Principles of Catholic Theology is a collection of articles and talks written around a central theme: the fundamental structure of Christianity. This volume discusses Catholicism, the inter-relationship of other forms of Christianity, and the features that distinguish Catholicism from other Christian theologies. Ratzinger outlines the fundamental principles of theology and the proper relationship of theology to church teaching and authority.
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“For Thomas Aquinas had, in fact, only reflected anew on an answer already formulated by Irenaeus of Lyons, the real founder of Catholic theology, in his controversies with Gnosticism: The new message of Jesus Christ, he said, consists in the fact that he opened the way to a meeting with him who had until then been the Untouchable, the Unreachable, with the Father himself, and destroyed the insurmountable wall that had separated mankind from the being and truth of God.8 This means that we fail to understand the meaning of Christology precisely when it remains locked in a historico-anthropological circle and does not become a real theo-logy, in which the metaphysical reality of God is what is discussed.” (Page 319)
“The seat of all faith is, then, the memoria Ecclesiae, the memory of the Church, the Church as memory” (Page 23)
“creatureliness means having one’s origin, not in a passive idea, but in a creative freedom;” (Page 162)
“Jesus’ message is evangelium, not because it is immediately pleasing to us or comfortable or attractive, but because it comes from him who has the key to true joy. Truth is not always comfortable for man, but it is only truth that makes him free and only freedom that brings him joy.” (Page 79)
“A Christianity that believes it has no other function than to be completely in tune with the spirit of the times has nothing to say and no meaning to offer.” (Page 57)
Joseph Ratzinger, better known as Pope Benedict XVI, is one of our time’s most revered Catholic prelates, scholars, theologians, teachers, and authors. He has spoken on many crucial subjects, including sexual consumerism, modern gender roles, marriage, the priesthood, and the future. As a teenager, he studied classical languages and, in 1939, entered the minor seminary in Traunstein. Though he was drafted into the German antiaircraft corps in 1943, he reentered the seminary in 1945, when World War II ended. On June 29, 1951, Joseph Ratzinger was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Freising on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. He received his doctorate in theology in 1953, from the University of Munich. Starting in 1959, Ratzinger taught theology at the University of Bonn.
At 35, Joseph Ratzinger was appointed chief theological advisor to the archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joseph Frings, and he maintained that title for four years. After many years of teaching at several German universities, Ratzinger was appointed by Pope Paul VI as archbishop of Munich and Freising in March 1977 and, in June 1977, was elevated to cardinal. In November 1981, Ratzinger was summoned by Pope John Paul II to Rome, where he was named prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and president of the International Theological Commission.
On April 19, 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected to be the 265th pope. He took the name Benedict XVI, after St. Benedict of Nursia. Since that time, he has continued to receive worldwide respect and has been a spiritual influence to Christians and non-Christians alike.