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Professor Ratzinger speaks to us  of happiness

· Gathered in a single volume the lessons given in the 1970s for the Theological Faculty of the Triveneto ·

I believe that the history of the development of words is like a mirror in which to read the progress of human thought. The word “happiness” has gradually replaced the classic term “salvation”, in the common sentiment and speech, outside the theological context. This has meant the loss of the cosmic meaningfulness contained in the Christian concept of salvation. The term “salvation” meant the salvation of the world, within which the salvation of the individual person is brought about. Today, instead, happiness reduces the content of salvation to a sort of individual well-being, to a “quality” of  the life of man seen as an individual; in this perspective the “world” is no longer considered for itself and globally, but solely in individualistic terms.... We must react. Theology itself must help today's men and women to find possibilities, the most profound and truest, for changing the world.  Such a strategy must be new in the sense that it is capable of extending and surmounting, precisely, the spheres of both Western technological rationality and Eastern revolutionary rationality. Man is no longer content with a supplement, a quantitative addition of happiness: nor with merely a fairer distribution of the goods present. He asks for something total, truly new and more profound.

This is what Prof. Joseph Ratzinger said in 1975 in a lesson he gave at Roana for the Theological Faculty of the Triveneto. The contributions of this collaboration, texts that are little known today, are collected in the book Salvezza cristiana e storia degli uomini, Joseph Ratzinger con Luigi Sartori tra i teologi triveneti (1975-1976) edited by Ermanno Roberto Tura (Padua, Messaggero, 20120), which will be on sale in bookshops on 26 March.

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Sept. 19, 2018

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