Ratzinger Conference in Steubenville

I just attended a conference on the Josef Ratzinger’s/ Pope Benedict XVI’s theology of the Church in Steubenville, jointly organized by the Holy See’s Josef Ratzinger Foundation and Franciscan University of Steubenville (October 20th-21st). The conference was lively and extremely thought provoking, with a large number of scholars, of various schools of thought, addressing all aspects of Ratzinger’s ecclesial theology.

Fr. Lombardi reads the Pope Emeritus’s letter to the conference

The highlight of the conference came right at the start, when Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, of the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation reading a letter that the Pope Emeritus sent to the conference. The letter is a notable document of Ratzinger’s memory of Vatican II and its background. He wrote about the situation after World War I in Germany, recalling Guardini’s famous dictum about the Church awakening in souls. I could not help wondering, what Vatican II would have been like had it been held in the interwar period, with the strongly anti-individualistic, corporatist ethos of those days. Pope Benedict went on to discuss his own work on Augustine’s City of God after World War II. He sees that work, and the great Augustine Conference in Paris in 1954 as being essentially in continuity with the interwar “awakening of the Church,” but there are of course significant differences, to do (in part) with the anti-authoritarian reaction of the postwar period. In any event, Pope Benedict emphasized the way the new interpretation of Augustine to which he contributed decisively broke with the liberal reading of Augustine found, for example, in Heinrich Scholz. This was certainly an important achievement. Pope Benedict also, however, reiterated his acceptance of the Paris Conference’s rejection of medieval political Augustinianism’s interpretation of Augustine (a rejection that I myself find somewhat questionable).

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St Thérèse and the Contemplative Heart of the Intellectual Life

A Sermon Preached at the Katholische Hochschule ITI on the Feast of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, Trumau, October 1st, 2022. PDF.

Yesterday we already anticipated the Feast of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. And today we celebrate again fittingly giving our patroness a double Feast. From the very beginning of the ITI, her holy countenance has watched over us with generous and benevolent love.

When the ITI was first planted, like a delicate seedling,[1] it more than once seemed that it would wither and fail. On each occasion, the intercession of St Thérèse saved us. For example, one occasion, when the ITI was about to be closed for lack of funds. The president was in America, making a last-ditch effort to find enough donations to keep the Institute going. The students prayed a novena to St Thérèse. And then, quite unexpectedly, help came from St Thérèse’s own country, from France, from Monsieur Michelin, the pious industrialist— a generous gift that kept the ITI in existence.

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