By Miroslav Volf

In After Our Likeness, Miroslav Volf explores the connection among people and neighborhood in Christian theology. He seeks to counter the traits towards individualism in Protestant ecclesiology and provides neighborhood its due.

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Because the latter exists visibly and is capable of action as a totality only through the one, all of Christ's activity must proceed through the narrow portals of the office of Peter. 166 His authority is "vicarial" power, power that is not his own, but rather of the one whom he visibly represents; it is the living Christ who acts through him. Nevertheless, it is only by way of him that Christ acts even in his whole body. Here, direct papal authority over every individual local church moves into the foreground at the cost of the autonomous and immediate responsibility of every bishop for his local church.

117. In Ratzinger's own opinion, his hemeneutic differs from South American liberation theology only insofar as he prefers to understand the "entire people of God in its synchronic and diachronic extension," rather than merely a specific people, as the point of mediation between then and today (Ratzinger, "Vorwort," 9). 118. Ratzinger, Church, 82. 119. Ratzinger, "Traditionsbegriff," 45. 120. See Ratzinger, "Buchstabe," 257. 121. ; Church, 70ff. 50 122. Ratzinger, "Offenbarung," 519. 123. , 577 (my emphasis).

In this sense, neglect of institutional reality and concentration on spirituality and morality risk passing by the important problems of church lifers 169. Concerning the significance of spirituality in Ratzinger's ecclesiology, see Fahey, "Ratzinger," 82. 170. Ratzinger, "Glaube," 538. 171. Ratzinger also speaks about the rights of individual Christians and about those of die community (see Ratzinger, "Demokratisierung," 38£), and he does mention the necessity of the practical "modes of mutual exchange and of mutual care" (Ratzinger, Das neue Volk, 216); the center of gravity, however, resides in spirituality and service.

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