What a Biographer of Joseph Ratzinger Is Expecting

Interview With Pablo Blanco

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ROME, JUNE 27, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The author of a book on the life and theology of Joseph Ratzinger says that the new Pope has only one program: «to do the will of God.»

Pablo Blanco, who has a doctorate in philosophy and who studied the life and writings of the present Holy Father for many years, told ZENIT in this interview that Benedict XVI is «perfectly capable of addressing the great challenges of the present.»

Blanco’s book is entitled «Joseph Ratzinger. Una biografía» (Joseph Ratzinger: A Biography), published by Eunsa.

Q: When you wrote the book, did you ever think that Cardinal Ratzinger might one day be Pope?

Blanco: Of course not. I was interested in Joseph Ratzinger as a theologian and man of the Church, not as Pope. Anyway, now, in time, I have realized that the cardinals — with the inestimable help of the Holy Spirit — know how to choose.

This Pope is most qualified on several fronts and, in my opinion, perfectly capable of addressing the great challenges of the present: of addressing secularization, of promoting ecumenism and of stimulating a resolute and sincere evangelization, to mention only three magic words.

Q: You wrote that Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II collaborated very closely, not only on Friday afternoons and alone, but also on Tuesdays, the day before the general audiences. From here stemmed several Wednesday catecheses and documents. Now that Ratzinger is Pope, do you think there is someone who can help him with the catecheses?

Blanco: Frankly, I don’t know. Ratzinger was famous for writing everything [John Paul II] read. I imagine he will have valuable collaborators, but he will be responsible, in a very personal way, for everything he says or writes.

Q: Are there aspects of Benedict XVI which you think the media have not highlighted?

Blanco: I think that what is very important in his life is what he said in the homily at the start of his pontificate: that his only program is to do the will of God.

Throughout his life, one can see how he lets himself be led by that invisible hand of God, which takes him where he would rather not go: He ceased being a professor to become archbishop of Munich, he went to Rome to take up one of the hardest posts in the Church: that of prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and accepted his election as Pope, beginning to exercise his pontificate with great ease, under the name of Benedict XVI.

All this seems to me not only courageous but a great ability to let God act.

Q: You wrote that Cardinal Ratzinger was one of the main architects of the Second Vatican Council and post-conciliar period in the whole Church. In what areas has he most defended the Council?

Blanco: I think he has a privileged vision of the ensemble of all the present problems of the faith.

Among many other topics, one could single out the centrality of Jesus Christ and the importance of the liturgy, morality, of women in the Church, of the priesthood as service and of ecumenism as a priority task and, finally, the primacy of the logos over the ethos, that is, the decisiveness of the Creed in the life of Christians.

Proof of this, for example, is Vatican II’s Catechism, which he himself was responsible for stimulating and coordinating.

In any case, it is clear that — as the protagonist that he was of the Council — he knows where the Church must go; all that is needed is to continue to listen to the voice of God in this continuous Pentecost.

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