"Because He Was a German!": Cardinal Bea and the Origins of Roman Catholic Engagement in the Ecumenical Movement

"Because He Was a German!": Cardinal Bea and the Origins of Roman Catholic Engagement in the Ecumenical Movement

"Because He Was a German!": Cardinal Bea and the Origins of Roman Catholic Engagement in the Ecumenical Movement

"Because He Was a German!": Cardinal Bea and the Origins of Roman Catholic Engagement in the Ecumenical Movement

Synopsis

An engaging story, 'Because he was a German ' opens a window into the events that have shaped the modern Catholic Church and highlights the context shaping the theological development of Pope Benedict XVI.

Excerpt

In one of his early autobiographical writings from long before he was elected to the See of Peter on April 19, 2005, Benedict XVI penned these words:

The decision which comes from Christ is a “yes” of love, because this
alone, precisely with its risk of suffering and losing the self, brings man
to himself and makes him what he should be.

This sentence reflects long and introspective years of prayer and study as a seminarian and young priest. It comes, therefore, as no surprise that his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love; 1 John 4:8, 16), is dedicated to the theological virtue of love. Furthermore, the Supreme Pontiff chose to promulgate this very important Apostolic document on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, 25 January 2006. That very day is also the closing date of the universal week of prayer for promoting Christian Unity. Speaking at Vespers to an ecumenical gathering assembled at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, he stated: “It is to the theme of love that I wanted to dedicate my first encyclical, which was published today; this happy coincidence with the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity invites us to consider … the entire ecumenical journey in the light of God’s love, of the Love that is God.”

Pope Benedict’s keen interest in the cause of ecumenism has been patent since his days as a Peritus at the Second Vatican Council. Previously as a student priest, the young Father Ratzinger had thoroughly familiarized himself with the details of nascent developments of the ecumenical move-

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