|Fr. Henri de Lubac, S.J.|
One such person was the Jesuit Henri de Lubac, a French theologian no one could dismiss as a reactionary. In his Vatican II diaries, de Lubac entered pithy observations about those he encountered. Ratzinger is portrayed as one whose powerful intellect is matched by his “peacefulness” and “affability.” Kung, by contrast, is denoted as possessing a “juvenile audacity” and speaking in “incendiary, superficial, and polemical” terms. Fr. de Lubac, incidentally, was a model of courtesy his entire life.
Something about Kung clearly bothered him. After Vatican II, Ratzinger and Kung took very divergent roads. Ratzinger emerged as a formidable defender of Catholic orthodoxy and was eventually elected pope. Kung became a theological celebrity and antagonist of the papacy. Now both men are in the evening of their earthly days. What, many wonder, occupies their minds at this time of life? In this regard, Jesus of Nazareth and Can the Church Still Be Saved? are quite revealing.
From Jesus of Nazareth’s first pages, it’s clear Benedict is focused on knowing the truth about Christ as He is rather than who we might prefer Him to be. Through a deep exposition of Scripture many evangelical Protestants will admire and a careful exploration of tradition the Eastern Orthodox will appreciate,Benedict shows Christ is who the ancient Church proclaims Him to be — not a political activist, but rather the Messiah who really lived, really died and who then proved his divinity by really rising from the dead.
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