The ‘Spiritual Christology’ of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI: An Exposition and Analysis of its Principles

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Peter John McGregor


Most of the recent focus on the Christology of Joseph Ratzinger has been on his Jesus of Nazareth. This article takes a different approach by looking at the principles of his spiritual Christology, as outlined in Behold the Pierced One. It analyses the seven theses of this Christology, defining them as filial, soteriological, personal, ecclesial, dogmatic, volitional and hermeneutical. Of these, three (the personal, ecclesial and hermeneutical) are methodological, while the remaining four make up the content of Ratzinger's spiritual Christology. It finds that the first principle of this Christology is a combination of the personal and ecclesial theses, that we can only know and understand who Jesus truly is if we participate in his prayer, and that we do not participate in this prayer as isolated individuals, but as members of his Body, the Church. It sees the theory of the seven principles being applied in Jesus of Nazareth as theoria. It also finds a lacuna in Ratzinger's spiritual Christology – the absence of the Holy Spirit.

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Author Biography

Peter John McGregor

Manager of Studies
The Catholic Adult Education Centre
Archdiocese of Sydney