Friday, February 08, 2008

Mary, Church Infallibility & The Pope - From the Lips of Ratzinger

Here's a few more nice quotes I wanted to pull out from the book: "God and the World" (A conversation between Peter Seewald & Cardinal Ratzinger)

On Mary:

Nowadays Protestants are making some timid efforts to recapture the figure of Mary. People have realized that the complete removal of the feminine element from the Christian message is a shortcoming from an anthropological viewpoint. It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity. Through Mary, and the other holy women, the feminine element stands at the heart of the Christian religion. And this is not in competition with Christ. To think of Christ and Mary as being in competition means ignoring the essential distinction between the two figures. Christ gives John, and through John all of us, the Mother. That is not competition, but a most profound kind of intimacy. The Mother and Virgin forms an essential part of the Christian picture of man.

On whether the Church would officially adopt "Co-Redemptrix" as a title for Mary:
I do not think there will be any compliance with this demand, which in the meantime is being supported by several million people, within the foreseeable future. The response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is, broadly, that what is signified by this is already better expressed in other titles of Mary, while the formula "Co-redemptrix" departs to too great an extant from the language of Scripture and of the Fathers and therefore gives rise to misunderstandings.


Because Mary is the the prototype of the Church as such and is, so to say, the Church in person, this being "with" is realized in her in exemplary fashion. But this "with" must not lead us to forget the "first" of Christ: Everything comes from Him, as the letter to the Ephesians and the Letter to the Colossians, in particular, tell us; Mary, too, is everything that she is through Him.

The word "Co-Redemptrix" would obscure this origin. A correct intention is being expressed in the wrong way. For matters of faith, continuity of terminology with the language of Scripture and that of the Fathers is itself an essential element; it is improper simply to manipulate language.
On the infallibility of the Church:
This doctrine obviously needs to be understood very precisely within its correct limitations, so as not to be misused or misunderstood. It doesn't mean that every word that the ecclesiastical authorities say, or even every word said by a pope, is infallible. It certainly does mean that wherever the Church, in the great spiritual and cultural struggles of history, and after all possible prayer and grappling with the truth, insists that this is the correct interpretation and draws a line there, she has been promised that in this instance she will not lead people in to error. That she will not be turned into an instrument of destruction for the Word of God, but remains the mother, the living agent, within whom the Word is alive and truly expresses Himself and is truly interpreted.
On the pope:
We know from the New Testament that sacramental, consummated marriage is irreversible, indivisible. Now, there are movements who say the Pope could of course change that. No, that is what he cannot change. And in January 2000, in an important address to Roman judges, he declared that in response to this movement in favor of changing the indissolubility of marriage, he can only say that the Pope cannot do anything he wants, but he must on the contrary continually rekindle our sense of obedience; it is in this way, so to speak, that he has to continue the gesture of washing people's feet.

1 comment:

------- Theo ------- said...

Thanks for sharing those quotes.

It is a pity that in spite of this unambiguous and present clarification, I fear the same old canards will continue to be dragged out. Sometimes I need a renewal in hope that those few of our fellow Christians who so misconstrue the faith might come into greater truth--and therefore greater fellowship with the Body of Christ.