What Pope Benedict really said about Eucharistic adoration
Don't impugn the sedes with a broad brush.  That scan is the exact scan on Mario Derksen's "Novus Ordo Watch" site.  And he renders the translation very accurately of the whole chapter.


A literal German-English translation of the last chapter (Chapter IV) of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger's Die sakramentale Begründung christlicher Existenz, the transcript of an excerpt of a four-hour lecture given by Fr. Ratzinger in Salzburg, Austria, in 1965. The German original bears an imprimatur dated March 11, 1966, by M. Achter, Vicar General. The translation was done with great attention to render the words as literally as possible while retaining the intended meaning. Thus, more emphasis has been put on being literal than putting the words into better English. Where more than one meaning is possible or likely, the other meanings or further clarifications have been inserted into the translation in brackets [...]. This translation was done by a man who is a native German speaker. View scanned cover image here, pp. 24-25 here, and pp. 26-27 here.

IV. The Meaning of the Sacraments Today

Perhaps the reflections up to this point have been a bit arduous. This couldn't be any different, since the objective was to clear away the rubbish of prejudices [biases] that divides us men of today from those insights whose incarnate expression are the Christian sacraments. It would not be difficult anymore now to pursue the meaning of the individual sacraments and thereby to flesh out [substantiate] the general [generic] insights to which the previous reflections have led us. Let us dispense with it [i.e. with this pursuit] in order once again to clarify in summary fashion what narrowing of perspective divides the man of today - that is, us - from the sacraments and what the Christian seeks, in truth, when he celebrates his divine service in the form of the reception of the sacraments, that is, in the manner of the Church of Jesus Christ.

I believe that the attitude of today's average mentality that is alien to the sacraments rests on a twofold anthropological error that has sunk deep into the general consciousness due to the preconditions of our time (that is, due to the shape of history that has received us previously). There still operates, for the time being, the idealist misjudgment of human nature, which came to its highest excess with Fichte, as though every man were an autonomous spirit which builds itself up completely by its own decision and is entirely the product of its own resolutions [decisions] - nothing but [the] will and freedom which does not tolerate anything that is not spiritual but forms [fashions] itself completely in itself. Put mildly, Fichte's creative Ego rests on a confusion of man and God, and the equation [identification] of both, which he carries out in actuality, is a quite consistent expression of his start-point and certainly, at the same time, its categorical condemnation, for man is not God: in order to know that, one basically only has to be human oneself. As absurd as this idealism is in the end, it is still deeply rooted in the European consciousness (at least in the German consciousness). When Bultmann says that spirit cannot be nourished by matter and thereby thinks the sacramental principle to be finished, in the end the same naïve idea of man's spiritual autonomy is still at work. It is actually somewhat strange that especially in this period, which thinks it has rediscovered the bodilyness [in-the-flesh-ness] of man, which thinks it knows again that man can only be spirit in the manner of bodilyness, a spiritual metaphysic continues to have an effect, or even just gains its strength altogether, which is based on [which rests on] a negation of these relations. To be fair, we will certainly have to admit that Christian metaphysics had absorbed too strong a dose of Greek idealism long before Fichte and thereby prepared this misunderstanding considerably. It [i.e., Christian metaphysics], too, already considered human souls to be abundantly atomized, forming in history-less freedom; thus it could barely explain the very historically-determined testimonies [statements/messages] of the Christian faith regarding original sin and redemption; the sacraments, which are the expression of the historical interweaving of men, became the soul-nourishment for the individual spirit which stands for itself [probably: subsisting individual spirit], and then of course one can indeed wonder why God does not choose an easier way in order to, as spirit, encounter the spirit of man and give him his grace. If it were only a matter of the individual soul, as individual, being addressed by her God and receiving graces, then it could indeed not be understood what should be the meaning of the involvement of the Church and the material media [means] of the sacraments in this most intimate, completely internal, and spiritual process. If, however, there is no autonomy of the human spirit, if he is not an unconnected spiritual atom, but, as man, only lives bodily, with-others, and historically, then the question must be asked entirely differently. Then his relationship with God, if it is to be a human relationship with God, must be just as man happens to be: bodily, with-others, historical. Or it is not. The error of anti-sacramental idealism consists in wanting to make man into a pure spirit before God. Instead of a man, there has only remained a specter which does not exist, and a religiosity which wanted to build upon such foundations has built on deceptive sand.

In a strange manner, the Idealistic heresy (if this is what we wish to call it) is today connected with the Marxist one, about which Heidegger brilliantly said that materialism does not at all consist in interpreting all being as matter, but that it assesses all matter as the mere material [matter] of human labor. The actual core of the heresy is indeed foremostly here, in the anthropological extension of the ontological basis: in the reduction of man to [the status of] homo faber, who does not interact with things in themselves but only regards them as functions of his labor, whose functionary he himself has become. With this the perspective of symbolism and man's ability to have a view for the eternal is destroyed, he is incarcerated in his world of labor, and his only hope is that future generations will be able to have more convenient conditions of labor than him, if he has sufficiently struggled to have such conditions created. A truly paltry consolation for an existence that has become miserably tight!

With these perspectives we have automatically returned to the starting point of our reflections. What in fact -- in this manner we can now ask again -- does the man do who celebrates the divine service of the Church, the sacraments of Jesus Christ? He does not abandon himself to the naive idea that God, the Omnipresent One, lives only at this place in space which is designated by the tabernacle in the church. This would already contradict the most superficial understanding of the dogmatic statement content [i.e. the content of the dogmatic statement], because the species of the Eucharist is not the presence of God in general [i.e. God as such] but the presence of the man Jesus Christ, which refers to [i.e. points to] the horizontal historically-bound character of the divine encounter of man. He who goes to church and celebrates her sacraments does not do so, either, if he understands everything correctly, because he thinks the spiritual God is in need of material [i.e. physical] media in order to touch the spirit of man. He does so, rather, because he knows that as man he can only encounter God in a human way; but in a human way means: in the form of fellow-man-ship [i.e. human consideration; being a neighbor to others], of incarnation, of historicity. And he does so because he knows that as man he cannot himself direct when God has to show Himself to him, that he is, rather, the recipient, who is dependent upon the given and not-to-be-produced-at-one's-own-authority power, which represents the sign of God's sovereign freedom, who determines the manner of his presence for himself.

No doubt: Our piety is here often a little superficial [has often proceeded a little superficially] and has given occasion for some misunderstanding. In this respect the critical question of modern consciousness will be able to challenge a salutary purification in the self-understanding of the Faith. It may suffice to cite an example, in the end, by which the crisis becomes especially obvious and by which the point [i.e. reason] for the purification, which is necessary, can once more, by summary, come to light. Eucharistic adoration or quiet visiting in church can, reasonably, not simply be thought of as conversation with the God who is thought present in a locally-circumscriptive manner. Statements such as "God dwells here" and conversation with the locally-thought God based on such [thinking] express a mistake [misjudgment] of the christological event as well as the idea of God, which necessarily repels the thinking man who knows about the omnipresence of God. If one were to justify going to church on the grounds that one must visit the God who is present only there, this would indeed be a justification which would make no sense and would rightfully be rejected by modern man. Eucharistic adoration is in truth related to the Lord, who, through his historical life and suffering, has become "bread" for us, that is, who through his Incarnation and abandonment unto death has become the one who is open for us [the for-us-open-one]. Such praying, then, refers to the historical mystery of Jesus Christ, to the history of God with man, which [i.e. the history] approaches us in the sacrament. And it refers to the mystery of the Church: By referring to the history of God with men, it refers to the entire "Body of Christ," to the communion of the believing, in which and through which God comes to us. Thus praying in church and in closeness to the eucharistic sacrament is [i.e. means] a subsumption of our relation [relationship] to God into the mystery of the church as the concrete place where God meets us. And this is, after all, the point of our going to church anyway: the subsumption of myself into the history of God with man, in which exclusively I as man have my true human existence and which exclusively, for this reason, also opens up to me the true extent [i.e. range] of my meeting with God's eternal love. For this love does not merely look for an isolated Spirit which (as we have already said) would only be a specter in relation to the reality of man, but man entirely, in the body of his historicity, and it [i.e. the love] gives him, in the holy signs of the sacraments, [the] security of divine response, in which the open question of being human reaches its goal and finds its fulfillment.



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Re: What Pope Benedict really said about Eucharistic adoration - by Gerard - 09-22-2011, 10:04 PM

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