(16/02/15) Two theologians who “exerted themselves heroically to help the Church”: Joseph Ratzinger and Jean Daniélou. Two study days have been dedicated to them at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, during the Conference entitled “Ratzinger, Daniélou and the mystery of history”.
“We chose to put the two theologians together, even if they seem to be different: one is a patrologist and the other is a scholar of fundamental dogmatic theology. We think that there is a deep link that makes them close to each other: their endless love for history”, said father Giulio Maspero, one of the organizers of the Conference. “Both Ratzinger and Daniélou have a great intellectual honesty and they have been able to compare philosophy and theology, exegetical and patristic studies – Father Maspero added –. They were meticulous in their scientific analysis but also open to contemporary culture, spirituality and the real man, not the abstract one”.
“Father Jean Daniélou was an authentic theologian, because he developed his theology and a strong pastoral ministry at the same time. His theology is easy to understand and very close to real life. There is something beautiful in his studies and books: his life of prayers” Msgr. Guillaume Derville, professor of the University of the Holy Cross, said.
Father Vincent Twomey, from Maynooth University, noted that “Joseph Ratzinger was a very interesting professor. His lessons always analysed the subject in the context of contemporary culture and philosophical and theological movements. He had a wide point of view and he was able to see theology in the current condition of existence”.
Angela Maria Mazzanti, professor of the University of Bologna, said: “Daniélou thinks that man has a natural aptitude for a relationship with God, and religions are the expression of this relationship, because everyone is naturally close to the divine dimension.”
“We chose to put theological and philosophical research by Daniélou and Ratzinger together because we wanted to follow their lines of thought. They have a lot of things in common, especially in the way they interpret the Holy Scripture, in their opinion of history and in their clarity. Both are scholars that speak to the people of their time” said Jonah Lynch, professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
In his written presentation, cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, underlined that “the close examination Father Daniélou made of the Bible, the Fathers of the Church and liturgy, along with an unconditional faith to the teachings of the Church, revealed that he never ignored spirituality. In fact, he is a man of prayers.”
“It is well-known that, at the end of his appointment as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, cardinal Ratzinger wanted to become Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Church; but his cardinal brothers didn’t agree – said the current Librarian, Msgr. Jean-Louis Bruguès –. But when Pope Benedict XVI appointed me as the head of the Vatican Apostolic Library, in June 2012, he said: «I put the treasures of the Church in your hands». Are they real treasures? This word could amaze, because the real treasures of the Church should be the Saints, the Sacraments or poor people, as Pope Francis always reminds us. Even though that, the writings are treasures because they preserve the most authentic traces of the History of the liberation of mankind, as the two theologians would affirm”.