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Political economist and social reformer, b. at Rickering, near Deggendorf, in lower Bavaria, 3 April, 1844; d. at Munich, 3 December, 1899. Ratzinger was a pupil at the gymnasium at Passau during the years 1855-63, studied theology at Munich, 1863-67, and was ordained priest in 1867. In 1868 he received the degree of Doctor of Theology at Munich. During the following years he devoted himself partly to pastoral, partly to journalistic work. In 1869 he was chaplain at Berchtesgaden; 1870-71 he was editor of the journal "Fränkisches Volksblatt" at Würzburg; 1872-74, chaplain at Landshut, then editor, until 1876, of the "Volksfreund", at Munich. During the years 1875-77 he was a member of the Bavarian Diet; 1877-78 he was a member of the imperial Reichstag; during this period he belonged to the Centre Party. With exception of a pastorate of three years at Günzelhafen, 1885-88, he lived for a number of years at Munich, where he devoted himself to journalism and research. From 1893 Ratzinger was once more a member of the Bavarian Diet, where he was now a moderate adherent of the "Bauernbund" (Peasant Union) party, his views of social politics having caused him in the meantime to sever his connections with the Centre Party. In 1898 he was again elected a member of the Reichstag. As a literary man Ratzinger deserves much credit for his scholarly work in political economy and in historical subjects. His chief works, distinguished by erudition, richness of thought, and animated exposition, are: "Geschichte der Armenflege" (prize essay, Freiburg, 1868, 2nd revised ed., 1884); "Die Volkswirtshaft in ihrer sittlichen Grundlagen. Ethischsociale studien über Cultur und Civilisation (Freiburg, 1881; 2nd. completely revised ed., 1895); this works maintains the ethical principles of Christianity as the only sure basis of political economy and opposes the materialistic system of what is called the "classical political economy" of Adam Smith. "Forschungen zur bayerischen Geschichte" (Kempten, 1898); this contains a large number of studies on early Bavarian history and on the history of civilization, based on a series of unconnected treatises, which had first appeared in the "Historich-politische Blätter". Of his smaller works the following should be mentioned: "Das Concil und die deustche Wissenschaft" (anonymously issued at Mainz, 1872) appeared first in the "Katholik", 1872, I; "Die Erhaltung des Bauernstandes" (Freiburg, 1883).
FRÄNKEL in Biographisches Jahrbuch, IV (1900), 246 sq.; Idem in Alleg. deutsche Biographie, LIII (1907), 215-218.