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Great One-Liners by McCabe and Metz


“Luther was perhaps the Ratzinger of his age.”

“We for the most part shy off being human because if we are really human we will be crucified.”


“The shortest definition of religion: interruption.”

“Discipleship and the apocalyptic idea of imminent expectation absolutely belong together.”


  1. My favorite one-liner by Metz is about eschatology and the reforming nature it has on the present: “The future is no longer what it was.”

    Friday, March 7, 2008 at 8:48 pm | Permalink
  2. Ben wrote:

    I’m trying to think of possible parallels between Luther and Ratzinger…


    …um, help?

    Friday, March 7, 2008 at 9:43 pm | Permalink
  3. Freder1ck wrote:

    Ben, the second parallel is Augustinian. Both were baptized as babes and bore the indelible mark of the priesthood. Also, both names end in -er.

    Friday, March 7, 2008 at 11:16 pm | Permalink
  4. Mike Higton wrote:

    Ben, I’m shocked that you don’t know your Reformation history. Don’t you remember Luther retiring in shame to Wartburg in May 1521, and hiding for a year, after winning the ‘Ugliest theologian’ competition in Worms?

    Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 3:26 am | Permalink
  5. Ben wrote:

    Mike, I totally rememeber the Ugly Theologian competition of 1521, I mean, I’m not a doofus. I know stuff. Luther’s quote upon winning: “They and their dung faced coterie should have their eyes torn out and reaffixed to their own arses that they may gaze upon something more to the liking of their peverse desires, shouldst they think ME ugly! I mean, where do they get off?”

    And Freder1ck, the Augustinianism thing occurred to me after I posted, but there has to be more to it than that, right? (I mean, besides the -ER thing. Super perceptive of you!)

    Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Permalink
  6. What’s the source for the first Metz quote?

    Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 6:33 am | Permalink
  7. Halden wrote:

    It’s from Faith in History and Society.

    Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 10:22 am | Permalink
  8. Freder1ck wrote:


    To really address the question of what McCabe means by his comparison, I’d have to know what McCabe’s experience with Ratzinger was. The quote is from 1985 I think, so chances are McCabe was invoking the common caricature of Ratzinger (see John Allen’s earliest articles and books on Ratzinger – which Allen himself has rejected as superficial journalism). This caricature goes something like this: Ratzinger as a zealous fundamentalist who ruthlessly attacks whomever he deems is in error.

    As a Thomist- Marxist (as with Matthew Fox), McCabe likely found an antipathy in Ratzinger, who saw in liberation theology a resurgence of the ideological catastrophes of the 20th century. Despite this, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have both adopted the concerns of liberation theology as legitimate ones for the Church. See, for example, Ratzinger’s discussion of the preferential option for the poor in his little book, Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism.

    Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 11:18 am | Permalink

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