"Artists of Sanctity". Saints and Theology in the Thought of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI


  • Kurt Koch


Summary : I. The saints as representatives of the Church. II. The saints as foremost theologians : 1. Authentic interpreters of the Word of God. 2. Credible witnesses of faith. 3. Existential verification of the truth of faith. III. Mutual enrichment of theology and spirituality.



This article presents Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s thought on the relationship between theology and sanctity. After showing his idea of what saints are and of their place in the Church’s life and thought, it examines the role of saints within each one of the three precedences that, according to Ratzinger, define the essence of Christian theology: the precedence of the Word of God over one’s own thought, the precedence of faith over theology and the precedence of life experience over theological theory. Only in this way will it be possible to prove in a credible manner that the link between theology and sanctity is not some sentimental and pietistic discourse, but one that derives from theology’s very own logic. For in the end, a theological discourse about God is only possible because God has first talked to us and with us.