The following article was written by Fr. Catalino Arevalo S.J., widely recognized as the Dean of Catholic theologians in the Philippines, and can be accessed via a small link at the upper right hand corner of the website of the Archdiocese of Manila. (LINK) Fr. Arevalo refers to himself in the third person throughout the article. Apologies for the late posting: although the "upcoming events" referred to in this article are now finished, it is still worthwhile to see the growing importance being (belatedly) attached in the Philippine Church to the thought of the current Supreme Pontiff.
Much Demand for Pope Benedict XVI’s
Theology & Spirituality
Of late, there has been considerable demand for greater knowledge of Pope Benedict XVI’s theology and spirituality. [Note: JR: Joseph Ratzinger]. Fr. Catalino G. Arevalo, S.J., has been asked to give a number of talks on this topic. After finishing his part in a (recently completed) three-credit course at Don Bosco (DBCS) Center (held in Makati), he spoke on “Redemptoris Mater, 20 Years Later, As Seen by Benedict XVI” for the Mariological Society of the Philippines (PAMPMS), at the Capuchin center in Lipa, Batangas. He presented some of the Pope’s recent “more popular” publications at the Claretian book “big sale of Ignatius Press/ Benedict books” (where the just-imported stock went surprisingly fast).
San Carlos Seminary has asked for two sessions: an introduction to JR’s ecclesiology for the theological students and (March 5) a recollection day for all the major seminarians on Benedict’s “Holy Week spirituality”. The Malolos diocesan clergy ongoing formation program asked for a morning on Benedict’s “New Evangelization” initiative. (The Pope has created an entirely new Holy See dicastery for this under Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who has to develop its theological grounding and then the action-program based on it., mainly for western “formerly Catholic” countries.)
On Ash Wednesday, March 9, Imus Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle and Fr. Arevalo will present Pope Benedict’s “Jesus of Nazareth, Book Two: on Holy Week” at the Loyola School of Theology’s Theological Hour from 10 am to 12 noon. Lastly, TV Maria is running a TV broadcast series on the Holy Father’s “Paschal Mystery theology/spirituality” during the weeks of Lent and asked Fr. Arevalo to handle it.
It seems that universally, Pope Benedict’s thought is increasingly creating interest and even excitement. (Check all the “blogs” on him in the internet!) Fr Edward Oakes, S.J., of St. Mary of the Lake University, Chicago, a von Balthasar specialist, says that Ratzinger, now increasingly widely-studied, is emerging as “arguably the very best (barring none!, he says) of the post-Vatican II theologians in the Catholic Church.” The well-known Princeton academic (head of its Humanities Council for some 20 years now), Anthony Grafton (an American Mediaeval and Renaissance historian, Jewish), wrote recently in the New York Review of Books that Pope Benedict is the most scholarly, the deepest and most cultured mind in the Catholic Church’s papacy since Pope Innocent III. (13th century). Sandro Magister, well-known “Vaticanologist,” believes Pope Benedict’s masterly homilies will endure for ages in the Church, on a par with those of St. Leo the Great (of the 5th century). -- CGA