Thursday, March 15, 2018

"Et Tu, Benedict? (Wrinkles in Time & Theology)"

Prefatory note:

Dionysius the Areopagite was a 1st century convert of St. Paul mentioned in the Book of Acts; but the man who wrote under his name in the late fifth or early sixth century and transposed the whole of pagan Neoplatonism from Plotinus to Proclus into a distinctively new Christian context is more aptly called "Pseudo-Dionysius."

Frank J. Sheed (1897-1982) was an Australian-born lawyer, Catholic writer, publisher and speaker who was married to Maisie Ward, who together with her lent his name to the famous English imprint Sheed & Ward and was a forceful speaker in the Catholic Evidence Guild; but the man who, under the name of "Frank J. Sheed," is the author of the contemporary blog from which the following article is taken should perhaps better be known as "Pseudo-Frank J. Sheed," since, like "Pseudo-Dionysius," he conceals his own identity behind a pseudonym taken from the name of someone he wishes to honor. -- Editor

Pseudo Frank J. Sheed, in "Et Tu, Benedict? (Wrinkles in Time & Theology)," introduces his subject as follows:
When you read Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI, it can be a faith-rewarding exercise or a head scratcher. I, for one, am very grateful for his Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism, his book on the Infancy Narratives, his Handmaid of the Lord, and Ignatius Press’ volumes of weekly teachings as pope like A School of Prayer. Not to mention his output at the CDF, which considering the possibilities he prevented seems heroic.

But then there are other scattered books, like Principles of Catholic Theology, Introduction to Christianity, In the Beginning, and Highlights of Vatican II. These often seem ambiguous on key points, and suggest a mind conditioned by the more liberal currents of the 60s and 70s. For the conservative crowd, that’s lamentable. Which all that in mind, I was both irked and intrigued by Hilary White’s column. It follows here, and as you’ll discover, she takes no prisoners.
Indeed, there is much here "irk and intrigue" most anyone.

Yes, by all means: Caveat emptor! But by the same token, know that those who neglect acquaintance with many of the dark details here related do so at their own peril of blissful ignorance. [Disclaimer: Rules ## 7-9]

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