Co-Workers of the Truth 10/16

Benedict XVIThe unfortunate state of theology today seems to me to consist in no small measure in the fact that it lacks the necessary courage to engage the whole intellect. Yet it fails to do so its only alternative is either to proclain the incomprohensible or to adapt itself to the prevailing view. But in that case information about Christianity becomes a personal evasion that does not, it is true, do justice to the Christian Faith but at least enables the theologian in question to pose as an intelligent colleague with whom one can carry on an intelligent conversation.

In the long run, not much progress can be made in this way by which the theologians attempt to save their skin by risking the anathema of all Church history. For what value has the “intelligence” of an individual theologian when the matter about which he speaks has thus far been treated unintelligibly? If theology is to have any meaning beyond the self-affirmation of the theologian, the first prerequisite is that the personal intelligence of its representatives must not be flaunted but that the theologian must, above all and, as it were, as his primary concern, give straightforward information about what the Faith teaches, for without that there will be no theology.

That is by no means a contradiction of what has been said above: the Faith needs intellect if it is to be understood and practiced. But it needs, above all, an intellect that will not only be productive but will also be able to understand what is proper to it. It needs an intellect that hears. That is why the beginning of all theology is to give hearing its rightful place and to accept the teaching of the Faith exactly as it is given, even if this ruins counter to our expectations at a given moment. The great moments of intellect always come from a source we had not foreseen.

From: Das Heil des menschen, pp. 40-41

Leave a Reply