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He had a significant influence on my life and my thinking. 

The American Maria Sermersheim is studying theology in the United States and researched there Ratzinger's reception. In the following interview she explains what fascinates her about Benedict XVI.'s thinking and why she considers Ratzinger's theology as a stable foundation for the future of the Church.

Portrait Maria Sermersheim US-Amerikanerin und studiert Theologie.

As a young woman you did scientific work on Joseph Ratzinger. Why Ratzinger?

I spent my summer doing research on Ratzinger because he has been very formative in my theological development. Reading his Introduction to Christianity convinced me of the worth, beauty, and relevance of theology.

You dealt with the reception history of Joseph Ratzinger's theology in the USA. Why is this topic important to you?

The reception history of Joseph Ratzinger's theology in the USA is important to me because America is my homeland, and it is here that I study and hope to teach theology, and it is here that I am part of the Church. Thus, America's reception of Ratzinger, he who is a significant influence on my life and thought, is important to me.

Papst Benedikt XVI. sitzt an seinem Schreibtisch und schreibt etwas in ein Notizbuch.

What role does the theology of Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. play in the USA?

The theology of Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. undergirds the thought and work of many American theologians, and much of his spirituality can be found among the faithful. He is also, of course, controversial, and he is considered the Church's champion against the dictatorship of relativism.

What fascinates you about the theology of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI., about his way of thinking about God?

Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.'s stunningly clear, intelligent articulations of theology, which are so evidently motivated by a real and profound love of God, are a work of integration that has always inspired me. I am particularly fascinated by his idea of divine generosity, the idea that excess is God's trademark in creation.

What significance does his theological legacy have for the future of the Church?

I think that Benedict XVI.'s theology will continue to resound in the Church. Its reverberations are far from finished because his theology is one of intelligence, love, and relevance. His theology is steadfast and reliable, and I think much of the future of the Church will be built upon the stable foundations he laid.