Saturday, June 11, 2005

Query re Ratzinger quotation

If any readers can shed light on the following quotation, its authenticity, its context, or the manner in which Cardinal Ratzinger (if he indeed wrote it) intended it, I should be glad for it. A sedevacantist nun who rejects the authority of Vatican II and the Roman hierarchy since the Council has sent me this text, which she claims is a translation from Cardinal Ratzinger's German work, Die Sacramentale Begreundung Christliche Existenz. She obviously intends it as a piece of evidence that the Holy Father's theology is not to be trusted:
Eucharistic devotion such as is noted in the silent visit by the devout in church must not be thought of as a conversation with God. This would assume that God was present there locally and in a confined way. To justify such an assertion shows a lack of understanding of the Christological mysteries of the very concept of God. This is repugnant to the serious thinking of the man who knows about the omnipresence of God. To go to church on the ground that one can visit God who is present there is a senseless act which modern man rightfully rejects.
If the quotation is authentic, my immediate feeling is that it's been lifted out of a context that would shed some indispensable light on how he inteded it to be understood. Obviously, Catholicism has always insisted on the ubiquity and omnipresence of God, which would compel the rejection of any notion that God is present solely in an isolated locale. On the other hand, Catholic teaching has also insisted that God, who is present everywhere, is present uniquely and in an immediately physical way in the Incarnation and in the Blessed Sacrament, just as He was present in Old Testament theophanies, such as His appearance to Moses in the Burning Bush and to the Children of Israel in the Pillars of Fire and Cloud, as well as His appearance in the form of an Angel (Gen. 16:7, 13; 18:19-21; Judges 6:11-24; etc., etc.). Hence, belief in divine omnipotence is obviously not incompatible with belief in the Real Bodily Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The assertion that one who goes to church the ground that he can visit God who is present there is performing a "senseless act," in any case, would seem troublesome without a further bit of clarifing context. Especially in a year when the Catholics have been called upon to renew their devotion and appreciation of the Holy Eucharist, such sentiments as those expressed in this text (whoever wrote it) would seem to call for clarification.

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