Saint Augustine responds
Filed in Benedicto XVI
Answer... José Antonio Galindo Rodrigo
José Antonio Galindo Rodrigo (1936) an Augustinian Recollect, has been teaching the subject, Theological Anthropology according to Saint Augustine at the Faculty of Theology in Valencia, Spain. He still offers the course. His articles on the Bishop of Hippo appeared in Avgvstinus and in other publications. He authored Pedagogía de san Agustín (Madrid, Avgvustinus, 2002)…
My friend Helen,
There is no doubt that Benedict XVI finds inspiration in St. Augustine to declare 2012 as the Year of Faith. Among the many Church and papal documents, the Saint is the only author quoted by the Pope in his Apostolic Letter. As you have noticed, the Pope refers, at least four times, to the works of this great Father of the Church.
No other author has such great influence in the teachings of Benedict XVI. We can see this, for example, in the trip to Pavia on April 22, 2007, when, and before the tomb of the Saint the Pope expressed his desire “to manifest my devotion and my personal gratitude to him who played such important part in my life as theologian and pastor, and much more in my person and priesthood.” And then affirms: “This encyclical (Caritas in veritate), especially the first part, owes much to the thought of Saint Augustine, who, as lover inflamed with the love of God, sang of it and meditated on it and preached it in all his writings, and above all, he witnessed to it in his entire pastoral ministry.” This is based on the personal and intellectual closeness of Benedict XVI to Saint Augustine. In fact the Pope, in speaking of his spirituality, said: “I am united in a special way to some famous saints: among them, aside from St. Joseph and Saint Benedict, whose name I bear, is Saint Augustine, whom I happened to have known closely through study and prayer” (Audience of September 3, 2010).
There is no surprise if we consider that Benedict XVI holds Augustine as the most influential thinker the Church ever had through centuries. In the general audience of January 9, 2008 the Pope says: “This man of passion and faith, of the highest intelligence and tireless in his pastoral care, a great Saint and Doctor of the Church is often known, at least by hearsay, even by those who ignore Christianity or who are not familiar with it, because he left a very deep mark on the cultural life of the West and on the whole world. Because of his special importance St Augustine's influence was widespread. It could be said on the one hand that all the roads of Latin Christian literature led to Hippo (today Annaba, on the coast of Algeria), the place where he was Bishop from 395 to his death in 430, and, on the other, that from this city of Roman Africa, many other roads of later Christianity and of Western culture itself branched out.”