Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"The Faith Cannot Be 'Presupposed,' It Must be Pro-posed"

Faith and Freedom

“The Faith Cannot Be ‘Presupposed,’ it Must Be Pro-posed”[1]

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: “I sent a small work of mine to Hans Urs von Balthasar, who, as always, immediately thanked me with a post card and with his thanks added a pregnant phrase which I have never forgotten: ‘Don’t “presuppose,” but “pro-pose” the faith.’ It was an imperative that struck me. The wide ranging (of theologians) over new fields was good and necessary, but only if it set off from the presuppositions that it drew its origins from the central light of the faith and was supported by this light. The faith does not have permanence in and of itself. One can never simply presuppose it as something already concluded in itself. It must be continually re-lived. And as it is an act, an act that embraces every dimension of our existence, it must always be thought through anew and always borne witness to anew."

[1] Joseph Ratzinger, “What Does the Church Believe?,” The Catholic World Report, March 1993, 26.

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