April 24, 2005

"The university was in chaos... It was horrible."

The NYT portrays the new pope's conservatism as an emotive reaction to leftist protesters. Interesting article. A sample:
[W]hile his deep reading and thinking in theology, philosophy, and history were fundamental to development as a theologian, it was the protests of student radicals at Tübingen University - in which he saw an echo of the Nazi totalitarianism he loathed - that seem to have pushed him definitively toward deep conservatism and insistence on unquestioned obedience to the authority of Rome....

"People of his age and background panicked at the thought that a new, radical, dictatorial and totalitarian regime might come out of the '68 uprising," said Gustav Obermair, a liberal physicist who was president of Regensburg University, where Father Ratzinger went after leaving Tübingen in 1969. "Of course, this was a complete misreading of the '68 movement. But that is what they thought."...

Max Seckler, then the dean of the Catholic Theological Faculty and now professor emeritus at Tübingen, put the student protesters in a darker light, and recalled a particular challenge to the new professor.

"The university was in chaos," he said. "It was horrible. The students kept professors from talking. They were verbally abusive, very primitive and aggressive, and this aggression was especially directed against Ratzinger. He had the most students coming to his lectures, but his personality was a magnet for this aggression. He had something fascinating about him, and this made him an object of hatred."


Alcibiades said...

Yeah, they're careful to keep those terms in the mouths of the people they are quoting, all leftist of course, while creating that impression.

As though it weren't possible for a disciplined theological mind to witness the events in 1968 Germany and come to a perfectly reasoned worldview that rejected the Student Revolt on grounds other than emotive one.

The article makes some interesting, nuanced points about the new pope, but, I suspect, most people won't read it until the end to find out.

I really enjoyed this article on him in the NYSun as well.

Knemon said...

This is all Marcuse's fault.
"No free speech for fascists." Bleh.

Jim C. said...

This quote from the NYSun article is very interesting (emphasis added):

"Rabbi Neusner and several other Jewish leaders said Benedict's unflinching conviction in his own faith was hardly a liability, but was precisely what made him such a valuable interlocutor - because he could appreciate Jewish leaders' staunch belief in the truth of their own religion."