The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI: The Christocentric Shift

The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI: The Christocentric Shift The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI: The Christocentric Shift
by Father Emery de Gaál, Ph.D. Palgrave Macmillan (November 23, 2010)

Many refer to Pope Benedict XVI as “the Mozart of Theology.” Who are the personalities and thinkers who have informed his theology? What events, and which religious devotions, have shaped his personality? What are the central themes of his complex scholarship encompassing more than 1500 titles? This study attempts to shed light on the unifying melody of the policies and positions of a pontificate charged with spiritual and theological depth. Especially in the 1970s an anthropocentric shift had occurred. Emery de Gaál argues that, amid a general lack of original, secular ideas stirring public opinion, Benedict XVI inaugurates an epochal Christocentric shift; by rekindling the Patristic genius, he provides Christianity with both intellectual legitimacy and the scholarship needed to propel it into the twenty-first century.

About the Author

Fr. Emery de Gaál is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake operated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago and located in Mundelein, Illinois. He studied theology in Munich and Pittsburgh and also published Theology: The Art of Equanimity. He is a Catholic priest of the diocese of Eichstätt, Bavaria, Germany.

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“Pope Benedict XVI’s theological work and his pastoral and spiritual writings are here placed in the perspective of the mystery of Christ. Father Emery de Gaal has beautifully and exhaustively clarified the fundamental interpretative key to the Ratzinger texts and to the life of Pope Benedict XVI.”

-- Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago

“He was already one of the most important theologians of the past century before his election to the papacy as Benedict XVI in this century. But now Joseph Ratzinger must count as perhaps the most important postconciliar theologian, bar none. de Gaál gives us the most comprehensive study of the pope’s theology now available. But even more, he places the pope’s thought in the context of the revolution in Catholic theology that started well before Vatican II and has continued on to this day: the revolution that abandoned neoscholasticism and shifted its focus to Christology. That story is indeed a dramatic one, and here it is dramatically and comprehensively told. This book is a ‘must purchase’ for every theological library – and for all admirers of that perhaps greatest of great theologians, Joseph Ratzinger.”

—Fr Edward T. Oakes, S. J., Chester & Margaret Paluch Professor of Theology, University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary

“Father de Gaál’s work is indispensable for anyone who wishes to understand the Christocentric shift in the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI and in contemporary theological anthropology generally. It is the deepest analysis of the topic currently available.”

— Tracey Rowland, Professor and Dean, John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, Melbourne, Australia