Ratzinger Turned Grey Overnight at the Age of 29

Ratzinger Turned Grey Overnight at the Age of 29 The famous Munich theologian Father Michael Schmaus rejected the habilitation work of young Father Joseph Ratzinger in 1956. This was for Ratzinger - …More
Ratzinger Turned Grey Overnight at the Age of 29

The famous Munich theologian Father Michael Schmaus rejected the habilitation work of young Father Joseph Ratzinger in 1956. This was for Ratzinger - according to Peter Seewald’s new biography “Benedict XVI Ein Leben” - "like a stab right into his heart". After this, contemporary witnesses saw Ratzinger disheartened, depressed and tremendously shaken. The 29-year-old "turned grey almost overnight". He was - in his own words - "as if hit by lightning."

Flowery Words and Lots of Feelings

Ratzinger considered Professor Schmaus as "stuck in the pre-war period." Conversely, Ratzinger was for Schmaus a modernist and "almost dangerous." Schmaus explained: "Ratzinger knows how to put things into flowery formulations, but where is the core of the matter?" For Ratzinger's friend and mentor Father Alfred Läpple, Ratzinger stands "for a theology of feelings." And, "He shuns clear definitions.” For Läpple, after having read or heard Ratzinger the question arises, “What did he actually say?" Läpple shares Schmaus's judgement that Ratzinger is too emotional and always coming up with new words and falling from one formulation into the other.

Is Revelation "Simple" and "Objectively True"?

Ratzinger saved his habilitation by submitting only its third part, presenting it as the whole and without adding almost any corrections. The discussion of the work was agitated. Schmaus accused Ratzinger of interpreting the revelation in a subjective way. He asked him the question whether divine revelation was “unchangeable” or “historical and dynamic.” Thereupon, a discussion among the professors flared up and Ratzinger had no opportunity to speak again until the end of the examination. Finally, Ratzinger passed.

Friend of the Enemies

Seewald calls Professor Ratzinger’s change from the university in Catholic Münster to Tübingen university which is a Protestant town, as a – quote - "mysterious decision." Nevertheless, according to Seewald it followed an inner logic. In Münster, Professor Ratzinger found himself in a “difficult” situation. He had helped Father Johann Baptist Metz, a fundamental theologian, to receive a chair in Münster. The two got along well. But then, Metz published his Marxist "Political Theology," which Ratzinger rejected. But he wanted to avoid an open break with the faculty. Therefore, Ratzinger let Father Hans Küng convince him to change to Tübingen. At the time, Ratzinger was theologically closer to the pseudo theologian Küng than to Metz.

Gänswein's Influence on the Biography?

Seewald describes Ingrid Stampa, the housekeeper of Cardinal Ratzinger, as a – quote - "disturbing case." After Ratzinger was elected Pope, Stampa said that she would now - quote: "move into the apostolic palace with my husband". According to Seewald she was called "Pope", but had to move out of the Apostolic Palace after two and a half months.

Ratzinger Persistently Went up the Career Ladder

Seewald points out that Ratzinger's thinking has been unchanged since his habilitation. Seewald draws not only the image of Ratzinger as a shy and spiritualized person who withdraws into the tower of theological books, because Ratzinger has also persistently gone his way. "Ratzinger is a fighter and he is not,” Seewald writes.

A John the Baptist?

Seewald once asked Pope Benedict XVI whether he sees himself as the last of an old era or the first of a new one. Benedict replied, "I would say I am between the ages." And: "I no longer belong to the old world, but the new one hasn't really arrived yet either."
A practiced and skilled equivocator. He could not even give a straight answer to that last either/or question. Great video. Thank you.
Jim Dorchak
Who were the guys in the golf shirts, sweaters and ties?
Never trust a priest who is NOT a priest all of the time.
Holy Cannoli
The 29-year-old "turned grey almost overnight".

Not always a bad thing. Sometimes grey can look pretty good. 🥳
Don Reto Nay
You must have grey hair, if you like them so much 🤭
Holy Cannoli
😎 .