Understanding the Unity of Europe with Joseph Ratzinger

PD Dr. habil. Michaela C. Hastetter delivered a lecture entitled “The Understanding of the Unity of Europe according to Ratzinger's Ecumenical Model: A View of the Whole” at the International Conference on Pope Benedict XVI's Social Criticism and Vision for Europe "Self-Identity and Life-Giving Source”. The conference was held by the Christian Democratic Institute and the Szent István Institute on June 9, 2023 in Budapest.

In her presentation, Dr. Hastetter reflected on the contribution Joseph Ratzinger’s ecumenical theology makes to the understanding of the unity of Europe, discussed the overlap between his understanding of ecumenism and his vision of Europe, and described the practical conclusions one can draw from Ratzinger’s teaching.

Dr. Hastetter pointed out that Ratzinger's ecumenical model in the Church and his vision of Europe could both be reduced to the paradoxical formula “unity through diversity” while still preserving one's own identity. For Ratzinger, true Europeans are true ecumenists, collaborators for unity, mediators between the many who are always in danger of separating themselves from the others. True Europeans are peacemakers.

Using the words of Joseph Ratzinger, Dr. Hastetter posits: “With an eye toward the Truth, which is also the measure of the Good, Europe can succeed again in bringing together the people’s great traditions of giving and receiving in which everything belongs to everyone and no one is a stranger to the other.”