April 19, 2005


John Paul II: Assessing His Legacy (Stanley Hauerwas, Commonweal)

In the last chapter of my Gifford Lecturers (With the Grain of the Universe: The Church’s Witness and Natural Theology), I suggested that the great Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder and John Paul II represent the theological politics necessary to sustain the work of theology in our time. I am sure many thought I was being disingenuous. Anabaptist and pope are surely strange bedfellows. But I had no devious intentions. I believe that John Paul II’s reassertion of the Christological center for Roman Catholic theology has ecclesiological implications that are not unlike those represented by Yoder.

In his first encyclical, Redemptor hominis, John Paul II made Christ the center of the church’s witness in a manner that shaped all his papacy. Those external to the Catholic world may think it odd to congratulate a pope for being “Christological.” But John Paul II, schooled on the resources needed to oppose totalitarians, called Catholic theology back to its animating center with a renewed sense that Jesus matters. I think, moreover, it is no accident that John Paul II later issued Fides et ratio, for he rightly understood that any recovery of right reason requires an uncompromising recognition that the God who can be known through reason is the God who has made himself known in Christ.

A Christological Catholic Church gets it much closer to its lost Protestant sheep.

Conservative Evangelicals Say New Pope Speaks Their Moral Language (Adelle M. Banks, 04/20/2005, Religion News Service)

The day before Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, he declared in a public Mass that a "dictatorship of relativism" threatens the absolute truth claims of the church.

That statement could easily have been made by conservative evangelical leaders in the United States. Despite theological differences, they're cheering the choice of a pontiff who seems to speak the same moral language they do.

"Relativism, pluralism and naturalism are the three main foes of evangelicalism today and they're the main foes of conservative Roman Catholics," said Norman Geisler, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., and co-author of Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences.

"We rejoice in the choice because he's going to hold the line and he's not going to allow the liberal element in the Catholic Church to reverse any of those things."

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 19, 2005 8:55 PM

Let us pray that Benedict XVI continues this movement, so that Christ's church may indeed be one in spirit and in truth!

"B16 - a potent mixture of Olive Oil extract and pure Holy Spirit power." (TM)

Posted by: Dave W. at April 20, 2005 1:39 AM