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The Nature And Mission Of Theology - Approaches To Understanding Its Role In The Light Of Present Controversy

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Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Cardinal Ratzinger wrote this book in response to the dialogue going on today concerning theology and the clarification of its methods, its mission and its limits which he thinks has become urgent. Ratzinger states: "To do theology-as the Magisterium understands theology-it is not sufficient merely to calculate how much religion can reasonably be expected of man and to utilize bits and pieces of the Christian tradition accordingly. Theology is born when the arbitrary judgment of reason encounters a limit, in that we discover something which we have not excogitated ourselves but which has been revealed to us. For this reason, not every religious theory has the right to label itself as Christian or Catholic theology simply because it wishes to do so; whoever would lay claim to this title is obligated to accept as meaningful the prior given which goes along with it."

Table of Contents:


Part One: Presuppositions and Bases of Theological Work

Faith, Philosophy and Theology
   The Unity of Philosophy and Theology in Early Christianity
   From Distinction to Opposition
   Toward a New Relationship
   A Concluding Observation: Gnosis, Philosophy and Theology

On the Essence of the Academy and Its Freedom
   The Center: The Truth as the Basis and Measure of Freedom

Part Two: The Nature and Form of Theology

The Spiritual Basis and Ecclesial Identity of Theology   
   The New Subject as the Precondition and Foundation of All Theology
   Conversion, Faith and Thought
   The Ecclesial Character of Conversion and Its Consequences for Theology
   Faith, Proclamation and Theology
   The Temptation and Greatness of Theology

Pluralism as a Problem for Church and Theology
   The Limit of the Church's Claim and the Plurality of Human Option
   Pluralism within the Church
      a. The universal Church and the particular churches
      b. Theology and theologies

Part Three: Applications

On the "Instruction concerning the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian"
   Prefatory Note
      Toward a Discussion of the Text
         a. Authority only in the case of infallibility?
         b. The Magisterium, the university and the mass media
         c. Prophetic vs. episcopal tradition?

Questions concerning Priestly Formation in Germany
  Prefatory Note
      In Search of Answers
         a. On the future development of the faculties and related institutes
         b. The significance of the seminary



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