Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger is one of the most powerful officials in the Catholic church. As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he is also a distinguished theologian in his own right. The interviews he has given, now assembled into an approved text (The Ratzinger Report, with Vittorio Messori, translated by Salvator Attanasio and Graham Harrison, Ignatius Press, $9.95, 205 pp.), have provoked heated discussion in Europe and the U.S. Commonweal has asked two leading theologians, one Protestant and one Catholic, as well as a close observer and experienced official of the American church to comment on Cardinal Ratzinger's "report."
But If One Despairs...
BY GEORGE A. LINDBECK
When normal channels of communication and control fail, try the mass media. This is the strategy Cardinal Ratzinger has followed in this book-length interview (which he has reviewed and approved). It is hard to think of any other explanation for why the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, successor to Grand Inquisitors, second only to the pope, has unburdened himself at great and uninhibited length to a popular journalist.