He cultivates theology of kneeling
Bishop Zygmunt Zimowski
We have asked Bishop Zygmunt Zimowski, who was an aide to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger for many years, to introduce his personality.
Here is a brief outline of the newly elected Holy Father Benedict XVI.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is a deeply spiritual man of faith. I think that after John Paul II he will become a clear lodestar in the fundamental question of our turbulent times - how to live in accordance with the principles of faith? He will unwaveringly fulfill his bishop's motto: 'Fellow Worker in the Truth'. It is taken from the Third Letter of John, verse 8: 'it is our duty to (...) contribute our share to their work for the truth'. He himself said that 'it means the contribution of all faithful in the service of the Gospel and at the same time a truly Catholic dimension of faith'. The closest collaborators of the Cardinal have learned from him above all what humanity means. He is always self-controlled, he smiles, he notices people although he is a little bit shy in his contacts. I hope that the Holy Spirit will help him open himself to other people. He has always impressed us with his excellent memory and the ability to make syntheses. It was made evident at our Friday meetings, which were called congresses. His passion is books, especially books about theology. Finishing his third quinguennio, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he asked John Paul II to allow him 'to come back to books'. He confessed he wanted to write three more theological works: about Creation, about the Church and a new approach to eschatology. The Holy Father seemed to be pleased with that proposal. However, saying good-bye he said, 'Your Eminence, these books will certainly be useful to theology. Yet, it would be more useful for the Church if you remain Prefect of the Congregation for the next five years'. And he added, 'I trust you will also write the works you have suggested'.
Cardinal Ratzinger cultivates the theology of kneeling. Answering the question what had inclined him to contribute to 'Concilium' after the Second Vatican Council he said briefly, 'Everyone has the right to develop his thinking and to make a more penetrating analysis, the right to theological development'. The main streams of his theology are: Christology, ecclesiology and eschatology. This does not mean that the scope of his interests and researches does not embrace theology as a whole. Fr Waclaw Depo, PhD, Rector of the Major Seminary in Radom, has characterized Cardinal Ratzinger's theology well, 'The theological ministry of Cardinal Ratzinger, despite various ways of confrontation and sometimes opposition, has been evaluated by his contemporaries as evangelical, coherent, intellectually pure, and having a great cognitive and expressive role. In his main stream he refers to the tradition of St Augustine more than to Thomism. He fulfills the main task of theology, which is to systematize and not to make contradictory the data of the Revelation'. Fr Prof. Czeslaw S. Bartnik, using his own specific wording, defined that 'Ratzinger's theology is a living blood circulation, reaching the bottom of the soul, very precise, accurate and gifted with 'some absolute pitch' of orthodoxy. This theology perfectly corresponds with the signs and challenges of the times, with the epoch, culture and spiritual condition of the world in order to dash out into the future and even today bear the responsibility for the future'.
On 19 April 2005 the Holy Spirit appointed such a prepared man - today Benedict XVI - to continue the main ways of John Paul II's pontificate. We should support him in his ministry praying for him so that we can together - in accordance with his motto as Fellow Workers in the Truth - build up the Church and work for the salvation of mankind.
Bishop Zygmunt Zimowski, Bishop of Radom, was an aide to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for many years.