Wednesday Audience: Rupert of Deutz - Study of the Faith and Contemplation


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VATICAN CITY, 9 DEC 2009 (VIS) - In his general audience, held this morning in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Pope turned his attention to another twelfth century monk: Rupert of Deutz, a German city near Cologne and site of a famous monastery.

From an early age Rupert showed an inclination for the monastic life and a complete adherence to the See of Peter. He was appointed abbot of Deutz in 1120 and died in 1129. He "teaches us that when controversy arises in the Church, reliance on the Petrine ministry is a guarantee of faithfulness to healthy doctrine and brings inner serenity and freedom".

Recalling Rupert's many works, which are "still of great interest today", Benedict XVI highlighted how "he intervened forcefully" in the theological discussions of his day, such as "the defence of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist". In this context the Pope warned against "the danger of reducing Eucharistic realism, considering it only as a rite of communion or socialisation, which easily leads us to forget that the risen Christ is really present - with His risen Body - and puts Himself in our hands to incorporate us into His own immortal Body and lead us to a new life. ... This is a mystery to adore and to love ever anew", he said.

The Holy Father also referred to another controversy in which the abbot of Deutz was involved: "the problem of conciliating the goodness and omnipotence of God with the existence of evil". In this, Rupert based himself "on the goodness of God, on the truth that God is supremely good and cannot but want what is good. Thus he identified the origin of evil in man, and in the erroneous use he makes of his own freedom".

Rupert, the Pope went on, "maintained that the Incarnation, the central event of all history, had been foreseen since eternity, independent of man's sin, so that all Creation could praise God the Father and love Him as a single family gathered around Christ".

Rupert "was the first writer to identify the bride in the Song of Songs with Mary Most Holy. Thus his commentary on that book of Scripture may be seen as a kind of Mariological 'summa' presenting the privileges and excellent virtues of Mary". Likewise, "he was careful to insert his own Mariological doctrine into ecclesiological doctrine; in other words, in the Blessed Virgin he saw the most sacred part of the entire Church". Much later this was echoed at Vatican Council II with its solemn proclamation of Mary as Mother of the Church.

Rupert of Deutz, the Pope concluded, "like all representatives of monastic theology, was able to unite the rational study of the mysteries of the faith with prayer and contemplation, considered as the apex of any knowledge of God".