Pope.
Pablo Blanco, doctor in theology and philosophy, and professor at the University of Navarra, has written two previous books on Ratzinger: "Joseph Ratzinger: Una biografia" (Eunsa, 2004) and "Joseph Ratzinger: Razon y cristianismo" (Rialp, 2005). His new book also contains Ratzinger's Spanish bibliography.
Blanco spoke to ZENIT about his new book.
"For Ratzinger, everything started with St. Augustine." What does this sentence from your book mean?
It means, on the one hand, that his first work was about the concept opf Church in St. Augustine. But there's much more. Joseph Ratzinger is Augustinian in that he shares with the saint - to me, at least - the triple dimension of being a poet, a pastor and a thinker.
Like the Bishop of Hippo, the German theologian not only dedicated himself for 50 years to theology, but he has also been a bishop (of Munich and now Rome), and his poetic talent is evident from his homilies and his writings.
Is Pope Benedict XVI also the theologian Ratzinger?
Yes and no. Yes, because he remains who he is, even as Pope, and I think his long career as a theologian is one of the best preparations to know the situation, the pproblems asnd the great possibilities for the Church.
And no, because a Pope does not govern alone. He has a team of 'collaborators' - above all, all the other bishops - who help him carry out the difficult task of leading the Church.
In the emblematic year of 1968, Joseph Ratzinger signed, along with 1360 other theologians, the Declaration of Nijmegen, which was addressed to the ex-Holy Office, requesting for more religious pluralism. What was that about?
It was a request by theologians for more independence from Rome and their bishops, although Ratzinger did not fully agree with everything in the declaration.
He has written on several occasions about theological pluralism (which I try to explain in my book) but this is very far from being relativism. The first seeks truth and freedom, the other would submit all truth to any freedom.
You note that life, love, truth and theology are the four parameters which define the thought of Joseph Ratzinger. Do you think the Pope would agree?
I would love to ask him. I do think his love of theology is beyond doubt, having dedicated his life to it. He also considers love and truth inseparable, and that, too, one can appreciate in his life and his works.
Joseph Ratzinger has always aimed at a theology that is linked to life, not something elaborated in a lecture hall or one's study. Likewise, he sees that theology should be linked to preaching, to spirituality, to the needs of the moment.
Sometimes, I think Joseph Ratzinger would even add a new parameter - beauty - which I speak of at the end of this book.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 14/01/2007 7.05]