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Ratzinger on Final Union

“I am convinced that the question of the final union of all Christians remains, indeed, unanswerable. One must not forget that this question also includes the question of the union between Israel and the church. At any rate, to me the notion that one could achieve unity through a “really general (ecumenical) council” is a hybrid idea. That would be tantamount to building another tower of Babel which would necessarily result in even greater confusion. Complete union of all Christians will hardly be possible in our time. However, that unity of the church which already exists indestructibly is a guarantee for us that this greater unity will happen in the future. The more one strives for this unity with all one’s might the more Christian one will be.”

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, “Luther and the Unity of the Churches: An Interview with Jospeh Cardinal Ratzinger“, Communio 11, no. 3 (1984): 226.


  1. Andrew wrote:

    I just read your review of David Bentley Hart’s ‘The Beauty of the Infinite’ and I see from your posts on McCabe that you prefer the idea that there is no distance between the economic and immanent Trinity. Do you know what Hart’s objections to this position are? Why has the tradition for a long time insisted on keeping some kind of distance or analogy in place? Why are you persuaded the tradition is wrong at this point?
    Thanks, I know that’s nothing to do with Ratzinger’s point.
    Also: great site, thank you very much for it.

    Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 9:03 am | Permalink
  2. “The more one strives for this unity with all one’s might the more Christian one will be”. I don’t see unity as possible and some times as not even desirable, but I like that last sentence. Maybe that sentiment is what I’ve been waiting for.

    Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 5:04 pm | Permalink
  3. Freder1ck wrote:

    It’s really a great interview. I have to say that it’s done more to help me understand Luther than anything I’ve read before.

    Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

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