Reflection on the theology of Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
This essay looks at ways in which the theology of Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, shows affinities with Reformation theological thought. Following a brief look at the background to my own interest in Ratzinger, I present some important features of his theology, shedding light on it particularly through drawing attention to those theological figures in the Christian tradition, Augustine and Bonaventure, who have influenced him the most. A brief treatment is then offered of how these theological forefathers are reflected in his work and, following this, Reformation “flavours” shown to have been present in his writings are traced, briefly, through examining three areas of his thought: ethics, his theology of political life, and ecumenism. The purpose of the article is to indicate, in an incipient way for an audience largely of the Reformed tradition, that Ratzinger is not as distant from their theological concerns as might easily be imagined.