“It is not the church of the New Treatment that primarily interests Joseph Ratzinger but always the ‘church of the fathers’ (of course without mothers). As is abundantly clear in his Jesus of Nazareth (2007), his theological concern is not concentrated on the Jesus of history, in light of whom the later dogmas of the church are to be interpreted for our time, but on the Christ of the Hellenistic councils, whom he reads everywhere into the New Testament Writings,” H. Küng, Disputed Truth: Memoirs II (Continuum 2008), 15.
“This is the early church as he [Ratzinger] understands it. He doesn’t see Jesus of Nazareth as his disciples and the first Christian community saw him but as he was defined dogmatically by the Hellenistic councils of the fourth/fifth centuries, which in fact split Christianity more than they united it. The Jesus of history and the undogmatic Jewish Christianity of the beginning hardly interest him. For Ratzinger, the early church is the church of the church fathers, more precisely of the Latin church fathers rather than the Greek, and not of those before the Council of Nicaea in 325…” ibid. 131.
“He [Ratzinger] pays only limited attention to more recent Protestant and Catholic exegetical research into the primitive church. It would be highly inconvenient for his understanding of the church, oriented as it is on the later church fathers. This reminds me of the enigmatic comment by the prominent Protestant exegete Ernst Käsemann, who on leaving the hall after Ratzinger’s Tübingen lecture of 1967 ‘On the Importance of the Fathers for Present-day Theology’ remarked to me: Now I know once again why I can’t be Catholic’,” ibid. 165.
“First of all it is striking that in his Jesus book the author [Ratzinger] postpones historically precarious questions from the virgin birth to the ‘empty tomb’ to a planned second volume, and interprets Jesus’ walking on the lake, the transformation of water into wine and Peter’s abundant catch of fish in symbolic theological terms without saying anything about the historicity of these narratives…Basically, Ratzinger hasn’t written a historical book but a learned spiritual interpretation of scripture…” ibid. 329.