Book Critique of MARY, The Church at the Source by Ratzinger and Balthasar

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

MARY, The Church at the Source
Thoughts on the place of Marian Doctrine and piety in faith and theology as a whole
By Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

THE SIGN OF THE WOMAN – Methodological Aspects

1. Reading the Bible as a Whole

Pages 38-39: For whole passages at a time, the encyclical takes the form of a meditation on the Bible. It presupposes historical-critical exegesis of the Bible, but it then takes the next step – to a properly theological interpretation. What does this mean? How does it work? The fundamental rule of the theological interpretation of the Bible is found in the third chapter of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on Divine Revelation: Since Holy Scripture must be read and interpreted in the same Spirit in whom it was written, the correct determination of the meaning of the sacred texts requires that no less scrupulous attention be given to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture, account being taken at all times of the living tradition of the universal Church and of the analogy of faith.
Note: Scriptures very little to say about Mary as a whole.
Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24:25-27.
Note: Interestedly, Jesus Christ did not exegesis from the Old Testament historical books.

Page 39: The basic and primary presupposition of theological exegesis is therefore the conviction that Scripture – the multiplicity of its authors and its long historical genesis notwithstanding – is one book having a real, intrinsic unity in the midst of its various tensions. This presupposition rests in turn upon the firm belief that Scripture is ultimately the work of a single author, who has both a human and a divine aspect. That is, it comes out of one historical subject, the people of God, which, despite all the changes of its history, always retained its inner self-identity. When this people speaks, not casually and superficially, but from the center of its identity, it speaks in the stages of its own history, yet always as one and the same subject. This point brings us to the divine aspect of the whole: the inner identity of the people of God is based upon the guidance of the one Holy Spirit. When the core of this identity makes itself heard, it is not simply a man or a people that is speaking – it is God speaking in human words; it is the one Spirit speaking, the one Spirit who abides as the inner power guiding the people through its history.
Note: The Holy Spirit will testify of Jesus Christ.
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” John 15:26-27.
Note: Christians will bear witness of Jesus Christ.

Pages 39-40: It follows that to interpret Scripture theologically means not only to listen to the historical authors whom it juxtaposes, even opposes, but to seek the one voice of the whole, to seek the inner identity that sustains the whole and binds it together. A purely historical method attempts, so to speak, to distill the historical moment of genesis, thereby setting it apart from all others and fixing it. Theological exegesis, while not displacing such a historical approach from its proper terrain, nonetheless does transcend it. The moment does not exist in isolation, after all. It is part of a whole, and I do not really understand even this part until I understand it in terms of, and together with, the whole. In this sense, the methodological form that comes into play here is ultimately quite simple: Scripture is interpreted by Scripture. Scripture interprets itself. Attentive listening to Scripture’s own internal self-interpretations is very characteristic of Redemptoris Mater. The encyclical does not endeavor to explain the individual moments of biblical texts by appealing to external voices, which can contribute a great deal of historical detail but cannot unlock the texts’ inner core. Rather, it tries to attend entirely to their own polyphonic symphony and so to understand them in light of their own intrinsic correlations.
Note: Scriptures very little to say about Mary as a whole.
Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Luke 24:44-45.
Note: Interestedly, Jesus Christ did not exegesis from the Old Testament historical books.

Pages 40-41: The reading of Scripture as a unity thus logically entails a second principle. It means reading it as something present, not only in order to learn about what was once the case or what people once thought, but to learn what is true. This, too, is an aim that a strictly historical exegesis cannot directly pursue. Such an exegesis focuses, after all, on the past moment of the genesis of the text and therefore necessarily reads it in relation to its prior history. One can, of course, learn from that prior history, as one can learn from history in general. But, in order to learn, one has to cross the distance of the past. The idea of posing the question of truth in its own right is alien to the very nature of modern scientific question. And yet, it is the real question of the Bible as such. “What is truth?” – for the enlightened Pilate, this is a non-question. To ask it is, by that very fact, to shunt it aside. And so it is with us. The question is meaningful only if the Bible itself is something present, if a subject that is present speaks out of it, and if this subject stands apart from all other living historical subjects because it is bound up with the truth and, therefore, can convey knowledge of the truth in human speech.
Note: It appears that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) missed Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6.
Note: Are in the Biblical truth of Jesus Christ or the historical dark age nonsense of Mary?

Page 41: Belief that this is the case constitutes the core of theological exegesis. The Pope converses with the Bible in this belief. He accepts its words, as they are revealed in the entirety of their meaning, as truth, as information about how things really are with God and with man. On this understanding, the Bible truly concerns us. Without any artificial updating, it needs only itself in order to be supremely “up-to-date”.
Note: It appears that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) missed Jesus Christ.
But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Galatians 4:20-24.
Note: Are in the Biblical truth of Jesus Christ or the historical dark age nonsense of Mary?