New Website Explores the Life and Work of Pope Emeritus Benedict
BenedictusXVI.com is a collaborative effort by the German Tagespost Foundation for Catholic Journalism and the Pope Benedict XVI Institute.
VATICAN CITY — A new website dedicated to the life and work of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI aims to help renew the Church, deepen people’s personal relationship with Christ, and make the beauty of faith and reason shine forth at a time when relativism and subjectivism are shaking the Church.
This is according to the creators of the web portal called BenedictusXVI.com, a collaborative effort by the German Tagespost Foundation for Catholic Journalism and the Pope Benedict XVI Institute.
They also hope it will counter “one-sided accounts, common clichés, and distorted images” of Benedict XVI and attempts to portray him as “emblematic of an outdated way of thinking that needs to be overcome once and for all.”
Instead the site, which was created in German last year and has now been translated into English, aims to “promote a view of Benedict XVI’s life and work that is free of any unfair prejudice.”
In this email interview with the Register, Clemens Neck, a board member of the Tagespost Foundation, explains more about the initiative and notes that at this time of crisis in the Church, and especially in Germany where questions of faith are “put to a majority vote,” it is important “to reflect on the sources that can truly purify, heal and renew.”
Mr. Neck, how important is this website for the faithful today?
Very important! This internet portal is not about nostalgic looking back or a transfiguration of the past. It is about the future. It is about the renewal of the Church, the living of the faith and the deepening of the personal relationship with Christ. The Benedict website has set itself the task of making the rich treasure of the work of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI accessible to future generations. The theology of Benedict XVI is a theology in the service of truth. To make the beauty of faith shine and at the same time let reason shine: That is what makes it so attractive.
The truth of which Benedict XVI speaks is not some abstract or philosophical construct, but a person: Jesus Christ. Those who are looking for orientation and guidance in times of relativism and subjectivism, which are also seriously shaking the Church, will reliably find it in Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. The aim of this international web portal is to make his theology accessible to a broad, non-scientific audience.
How did the idea for this website come about?
The idea came from the board of the Tagespost Foundation for Catholic Journalism. The Tagespost Foundation is behind the national Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, which is the most prominent Catholic voice in the German-speaking world. The newspaper has been associated with Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI for many years. Before his election as pope, Ratzinger himself was a writer for this newspaper. So it was obvious to think about what could be done to make the rich theological heritage of the Pope Emeritus familiar to a broad non-scientific public by means of modern communication, especially since the image of Ratzinger is often distorted by clichés and distorted images.
Thus the idea of an international web portal was born, which is to grow step by step and become an international point of reference for the life and work of Benedict XVI. This internet portal wants to counter one-sidedness and clichés with facts, quality and truth in order to contribute to an unprejudiced view. The fact that this web portal could be realized and now also exists in English is thanks to all those donors and supporters who have made Benedict XVI’s concern their own. The foundations have been laid, a start has been made, and now the portal will grow. An Italian version is in the works, and other language versions are to follow. The numerous and very personal congratulations from all continents that have reached the Pope Emeritus on his 95th birthday via our web portal show that the interest is great.
We have seen claims that Benedict's and Pope St. John Paul II's teachings have been ignored or even overturned during this pontificate. Is this website meant partly as a means to ensure his teaching remains alive and accessible in the face of this?
At a time when all foundations seem to be tottering, there is a need for lighthouses that point towards the eternal. The theology of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI is a lighthouse that provides orientation, clarity and reliable guidance amid the lashing waves of conflicting opinions and in the storm of secularism.
In Germany, we are currently experiencing where it leads when questions of faith and the Christian image of man are put to a majority vote. Parliamentarism has nothing in common with synodality, as Pope Francis demands. Especially in times of crisis, it is important to reflect on the sources that can truly purify, heal and renew. Benedict XVI's theology and preaching are of central importance here. His theology means continuity, not rupture. Starting from the Gospel, through his preoccupation with the theology of the Fathers to his engagement with the great thinkers of modernity, whom, for all their modesty, he met intellectually on an equal footing as hardly anyone else of his time. For Ratzinger it was always clear: there can be no renewal of the Church without conversion and reorientation towards Jesus Christ. He is the way and the standard of all renewal. Where the Church goes other ways, it goes astray — always and no matter what the circumstances. That Ratzinger was always an astute analyst of his time is shown by all those texts in which decades ago he had already precisely described those developments and dramatic upheavals that challenge us today. Benedict’s theology is indeed like a beacon in a stormy sea.
Does Benedict know of the site and has he endorsed it?
Not only does the Papa emerito know about it, Benedict XVI has expressly approved the creation of this internet portal that bears his name. In personal words of thanks, he has addressed well-wishers from all over the world who had written to him about this website on his 95th birthday. Theologians and Ratzinger experts from Germany and abroad are collaborating on the Benedict website. Its contents are being developed in cooperation between the Tagespost Foundation and the Pope Benedict XVI Institute. This website lays the foundation for an international project that will continue to grow. The aim is to create an attractive, digital knowledge portal that will become the internationally authorized point of reference on the “life, thought and work” of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. With each new language version, the circle of authors and readers continues to grow. We are very grateful to all our supporters and donors for making this possible.
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