Tuesday, June 27, 2006

World Cup Results Day 12

Today the Round of 16 kicked off, and what a day it was. The game between the Arch-rivals Gustavo Gutierrez and Joseph Ratzinger broke all records! Gutierrez got a good start and was even in the lead early on, but than the official "Cardinal Ratzinger fan club" got news of the game and positivly invaded the game, with the result that Ratzinger - again - beat the father of Liberation Theology, with the staggering numbers 16 - 50!

In the other game, favorite Jürgen Moltmann didn't let his fans down (unless they are already organized in a fan-club, this may be a good time to start one...) , although he, too suffered from the attack of the Ratzinger fans, who seemed to favour Yves Congar.

What this mounts up too, is that the quarter-final between Moltmann and Ratzinger will be a really scary affair? Will anybody be able to stop Ratzinger, with all this backing? We will see, once the round of 16 is finished! The next two games have already begun!

For an overview of the tournament check out the tournament brackets!

Oh, and a warm welcome to Ratzinger fans! I hope you stick around and make the tournament more interesting!

Update: I hate to see this turn into a protestants vs. catholics thing, but sadly this is the language on the Ratzinger-sites at the moment. Any suggestions? Since I am playing the FIFA role here, I can, without further notice disqualify him. I would hate to do that, but if there is a mass movement among the fans of the new pope, this would be the only choice since other wise it will ruin the tournament. Since we're talking 20th century theologians here, Ratzinger should be judged only as a 20th century theologian, not as a 21st century pope.

18 comments:

dan said...

Ouch.

I will say that I am rather heartbroken to see Gutierrez defeated by a group of people who likely know little about theology but a lot about a mob mentality. However, I take heart in the fact that Gutierrez held onto the lead for as long as theologians were doing the voting.

And if this World Cup is just going to turn into Protestant vs. Roman Catholic thing then it's probably better to call it off altogether. After all, if you disqualify Ratzinger then the mob will likely shift to Rahner and so on and so forth.

Perhaps you should only accept votes from people who provide a reason (or a few reasons) why they think one theologian is better than another (and being Roman Catholic or Protestant, or Eastern Orthodox should not be considered an adequate reason).

Shane Clifton said...

Patrick - your comments about the fact that human culture is not progressing (previous post) are proven by the fact that a discussion on voting about a theologian is politicised. I am forced to concede the argument to you!

The solution might well be to have Ratzinger sustain a groin injury and miss the next round. I imagine the situation is not really a Catholic verses Protestant thing - but just love for the Pope. Whatever you decide to do, it cant continue in this manner - as it destroys the point.

Aaron G said...

"mass movement"....I love it!

byron said...

I had thought that calling it off was a little extreme, until I read the discussion-board link.

I was about to make the same suggestion as Dan - a return to comments voting, and the necessity of giving an original reason for your vote. Or to re-suggest my earlier thought (and I think others might have also suggested it) that votes be restricted to those registered on Blogger prior to the start of the Cup, which would be possible to do through comment-voting (and a little background research on any 'iffy' games).

However, I am also strangly attracted to the idea of 'mass' rule as a sign of decline: you get the theologian (or more importantly, the theological discourse) you deserve. But to give in to that urge would simply be quietistic pessimism. And so since I love Moltmann more than that (or rather, love the God of hope more than that!), I can't help but want to search for some signs of hope. Free-market is destructive: bring in some regulation! Use some common grace to resist the spread of chaos.

[A side thought: if you choose to walk this path of greater regulation, would you also consider re-playing the Gutierrez/Ratzinger match, which otherwise was shaping up to be very interesting in its own right?]

Anonymous said...

First, I was the one who notified the Ratzinger Fan Club. For the record, Ratzinger was leading the contest when I voted, and only after I voted did I tell the Ratzinger Fan Club of his match.

Second, Ratzinger rightly won. True, Gutierrez gave a name to(rather than fathered) an already strong movement in Latin American theology. Ratzinger , on the other hand, was indeed a father of the Vatican II document Dei Verbum which opened up ecumenical discussion on revelation and authority that had been closed since the Reformation. No doubt, if we are honest, Ratzinger's influence is far greater than Gutierrez.

Third, this World Cup was originally advertised largely on "Protestant" blogs. One would have to concede that more people have read about the competition on these blogs than on the Cardinal Ratzinger Fanclub. If there is genuine concern that conservative Catholicism will take over, then simply rally the readers of your blogs!!! I assure you, the number of Zingers is finite.

Fourth, Ratzinger and Moltmann, in my opinion, is as close as it gets. Whoever wins will deserve the victory. But I cannot see Ratzinger beating out the likes of De Lubac or Balthasar (who sadly face off too early in the bracket). Even Ratzinger Fan Clubbers know that there is no comparison here. No de Lubac, no Balthasar...no Balthasar, no Ratzinger.

Fifth and finally, to disqualify Ratzinger would tarnish the entire competition. This is an internet competition. The voters are internet users. Thus, the influence and greatness of a theologian here will be gauged and mediated by the internet. If Ratzinger has a strong internet following, then he deserves the votes. This competition isn't a science, so let's not fall into the habit of over-regulation in effort to make it one.

Jonathan said...

:-( I just checked the Ratzinger-site ("I'll be darned if I am going to let anybody beat Papa at anything").. even though I'm a Protestant I had voted for him earlier.. maybe I should convert? Anyway, all the fun of this is draining away, seems like one team is trying to sneak a 12th man onto the field... Alas, a red card may need to be displayed... or the match abandoned, which is a pity. The problem of using comments is that one informed comment will simply be parrotted by others.

Jonathan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Christopher said...

Second, Ratzinger rightly won. True, Gutierrez gave a name to(rather than fathered) an already strong movement in Latin American theology. Ratzinger , on the other hand, was indeed a father of the Vatican II document Dei Verbum which opened up ecumenical discussion on revelation and authority that had been closed since the Reformation. No doubt, if we are honest, Ratzinger's influence is far greater than Gutierrez.

For my part, I would have to say my inspiration for voting is Ratzinger's contributions to the theology of the liturgy (The Spirit of the Liturgy), ecclesiology (Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today) and his Introduction to Christianity.

Fourth, Ratzinger and Moltmann, in my opinion, is as close as it gets. Whoever wins will deserve the victory. But I cannot see Ratzinger beating out the likes of De Lubac or Balthasar (who sadly face off too early in the bracket). Even Ratzinger Fan Clubbers know that there is no comparison here. No de Lubac, no Balthasar...no Balthasar, no Ratzinger.

Agreed. And Ratzinger himself would likely cast his own vote for Balthasar.

While the RatzingerFanClub has been around since 2000 (as a tribute to Cardinal Ratzinger), I'll be the first to admit that his election was an occasion for the start of a mass movement of "fans" and "fan forums" across the globe. It's certainly a new kind of phenomena.

At the same time, having interacted with a number of members on the forum, I'm not about to dismiss them all as " a group of people who likely know little about theology but a lot about a mob mentality." Go ahead and ask them and I think you will find some who had a theological appreciation for the Holy Father well before April 19th, 2005.

Pontificator said...

Patrick, this is after all only a popularity contest. Look at all the support for Moltmann, who can't hold a candle to the substantive theologians who are playing in your game, but who may very well win.

Such is the internet.

If you wanted a serious contest, then you should have hand-picked the judges.

Lisa said...

I am a member of the Ratzinger Fan Club (www.ratzingerfanclub.com), and I would like to make a number of comments.

I will say that I am rather heartbroken to see Gutierrez defeated by a group of people who likely know little about theology but a lot about a mob mentality.

Then it seems, my good sir, that you do not know us very well. Because I assure you that this admirer of Joseph Ratzinger does know her theology -- spending 17 1/2 years (from grade school to graduate school) at a Catholic Pontifical university does tend to do that to someone.

I have nothing but the greatest admiration and respect for the depth and breadth of Joseph Ratzinger's intellect, and his profound understanding of the truths of the Christian faith. I have read six of his books (Spirit of the Liturgy, Milestones, Salt of the Earth, God and the World, Truth and Tolerance, Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures), as well as a considerable number of his speeches, articles and lectures from when he was still a Cardinal.

Most, if not all of the RFC members have also read many of the Ratzinger books, essays, articles, speeches and lectures, and as such, have an extensive appreciation of his teachings; many of the RFC members, in fact, have known and admired him since well before he was elected to the See of Peter. Quite a few of us also have a deep love for history, philosophy, art and music, and thus, appreciate all the more the way Ratzinger’s thought spans the depth and breadth of these timeless spheres of human knowledge and genius.

Neither has this contest anything to do with Protestants being pitted against Catholics, as far as the RFC members are concerned, because Joseph Ratzinger is a man whose intellect and spirituality are admired by Christians from all denominations – and yes, even by non-Christians. It may interest people to know that on the RFC, we have a number of Protestant members who, like their Catholic brethren, deeply admire Joseph Ratzinger for the profundity of his thought and theology, and, most importantly, for his holiness of character, which is at the very heart of his teachings.

I believe that I speak for my fellow RFC members when I say that as far as we are concerned, we will cast our votes out of our respect and admiration for Ratzinger the theologian, as much as for Ratzinger the man of God.

And Ratzinger himself would likely cast his own vote for Balthasar.

Hello, Chris! :) You may well be right! But, what if Romano Guardini were in the game? :)

Patrik said...

Lisa, I think dan referred to some of the comments on the other Ratzinger-board which I linked to in my post.

So far, (I think) most people here have been people with a fair knowledge of most contestants. I think the problem is that if people with no interest in theology per se comes in and vote for their favorite, we will have a very different kind of game.

I think I'll involve comments in the voting of the next round to avoid this. If you can't say something informed about the other contestant you cannot vote. That should probably take care of a big part of the problem.

That said, those of you that think, say, that Moltmann is a greater theologian than Ratzinger might want to inform some of your fellow theologians about the tournament...

Anonymous said...

My suggestion is that comments are only used in in the Ratzinger match

Weekend Fisher said...

Based on the comments at the link, the (previous) nature of this World Cup is gone now, and the only one politicizing is quite literally papists. I expect a one-sided result for Ratinger in the finals.

Weekend Fisher said...

Ratzinger. I hate typos.

Anonymous said...

Hi there!

I'm a cradle Protestant with a theologian father and I'm a member of the Ratzinger Fan Club.

I love the idea of this game, because it forces me to get to know more about some of the names in the game. Thank you!

If the game was geared towards Internet users with degrees in Theology or something similar, this should have been built into the rules of the game from the very beginning, no??
And, let's be honest, I know quite a few theologians lecturing as Professors at University level who cannot be said to have studied in any depth the oeuvre of all the guys in this game - including that of Ratzinger.

This is only a game, isn't it? But one with a real educational
potential. I know of many Ratzinger Fan Club-members who read a lot of theology and here is a great opportunity for those who still know nothing of, for example, the "Theology of Hope" of Moltmann to get at least acquainted with his thinking.

I'm convinced that the outcome of this game will have only positive results on a much wider stage than what can be attained by narrowing the potential field of voters to theology-fundis. No matter what the outcome of the "scores" is!

Well, I always argue like a teacher, not a sportsman.....

Good luck!

Michael Joseph said...

Perhaps including comments in Ratzinger's matches is the best way to satisfy all parties. But I do not think that voters need to make reference to Ratzinger's opponent in order to justify their vote. In all honesty, I seriously doubt that the majority of voters against Ratzinger have a strong familiarity with his theology, just I as I have little familiarity with Jenson and Torrance. I have suspected that many votes agsinst Ratzinger came because of his work in the CDF and because of his office as pope. It would be similiar to my voting against Rowan Williams just because of things I've heard about and seen in his efforts as Archbishop of Canterbury (he should be in this contest, no?).

If someone can justify Ratzinger as the greater and more influential theologian in their commment, then their vote should be valid.

Ratzinger is not one of my favorite theologians, but he deserved his victory over Gutierrez. Over Moltmann? Perhaps. Over Rahner? Perhaps not. Over Tillich? Perhaps not. Over Balthasar? Definitely not.

dan said...

Lisa,

That's really great that you've studied Ratzinger this and Ratzinger that. I too have read a number of his works and have followed his career with some interest (especially as it has related to Latin American liberation theologies).

However, the fact that you may have a feeling for Ratzinger doesn't mean that you (or the other groupies) know all that much about theology, and in this regard I stand by my original statement. It's good to be familiar with one theologian (and Ratzinger is pretty okay but not that great... although he was partly hampered in this regard due to his work as "God's Rottweiler"), but what's even better is being familiar with several. Having a theological appreciation solely for the Holy Father doesn't really cut it. Because even though a large number of the original voters on this blog are Protestant most of them have studied RCs like Rahner, Balthasar, Ratzinger, and Gutierrez, along with Protestant theologians like Barth (not in this competition but you may have heard of him?), Niebuhr (although I just barely consider him a Christian theologian), and Moltmann, and Eastern Orthodox theologians like Zizioulas. Take a look at the links that Patrik provided with this post and tell me if you think that the majority of those posters have even heard of any of these other names.

Anonymous,

To invite such voters into this game is sort of like inviting the U.S. Army to join in a competition where voters choose between John Howard Yoder (by that way, for all the Ratzinger fans who have never heard of Yoder, Yoder was an Anabaptist theologian who opposed violence at every level) and Billy Graham (not a theologian, but a pastor who likes to bless U.S. wars). Sure, it's still a free competition and all that jazz, but something just might be lost.

Michael Joseph said...

Dan,

With all due respect, you have a strong tendency to over-generalize! I don't see Lisa indicating that she hasn't read any other theologians in depth. And how can you decipher who's read what and when from a message board? Your comments are inflammatory and, at best, dubious.

You mention you've followed Ratzinger's career, especially in how it has related to Liberation Theology. Interesting, considering that his pre-CDF theological works contain next to no reference to Liberation movements in Latin America. And we've made clear that his function as Prefect of the CDF is not a chair from which all-things-Ratzinger are promulgated. His two official statements on Liberation Theology came, not from him, but from the CDF. On more than one occasion did Ratzinger express a desire to step down from that position so that he could pen his own theology. The documents and notifications from the CDF are the product of many thinkers and are always cautious and, by extension, conservative. Thus, I have to call into question your knowledge and familiarity with Ratzinger's own theological work, but I certainly won't outright declare that you "likely know little about theology," as you so hastily have with reference to the Ratzinger Fan Club folk. By the way, if you have read a lot of Ratzinger, as your comments imply, then you would know that anyone who reads Ratzinger is pushed to consider a variety of opinions and theologies. In his works in fundamental theology alone, Ratzinger makes constant reference to (and use of!) Christian thinkers of many denominations. In fact, one is encouraged by his work to seek out the works of these figures and engage them on one's own.

I think you may need to back off with your assumption that Ratzinger Fan Club members are collectively dogmatic, narrow-sighted, fundamentalist Catholics. I myself am not a member. I simply do not appreciate such wild and unfounded speculation at the service of addressing condescendingly any Christian group (or fan club, if we must), especially when it is coming from someone who apparently has no feel for or acquantance with that group or its theological demographic.