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April 06, 2009



I found a summary on NCR.


( Sorry, can't read German).

The comments were fascinating. Interesting is a view of the Pope as some sort of Dalai Lama, a virtual incarnation/ avatar of Christ.

Spirit of Vatican II

The Catholic world today seems to be running on the fuel of what William Pfaff calls "vulgar zealotry". Under Cardinal Ratzinger some 1000 Catholic theologians were declared unfit to teach Catholic theology. Theological debate is now conducted by bloggers with no theological degrees, and sadly the Vatican seems to be more in accord with such zealots than with such supremely qualified theologians as Peter Huenermann.

This phenomenon is the ultimate nemesis of John Paul II's demagogic style and the blind credit that the faithful gave to Cardinal Ratzinger's "new inquisition.' The Catholic Church is sinking into a Babel of conflicting fanaticisms. The implosion is likely to go much further before sanity is recovered, and a smaller, wiser Church gets back onto the track opened by the last Council.


You're correct about the effect of silencing trained theologians.

But, it must be admitted that the result is not just from the action of the Vatican but also from the discipline of theology, as currently expressed, itself.

Theology has written itself into a corner with its far too technical language and its overly academic character. It does not connect to the average person whether believer or unbeliever.

I was fortunate to study theology (mainly comparative religion but also some "dogmatic" and historical theology), at GTU in the early 80's. But even then, I noticed that there was little connection between the discipline and ordinary people's lives. I noticed it quite sharply since I was also going to Zen sesshins at the same time. It was always interesting to come back from a week of silence (mostly external but sometimes with a bit of interior silence), to a rather noisy environment of intellectual discourse.

The need today is for a theology that is intelectually rigorous, fully cognizant of advances, developments and lacunae, that can speak plainly and clearly to ordinary people.

Unfortunately, the language of theology is far too technical for that right now.

You're correct about the bloggers. Most have a patina of theological education to various degrees but the patina is just that. Underneath are expressions of fear, anger and even doubt. Few express any insight into the actual contemporary human condition.


I would like to read the full text but don't get access to Herder-Korrespondenz. The excerpt given here doesn't convince me... and I am again astonished about bishops and theologians asking for withdrawal of the decision to lift the exc. of 4 individuals in such a naive way. That would really do damage to the papal authority and will not happen. So far the Pius X congregation has no status whatsoever in the church and the 4 bishops cannot execute any function. Their influence is therefore minimal.

Spirit of Vatican II

Stefan, you can consult the article free of charge by entering your address etc. at Herder's website. I added a few more paragraphs (hoping I am not infringing copyright). I think Huenermann is quite right that Bernard Fellay has not given the least sign of repentance but is taking the lifting of the excommunication as a vindication of Msgr Lefebvre and his views.

Spirit of Vatican II

Huenermann, aged 80, is the latest editor of the Enchiridion Symbolorum (Denzinger), the very yardstick of Catholic orthodoxy. When he declares that the Pope lacks theological vigilance, this is really, as NCR says, a "bombshell."


Also ich glaube das ist nur eine Trendsache

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