A Passionate Reflection of Joseph Ratzinger: Life After Death and End of the World

Presentation by Father Federico Lombardi, SJ  

© Servizio Fotografico - L'Osservatore Romano

To reflect “seriously” but also “with passion” on the meaning of life, was the invitation of Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, President of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, on presenting the work ”What the Faithful Hopes For: Christian Eschatology from the Thought of Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI,” published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, on June 6, 2017.

The 600-page volume brings together the interventions of the 6th International Symposium organized by the Foundation on November 24-25, 2016, on the theme: “Eschatology: Analysis and Perspectives.” It contains, notably, the interventions of Chief Rabbi of Rome Ricardo Di Segni and three Cardinals: Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

The subject of eschatology was the “object of great attention on the part of Joseph Ratzinger practically throughout his life,” noted Father Lombardi. And it is lived in a particular way by the Pope Emeritus “at the present and conclusive moment of his withdrawn life of prayer and meditation.”

If the work makes contributions on the subject “ which in no way can be described in the Ratzinger mode,” yet “the presence of Joseph Ratzinger in the world of recent theological thought is so imposing” that it is “inevitable” to meet it “often on the way,” said the Jesuit.

He suggested to receive the book “as an invitation, according to the spirit of Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI, to continue to reflect seriously, but also in a vital and passionate manner, on the last things, that is, on the meaning of our life in relation with God, the meaning of the history of salvation, the history of humanity, of the world, of the whole of Creation.”

In face of the “dramatic events of our world ” and “the blood caused by fundamentalism,” he also suggested to reflect on these themes: “What eschatologies mark today’s world? Future life and the spiritual battle and martyrdom: to give one’s life and die, for what salvation? For what fullness of life?”

In the course of his intervention, Father Lombardi also evoked a project of the Foundation’s Congress in 2018 – in collaboration with Rome’s LUMSA University –, on Joseph Ratzinger’s thought and the foundations of law.

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