Imre von Gaál:
Joseph Ratzinger: Faith and Reason
A Tale of two Texts: a Homily and a suppressed Lecture
(FKTh 2023-1, p. 1–11)
Faith and reason are two irreducible poles of the human mind. This essay attempts to relate two significant but as of yet little noticed texts to one another in the hope of thereby shedding light on 1. the Catholic correlation of faith and reason, and 2. the intellectual legacy the priest and professor of fundamental theology at Munich University Gottlieb Söhngen (1892–1971) had bequeathed on his illustrious doctoral student Joseph Ratzinger (1927–2022). Söhngen’s text is a homily he had delivered in the immediate aftermath of World War II in 1946 in front the professors and students of Bonn University at the inauguration of the academic year 1946/7. Many years later, Pope Benedict XVI had been scheduled in 2008 to deliver a lecture on this crucial issue at La Sapienza University, Rome. The dialogue between these two texts reveals 1. Ratzinger’s debt to Söhngen, and 2. remarkable consistency and coherence of Catholic thought on this topic throughout the centuries.