Hans Urs von Balthasar - Warum ich noch ein Christ bin - in Christ-Sein heute Zwei Plädoyers

Warum ich noch ein Christ bin Why I Am Still a Christian

Can we still be Christians today? This is the question Balthasar and Ratzinger approach from their different, but complementary points of view in the present volume “Christ-Sein heute. Zwei Plädoyers.” “I am in the Church,” Ratzinger writes, “for the same reason I am a Christian.” Similarly, Balthasar locates the essence of the Church in faithful surrender to Christ’s love — including his love for the least of his brethren. In Balthasar’s view, only such faith, which is concretely shaped and measured by Christ’s real participation in the extremes of human existence, can ground the credibility of both the Church and its individual members today as in the past.

Hans Urs von Balthasar
Why I am Still a Christian

1. Alpha
2. The Challenge
3. What is (Only) Relatively Unique
4. The Absolutely Unique
5. The Eschatological Center of Gravity. Its Form
6. The Eschatological Center of Gravity. Its Content
7. The Destruction of the Eschatological Balance

Joseph Ratzinger
Why I am Still in the Church

1. The Situation of the Church: A Preliminary Reflection
2. The Essence of the Church: An Image
3. Why I am Still in the Church

Authentic personal love is probably rarer than we suppose. True, most people think they at least graze its sphere. Nor is this necessarily wrong; perhaps they do actually enter it at certain moments. Nevertheless, such love is probably no less rare than the great works that stand out in solitary splendor from everything else called “art.” By “authentic love,” I don’t mean the sort of fateful passion we find in Gottfried’s or, later, in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. Those who love like that center everything on this one, absolutized point — and have no problem consigning everything else to destruction for its sake. The love I mean can take a much more unassuming form. Its full achievement likely demand a prior Christian option: the surrender of one’s entire existence to a “Thou” in whose countenance one sees the radiance of an absoluteness capable of including the entire world. Such surrender is a risk. In the end, it can only be an absolute risk based on something equally absolute — like the call of the God who gratuitously elects Israel from among all the other nations (Dt 7:7f), like the summons to discipleship Jesus that addresses to you, and not to your neighbor.

From “What is [Only] Relatively Unique”