Corkery on Ratzinger: “sympathetic but not uncritical”
In his new book, Joseph Ratzinger’s Theological Ideas: Wise Cautions and Legitimate Hopes, Jim Corkery SJ argues against any simplistic caricaturing of Ratzinger’s thought, which he claims is highly nuanced and has exhibited striking consistency over the years: “Cardinal Ratzinger is Pope Benedict and contrary to what many believe there has been no huge shift in his thinking since becoming Pope.” One US theologian has called the book ‘sympathetic but not uncritical’ as for example in Corkery’s comment: “I have been shocked when reading the scholarly writings of Joseph Ratzinger over the years at the extent to which the names of women are almost entirely absent from the footnotes, especially in view of their contribution to theological reflection in the last three decades or so.”
Jim Corkery is associate professor in the department of theology and history at the Milltown Institute, Dublin, and is regarded as one of the foremost interpreters of Pope Benedict’s thought in the English speaking world. He traces the development of the man once nicknamed the Vatican Rotweiler, from the small Bavarian boy born on Easter Sunday 1927 who was moved from village to village as a child because of his father’s antipathy to the Nazi regime, through his adulthood as priest, professor, pastor, and finally Pope. He explores the tensions experienced by Joseph Ratzinger that were important in shaping his theological ideas as well as tensions that have arisen from the relationship between Church authority and academic freedom.