Yow! Turns out that the 'intellectual fire' I observed in Benedict XVI's face is not superficial. Thanks to One Clear Call (oneclearcall.blogspot.com) for pointing to an academic paper written by Ratzinger in 1996, in which he throws down the gauntlet against relativism, feminism and ecology as substitutes for religion.
Couple of excerpts: We find ourselves, all told, in a unique situation: the theology of
liberation tried to give Christianity, that was tired of dogmas, a
new praxis whereby redemption would finally take place. But that
praxis has left ruin in its aftermath instead of freedom.
Relativism remains and the attempt to conform to it, but what it
offers us is so empty that the relativist theories are looking for
help from the theology of liberation in order to be able to put it
into practice. The New Age says finally: it is better for us to
leave the failed experiment of Christianity and return again to the
gods, because we live better in this way.
Then some dense academese, which I'd probably find easier to follow if I knew the scholars he was refuting ...
and then ... .... hermeneutic access to criticism. This being as it is, the authority
of the Church can no longer impose from without that a Christology
of divine filiation should be arrived at. But it can and must
invite a critical examination of one's method. In short, in the
revelation of God, he, the Living and True One, bursts into our
world and also opens the prison of our theories with whose nets we
want to protect ourselves against God's coming into our lives.BANG!
I'm accustomed to reading academic stuff in the realms of speech and acoustics; what I expect near the end of a paper is inconclusive mumbling about "more research is needed", which of course means "I need more grants." Instead, here's God busting through the page!
The whole paper is found at