Pope John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) both held Hans Urs von Balthasar in high regard. Many assume that their praise of Balthasar implies approval of his theology of Holy Saturday, but in this book Lyra Pitstick shows that conclusion to be far from accurate.
Pitstick studies the theological statements of John Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger, and Hans Urs von Balthasar regarding the creedal statement that Christ “descended into hell,” and she shows that there are radical differences in their conclusions. She then addresses some important questions that arise from her findings: If one or more of them is wrong, who is it? What then should we make of the popes’ praise of Balthasar? If John Paul II and Benedict XVI have lauded someone with whom they disagreed, are there implications for papal infallibility?
This careful, concise exploration of what three of the twentieth century’s most famous Catholic theologians had to say about Christ’s descent into hell provides a clear discussion on a difficult point of theological debate.