A world without God can only be a world without meaning: the April 2019 esay of Benedict XVI

In April, 2019, Pope Emeritus XVI published, with the permission of both the Vatican Secretary of State and the Holy Father, a 6000 word essay in the Klerusblatt [a monthly periodical for clergy in mostly Bavarian dioceses]. The entire essay is presented in the National Catholic Register, here. It has generated no number of responses and critiques, good, bad, indifferent. I only offer a few clips (as always, my emphasis), from Part III. Ratzinger is a clear, linear, concise writer and thinker. He is not difficult to understand, but one must pay attention to what he is writing. Go read it and digest it yourselves.

[From III (1)]:“A world without God can only be a world without meaning. For where, then, does everything that is come from? In any case, it has no spiritual purpose. It is somehow simply there and has neither any goal nor any sense. Then there are no standards of good or evil. Then only what is stronger than the other can assert itself. Power is then the only principle. Truth does not count, it actually does not exist. Only if things have a spiritual reason, are intended and conceived — only if there is a Creator God who is good and wants the good — can the life of man also have meaning…

[From III (2)]: “Let us consider this with regard to a central issue, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Our handling of the Eucharist can only arouse concern...

...What predominates is not a new reverence for the presence of Christ’s death and resurrection, but a way of dealing with Him that destroys the greatness of the Mystery. The declining participation in the Sunday Eucharistic celebration shows how little we Christians of today still know about appreciating the greatness of the gift that consists in His Real Presence. The Eucharist is devalued into a mere ceremonial gesture...”

[From III (3)]: ”And finally, there is the Mystery of the Church. The sentence with which Romano Guardini, almost 100 years ago, expressed the joyful hope that was instilled in him and many others, remains unforgotten: ‘An event of incalculable importance has begun; the Church is awakening in souls.’ … About half a century later, in reconsidering this process and looking at what had been happening, I felt tempted to reverse the sentence: ‘The Church is dying in souls.’...

In III (3), Benedict develops his comparison between Job and the Church, within the framework of St. John’s Apocalypse.

“..The idea of a better Church, created by ourselves, is in fact a proposal of the devil, with which he wants to lead us away from the living God, through a deceitful logic by which we are too easily duped. No, even today the Church is not just made up of bad fish and weeds. The Church of God also exists today, and today it is the very instrument through which God saves us...”

Enough. I am no theologian. I am merely offering this to alert you – in case you had missed it - regarding a recent writing by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Finally, I do not believe that a return to the traditional form of the liturgy will magically fix the Church (although I have been accused of this). After all, the Church had plenty of problems before Pope Paul VII’s Novus ordo Missae was mandated in 1969. I do, however, believe that the pewsitters in the Church (that would include me) have lost the sense of the mystery of God, and the mystery of the Mass, with the current liturgical form, and that a return to the traditional form will help return the sense of mystery that we all so very much need as a starting point.


Curate, ut valeatis.