[April 26, 2011. Please note: I have revised this article to remove some language that was uncharitable to James Swan, James White, Steven Hays, Turretinfan and David King. It was unfair of me to paint them with a broad brush-particularly when such is an exercise in fallacious argumentation-which the reader knows I abhor and have commented on several times here. Over at his blog, Mr. Swan was correct for calling me to account for saying what I said about him and about "Calvinist" apologists in general when my focus should have been kept on the remarks of Mr. Bugay. As I said there, and as I will here-I apologize to all of the aforementioned gentlemen for the over-generalization.]
[April 26, 2011: Second update: Mr. Bugay has proffered the following apology to his readers in reference to the quote in question:
To all: I am going to close down this thread. This discussion has gone on long enough here, and I am not interested to discuss it any further.
To our readers: I am genuinely sorry for having used a quotation out of context. There is a lot of fact-checking that needs to be done to maintain the integrity of a blog like this one, the purpose of which is to basically hold accountable to the truth, the various historical accounts that are disseminated in the name of religion.
I found a quote that had particular meaning for me, given the state of my devotional life as a Roman Catholic. That it had personal resonance with me should not have prevented me from doing my actual homework and, as James Swan has reminded me, exegeting that quotation in context. I failed to do that in this case, and to our readers, I am sorry, first of all for lowering the high standards that this blog maintains, and for allowing an opening through which this kind of ruckus was able to ensue.
If you ever see that quotation from me, or any other controversial quotation, Lord willing, it will be in the context of a highly thorough understanding of the text that I am relating.
As I had done with a previous thread where particular text appeared (it appeared once in my posting, and at another place in another comment thread), I'll leave this thread up another 24 hours or so for civil comments, and then I'll take it down.
Unlike Mr. Bugay, I do not intend on taking this post down as the alleged Ratzinger quote has been used by others to attack Pope Benedict XVI's authority and I want this to be available as a resource for those who wish to challenge such attacks. However, given Mr. Bugay's general reply above to my objections here, I would ask that the reader NOT to comment or make any criticism against Mr. Bugay or the folks over at Beggars All. As I related in my earlier post about Mr. Fan's pseudonymity, as Christians we should try to deal with the content of what our opponents write rather than attack the individuals themselves.
After Mr. Bugay took down his thread, I followed the example of my friend Dave Armstrong in a similar incident and re-worked this post to remove two paragraphs I highlighted in blue that were more rhetorical argumentation than factual presentation as well as some adjectives to tone down the overall tenor of the article.
I appreciate your consideration in this matter.
God bless all!]
Unlike Myles Falworth, I am not a knight or even a worthy thane. In truth, I am a humble laborer who has pledged his poor talents in service of Christ and the One, Holy, Apostolic and Catholic Church He founded. Nevertheless, regardless of my lack of title and paucity of ability, I could not allow Mr. Bugay, a fallen-away Catholic who now haunts cyberspace at a Reformed Protestant website known as Beggars All, to get away with defaming Christ's vicar, Pope Benedict XVI, in a manner that is demonstrably erroneous and based on extraordinarily nonexistent research. This article is my response to Mr. Bugay's false restatement of an old disproven claim against Pope Benedict XVI. I will note at this point that the article has been edited to add material that Mr. Bugay, himself, has provided in a subsequent comment as he revealed the “source” for the mis-quote that he proffered on his website. I will also note that Mr. Bugay decided to delete the comment where he first published the false statement against Pope Benedict XVI. I chose not to do likewise as I wanted this post to serve as a future rejoinder to Protestants who may chose in the future to publish the same quote as well as disobedient Catholics called sedevacantists who have used the same quote to malign Pope Benedict XVI.
The comment which Mr. Bugay made was made in the comment section to an article posted by James Swans entitled Sungenis Alone. Mr. Bugay writes in pertinent part:
This quote that apparently is the cause of Mr. Bugay's disillusionment with the Catholic Church is supposedly from a book that Pope Benedict XVI wrote in 1966 called Sakramentale Begründung christlicher Existenz (The sacramental basis for Christian living) 1966, Kyrios Publishing, Freising-Meitingen (Germany). The work, written decades before Pope Benedict XVI ever became pope, has never been fully translated into English. Since Mr. Bugay does not identify the book in his comment nor indicate how and when he would have read it, one must be skeptical as to how an orphan quote from an obscure book could create a sense of betrayal that Mr. Bugay expressed in his comment.
As for the book from which the quote was supposedly lifted, the text consists of a speech the then Father Ratzinger gave at the Salzburg Hochschulwoche in 1965 to seminarians in which he presented for consideration a new approach to the reality of the sacraments and the central significance to a world that has lost touch with the sacramental dimension of Christian living. The notes of the speech were then put into order and published. The book itself was reviewed by a censor who granted it an imprimatur which indicates that the reviewer did not find in it anything contrary to the rule of faith of the Catholic Church.
Preliminarily, Mr. Bugay’s quote is one that has circulated for years, mostly on certain sedevacantist’s (self-styled heretics who label themselves as “sedevacantist Catholics” who do not believe that Vatican II is a valid ecumenical council or that the Church has not had a valid pope since Pope Pius XII) websites. However, Mr. Bugay claims that he first saw it on the website of Mr. Sungenis, the subject of Mr. Swan’s article. Even if that is true, one must wonder why he did not bother to link to it in the first place, or provide the level of detail that Mr. Sungenis provides such as the date of the original book and its English translation or the fact that Mr. Sungenis indicated in his article that the alleged quote was an opinion that was never reiterated in any other of the former Fr. Ratzinger’s works.
Further, several other issues must be considered in examining the text quoted above. Since Mr. Bugay's referenced quote is in English and since the work in question has never been published in English, the quote must be someone's translation. Mr. Bugay does not suggest how he attempted to verify the accuracy of quote. If Mr. Bugay “googled” the quote, he would have seen it quoted exactly as it appears in Mr. Sungenis’ article by a large number of sedevacantists. For example, here and here. It is obvious that Mr. Bugay has never actually read the work in question since there is no English translation of it. Moreover, he fails to corroborate the content of the quote against any other of Pope Benedict XVI’s writings. I would have thought he would have been more wary of advancing this notion particularly without verifying the facts. After all, haven’t other frequenters of the Beggars All coterie made sport of popular Catholic apologists, such as Steve Ray and Dave Armstrong, for using alleged quotes of Fr. Luther and St. Athanasius with far more reliable pedigree than the one used by Mr. Bugay without first obtaining ad fontes verification? Will we soon see articles written by Mr. Swan, James White, Steve Hays, David King, and Turretinfan chiding Mr. Bugay for his lack of scholarship?
Enough rhetoric. Now time for some facts. Here is an alternate dynamic translation of what Pope Benedict XVI wrote all those years ago:
Here is a more literal German-English translation of the last chapter (Chapter IV) of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger's Sakramentale Begründung christlicher Existenz found on yet another sedevacantist website which actually seems to be a bit more accurate as best I am able to tell. I will indicate that unlike Mr. Bugay, I did show the translation and the original pages to someone who is fluent in German (in fact is from the same town as Pope Benedict XVI) and I was advised that it seemed accurate enough. The pages of Fr. Ratzinger's text from which the translation is made can be found here: cover image, and pp. 24-25, and pp. 26-27, in case anyone wishes to take a stab at it themselves:
IV. The Meaning of the Sacraments Today
Me: I would humbly submit that there is nothing heretical or even contumacious to the Catholic understanding of the Real Presence in the Eucharist in either of these latter two translations. Mr. Bugay is free to try to disabuse me of this contention.
Now lest the reader thinks that I am perhaps misrepresenting Pope Benedict XVI's thought pertaining to the Real Presence or Eucharistic Adoration, I offer the following additional quotes culled from his extensive corpus of theological expression on the subject:
Here is a lengthy quote from Pope Benedict XVI's 2007 Post -Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis:
The intrinsic relationship between celebration and adoration
The practice of eucharistic adoration
Forms of eucharistic devotion
Most recently, His Holiness offered the following to be considered on the matter of the Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration:
And finally, in the book, God is Near Us: The Eucharist is the Heart of Life (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003), the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger actually comments on the passage used by Mr. Bugay on page 91 in a footnote. Here is the entire passage in context:
Footnote 11 states:
I hope that the evidence I have offered here leaves no room for misunderstanding as to Pope Benedict XVI's affirmation of the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence and the adoration that one may rightly give to it. I believe that I have worthily discharged my obligations in challenging Bugay's error and accordingly I rest my case. May God always defend the right against those such as Mr. Bugay, and incidently Mr. Sungenis if he is going to use such quotes against the Pope or the Church to advance his personal agenda. (Given the context in which the quote occurred and how Mr. Sungenis has used in subsequent postings, I am not suggesting that Mr. Sungenis contends that Pope Benedict XVI is not the pope, rather, I am only faulting him for using a quote that was not verified for accuracy.)
I hope and pray that all have a blessed Easter holiday. All praise, honor and glory to Our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Update April 25, 2011:
Mr. Bugay removed the comment containing the quote rather than apologize for repeating it. I have preserved the relevant portion of the comment here for posterity’s sake. As one will see below, Mr. Bugay offers as a defense of posting the quote without first checking its accuracy that because Mr. Sungenis holds himself out as a Catholic, he is "on my side" and that excuses his personal lack of scholarship. Perhaps that might work if he had proffered such attribution in the first place or Mr. Sungenis’ additional comments as well which provides some perspective to the matter. But Mr. Bugay did not.
Here is my response to some comments he made when I pointed his mis-quoting Pope Benedict XVI:
You wrote: "Then your "Just in case" blog article is also premature."
I respond: I am not the one who posted something without giving it attribution. The fact that Mr. Sungenis posted something without attribution is reprehensible as well. I will state that Mr. Sungenis also stated that this sort of statement was never "reiterated", something you left out of your positing.
You wrote: "Ratzinger has taught many things over the years, and it should not be in question that in his early years, he was a liberal. This is not in question."
I respond: Well the problem is that you cited to the work as if it were a present authoritative expression claiming that it was a "betrayal" of Church doctrine. Your sophistry is no less an attempt to obfuscate that.
You wrote: "What should alarm you is the ease with which he slipped into a more "conservative" posture."
I respond: Again, more obfuscation. Whether he is a liberal or conservative is of no import to me. The issue is whether he taught anything that is contrary to the teachings of the Church itself-a question you have not yet answered. You claim that Pope Benedict XVI "betrayed" the teachings of the Church. I have challenged your assertion.
You write: "Why are you concerned with alleged inconsistencies in what I write? I am a mere blogger. Ratzinger is your pope now. Do you accept everything unreservedly that he has said?"
I answer: I am not alleging "inconsistency"; I am contending that you posted a comment that was defamatory. Further, you are not posting as a mere blogger. You are posting as a Christian blogger and as an apologist. That suggests that you should be adhering to some sort of standard of truthfulness. Furthermore, you are posting on this website which holds itself out as persuasive resource on behalf of Reformed theology and as an opponent to the "Roman" Catholic Church. So you are anything but "mere".
As for whether I accept what Pope Benedict XVI teaches unreservedly, my assent to Catholic teaching is not a blind or implicit faith but a question of willing obedience. There are mechanisms for examining and questioning one's teachings of an authoritative figure, whether he be a priest or a pontiff. My allegiance to the Church requires me to do so within the parameters of the Rule of Faith. If I was so unreservedly accepting of what the Pope teaches as a part of the ordinary magisterium, I would not have taken the time to investigation and write the article questioning your mis-quoting something he wrote as a young man decades ago. The question is why are you so willing to accept without investigation a quote that he supposedly made in 1966? What does that say about the notion of "private judgment"? And given the fact that you were wrong here about what Pope Benedict XVI has held and taught since before he was elected as pope, why should anyone accept as truthful anything you write unreservedly?
You wrote: "I did not "create" a misapprehension. I may have sought to perpetuate an "apprehension" that many have, including Sungenis, who is on your side."
I respond: Perpetrating a misapprehension here is creating one here since you posted here. Repeating a lie doesn't make the statement any less of a lie, does it?
You wrote: "And I prefaced my comment by saying that such a thing would have offended me back in the days when I was Roman Catholic."
I respond: So what? Reconcile your statement above with Romans 1:32.
You wrote: "That it has not been translated into English [in any official way -- there are more extensive translations] -- does not remove the potentially caustic nature of what he said."
I respond: Do please link us to one a more extensive translation. I would like to see how such differs from what he has taught since 2001.
You wrote: "One might well ask, why do they not translate this work into English, as readily as they have translated some other works? Are they trying to hide something?"
I respond: Why have not Protestants translated everything Fr. Luther or John Calvin wrote into English? What do you folks have to hide?
You wrote: "I'll ask further, why is it so hard to find an index in a Ratzinger book? Is someone trying to cover his paper trail?"
I respond: My goodness! Why not look to your own house first and work on providing attribution for your quotes rather than speculate about why some works of a particular author provides an index for your personal ease? The fact that Fr. Ratzinger took the time to publish the text of a speech he had given is suggestive that he has nothing to hide at all. Why didn't Marin Luther or John Calvin publish everything they wrote with an index in English? For that matter, how come you don't publish an index with everything you post here?
You wrote: "At any rate, I'm preparing a much more thorough treatment of all of this."
I respond: I look forward to seeing the lengths you will go avoid apologizing to your readers for posting something that was not true. God bless!