Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Eugen Drewermann

German Church Critic, Theologian, Peace Activist and Roman Catholic Priest

"The hands that we put around each other in love and the invisible hand that protects all lovers: In their grasp lies all the meaning that this life can bear."

"In all cultures, it is the task of a religion to close the field of contingency …and to set up havens of the absolute where it is possible to be led from acting to listening, from having to being, from planning to hoping, from judging to forgiving — from the finite into the infinite. A society in which such open spaces of eternity do not exist or are only insufficiently developed dies of itself due to lack of air to breathe."

"Pride is a reaction formation to the feeling of inferiority, of the experience of powerlessness, of not being worthy enough of love. Only anxiety compels a person to lose moderation and to want to be more than he is. Out of fear of being an animal, he has to become an angel. Out of fear of being a nothing, a god. Anxiety never allows him to be simply a man."

"People are given a false alternative: the choice between an unenlightened belief and an enlightened unbelief. Most intellectuals seem to pay homage to the second variant."

"After midlife, one falls back on C G Jung and determines that the first years of life were in themselves symbolic."

"All the things you did until you turned forty confront you again after midlife as a task, but this time inwardly."

"And we forget because we must and not because we will."

"Avarice has ruined more souls than extravagance."

"If you want to change people by talking about God, then there is only one way: instead of teaching God, you must live God. Because: “teaching” God is unthinkable in any other way than the way you would teach love or poetry. You teach love only through love, poetry only through writing poetry, faith in God only through a contagious way of trusting."

"In my eyes, concepts of theology have only as much value as they are able to interpret experience. It seems to me that we have long reached the point where we theologians only talk to ourselves and debate with our own history of concepts."

"It seems to me that we in our time indulge in a strange, structured and organized inner conflict, by one-sidedly furthering the intellect, but fearing emotions. We seriously believe that rationality is the only legitimate access path that is able to open up reality. I regard that as a serious error."

"There are no whole truths; all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil."

"Books are the money of Literature, but only the counters of Science."

"To learn a profession (calling) doesn't mean that you are called. To obtain money doesn't mean that you are rich. To marry doesn't mean that you have learned to love. To build a house doesn't mean that you are at home."

"Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."

"We see in the 20th Century an unfortunate trench warfare, in which psychoanalysis, in a struggle against the internalized compulsion and superstition of a particular doctrine, has expressed itself atheistically. By contrast, theology is not merely under suspicion of talking soullessly about God. Both theology and psychology, in striving for human health, need one another like the right and the left hand."

"You see, my Lord Archbishop, what is "dubious" about my theology is not that it contradicts particular doctrinal teachings, things are much worse or better: what I want, is no more and no less than a fundamental change in the whole way that theology is done today; but I want this out of faith, not out of faithlessness."