Rorate Caeli

War is Peace - Freedom is Slavery - Ignorance is Strength

The great Vatican controversy in the last few days of the Synod of Bishops on Holy Scripture is linked to a text written months ago for an introduction to a new edition of the Pope's book "Jesus of Nazareth". The matter is linked, though, to the deepest discussions in the Synod.

Italian daily "Il Resto del Carlino" explains:

A banal "adjective" is agitating the secret Vatican offices. It is an adjective used by the lord of the manor (the Pope) and by his, let us say thus, "minister for Culture", Gianfranco Ravasi. The little word of contention is: "reale" [real].

You might ask: but is it possible that five little words (r-e-a-l-e) are capable of putting the Church in turmoil? Yes, in the sense that ths adjective was used with opposite meanings by Benedict XVI and by the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. And if it is taken into consideration that this "real" is linked to a certain gentleman called Jesus Christ, you will understand well how the controversy may grow in tone.

The reason for the contention is the [new] illustrated edition of the book of Benedict XVI on Jesus of Nazareth, released in the past few days. The Pope wrote: "I have made the effort to present the Jesus of the Gospels and a real Jesus, as the historical Jesus in the true and proper sense." And also: "I consider that this Jesus, the one of the Gospels, is a historically sensible and convincing figure."

Ravasi signed the introduction to this volume, and, in a certain point, mentioned Benedict's words. This way: "It is to be noted that this adjective 'real' is not automatically synonymous with historical, because we know well that so many events are not recorded, or historically documentable and verifiable, yet nevertheless are deeply real."

In short: to the Pope, "real" is synonymous with "historical", for his minister for culture, it is not.

Naturally, all proper justifications will be made, in an effort to deny the obvious contradiction and to please the reigning Pontiff. But this is not surprising coming from Ravasi.

Transcript and tip: Papa Ratzinger Blog.
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