Quotes from Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI
“What the Church needs today, as always, are not adulators to extol the status quo, but people whose humility and obedience are no less than their passion for truth; people who brave every misunderstanding and attack as they bear witness; people who, in a word, love the Church more than ease and the unruffled course of their personal destiny.”
Josef Ratzinger from “Free Expression and Obedience in the Church” during his work at Vatican II, 1963, later quoted at the beginning of Christianity and the Religions: From Confrontation to Dialogue by Jacques Dupuis, SJ (Orbis, New York 2000).
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“Over the pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, if necessary even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority. Conscience confronts [the individual] with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even of the official church.”
(Pope Benedict XVI [then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger], “Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II“, ed. Vorgrimler, 1968, on Gaudium et spes, part 1, chapter 1.)
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“Criticism of papal declarations will be possible and necessary to the degree that they do not correspond with Scripture and the Creed, that is, with the belief of the Church. Where there is neither unanimity in the Church nor clear testimony of the sources, then no binding decision is possible; if one is formally made, then its preconditions are lacking, and therefore the question of its legitimacy must be raised.”
Joseph Ratzinger, Das neue Volk Gottes. Entwuerfe zur Ekklesiologie, p. 144, Patmos 1969.
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