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EV & Benedict

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  • John von Heyking
    EV-list members might find interesting this letter to the editor in the most recent Claremont Review of Books: The Pope and Eric Voegelin Claremont Review of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 6, 2006
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      EV-list members might find interesting this letter to the editor in the
      most recent Claremont Review of Books:

      The Pope and Eric Voegelin
      Claremont Review of Books (Winter 2005/06), pp. 6-7
      by Rev. Dr. D. Vincent Twomey, SVD
      Pontifical University
      St. Patrick’s College
      Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland

      In my essay on “The Mind of Pope Benedict XVI” (Fall 2005), I noted the
      close affinity between the views of Eric Voegelin and Cardinal
      Ratzinger, and concluded that both thinkers reached similar viewpoints
      from different starting points. This view needs to be corrected in the
      light of a (rather illegible) copy of what seems to be an authentic
      letter (in English translation) by Cardinal Ratzinger, dated July 11,
      1981, which a colleague gave to me after reading the article. It appears
      that Voegelin had sent a signed copy of one of his books to Cardinal
      Ratzinger, who at the time was Archbishop of Munich, together with an
      invitation to attend the philosopher’s birthday party. In his reply, the
      cardinal regrets not being able to accept the invitation, as it would
      have afforded him an opportunity to get to know Voegelin personally.
      Voegelin’s book, according to Ratzinger, was a “philosophical
      meditation” intended to introduce its readers to a refined understanding
      of the imperfect, as opposed to the magic of utopianism. This topic is
      indeed the cantus firmus, so to say, of much of Ratzinger’s theology of
      political life. Even more interesting is the comment by Ratzinger:
      “Since your little book Science, Politics, and Gnosticism came into my
      hands in 1959, your thinking has fascinated and enriched me, even though
      I was unable to follow it up as thoroughly as I would have wished.”
      It is thus clear that Voegelin’s influence on Cardinal Ratzinger was
      greater than I had initially thought.

      Cheers,
      JvH

      --
      ________________________________
      John von Heyking, Ph.D.
      Associate Professor
      Department of Political Science
      University of Lethbridge
      4401 University Drive West
      Lethbridge, Alberta T1K 3M4
      CANADA
      Ph: (403) 329-2573
      Fax: (403) 382-7148
      Homepage: http://people.uleth.ca/~john.vonheyking/
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