The title of Sungenis’ piece is, “Quo Vadis, Petrus?” which are words attributed to the Resurrected Christ as Peter was leaving Rome during Nero’s reign. It translates to “Where are you going, Peter?” It was the gentle way of Jesus calling Peter back to his place in Rome where Peter knew death was imminent for him. Once again, Peter was afraid of death, and Jesus was giving him another chance to redeem himself from that moment, years earlier, when Peter denied Christ three times. The original version of the story tells us that as St. Peter was fleeing Rome, he was the one who asked, “Where are you going?” to Our Lord who was traveling towards Rome. Be that as it may, in one sense, the title doesn’t really fit the book review of Sungenis.
Sungenis knows that Ratzinger has already left the faith as Benedict’s book demonstrates. Sungenis is not calling Ratzinger back, because he knows that boat left a long time ago. He also knows where Ratzinger has ended up so there’s no need to ask, “where are you going, Ratzinger?” because Sungenis nicely shows us where.
The last line written by Sungenis is a contradiction: “We can only pray that whether its Joseph Ratzinger or Pope Benedict XVI, neither will fall prey to the errors and heresies that are so prevalent today, especially regarding the place of the Jewish people in the plan of God.”
To separate Ratzinger (private theologian) and Benedict XVI (pope), as if one could fall into heresy but not the other, is silly. Popes can be popes and private theologians at the same time. If Ratzinger (the private theologian) falls into heresy, then he, as Benedict XVI, loses the papacy, because Ratzinger (the private theologian) cannot be a heretic at the same time he’s pope and not be a heretic. Ratzinger doesn’t subsist in or as Benedict XVI, RATZINGER IS BENEDICT XVI.
Sillier, still, is the fact that Sungenis explains how Ratzinger/B16 has indeed already fallen prey to today’s errors and heresies which his book on Christ promotes. Sungenis tells us how Ratzinger/B16 professes a Protestant understanding of the atonement, who quotes a majority of Protestant theologians as supporting cast. Sungenis also hones in on how Ratzinger/B16 calls the inerrant Gospels errant. Are these not the prevalent errors and heresies we see today?
Sungenis’ review implies that a pope can knowingly teach errors and heresies as a private theologian and still be pope. Sungenis essentially maintains that is really doesn’t matter what a pope believes, because you must follow him as the pope regardless. This contradicts both the Divine law and Canon law.
When all’s said and done, one is tempted to ask, Quo Vadis, Rubertus?