Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Addition to "My Writings"

The Redemptive Suffering of Christ in the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger by Anselm (2007)

The theology of Joseph Ratzinger has received wide and well deserved attention; ever more so since his election to the chair of St. Peter in April 2005. The purpose of this paper is to draw out some of Ratzinger's key insights into the meaning of Christ’s suffering as an intrinsic part of the work of redemption; what does it mean that "we are healed" by "his stripes" (Is 53:5)?1 After an introductory note on Ratzinger’s soteriological method, we will turn directly to the mystery of Christ's vicarious atonement. We will consider first the vicariousness of Christ's suffering – that mysterious change of place prophesied by Isaiah: "he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities" (Is 53:5 [my emphases]). Two of the fundamental questions in this connection must be: how is it possible for Christ to take upon himself the sins of others? And, in what relation does he stand to the sin that he bears?

In the second part of this paper we will then consider the reconciliation between God and mankind effected by Christ’s suffering, looking first at Christ's interior pain of sorrow in light of Ratzinger's words on the nature of forgiveness, and then also at the complete pain of Christ's passion as the expression of a love so pleasing to God that it satisfies God's justice, pacifies his wrath, discharges man's debt of punishment, and merits glory for Christ and salvation for mankind.

Please feel free to read the rest of the paper and post your comments on it here. Enjoy!

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