instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Thursday, April 20, 2006

What's with his spirit?

In a comment below, Jeff identifies a key element of "the Ratzinger spirituality":
But true "dialogue"--like true "love"--is something we can't do without. To engage with the other and not allow the conversation to become a contest of wills and an occasion of pride is a tremendously difficult thing to do. It becomes even more fraught with difficulty when we are convinced that we are defending something that is substantially connected with the Faith itself or with fundamental Goodness. But it is part of the Ratzinger spirituality and it is what makes him such a convincing and inspiring preacher and such a charming opponent.
There seems to be a line of thought that true dialogue and true disagreement are mutually incompatible. This leads people to choose the one they value more at the expense of the other and to assume that others will do likewise. Hence, perhaps, some of the fear of Pope Ratzinger, who was rightly believed to truly disagree but wrongly expected not to truly dialogue.

I wonder, though, supposing this really is a part of the Ratzinger spirituality, if it's appropriate to speak in these terms:
A purge coming from within is more important than one from above. Of course the Pope is setting the tone. But, instead of being the grand hatchetman, he has countless willing hatchetmen and -women on the ground. I got my hatchet right here.
If the Pope's spirituality is something to be admired, it can't be duplicitous. He can't be looking for people to do his dirty work for him which he charmingly engages opponents in true dialogue. He wouldn't want dirty work to be done at all.