Ratzinger/Benedict XVI on the Marian Dogmas

This is interesting, and not exactly what I expected from Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI.

Wolfgang Bergmann reports in Der Standard (Vienna) on Ratzinger’s writings on the Virgin Birth. In 1977, as archbishop of Munich, he published the book Die Tochter Zion (“Daughter Zion”), which contains five lectures he had given five years earlier in Puchberg, Austria. Here, he retracts what he had written in his famous Introduction to Christianity in 1968. Tochter Zion has this passage:

[T]he Virgin Birth is the necessary origin of him who is the Son, and who therein it also gives to the messianic hope a lasting meaning pointing beyond Israel.

A footnote explains:

With this I wish to place clear limits around my often-quoted statement in Introduction to Christianity (Munich, 1968, p. 225), according to which Jesus’s divine sonship would not intrinsically exclude his coming from a normal marriage.

Bergmann comments:

 A perfectionistic university professor has the heart for a retraction only in fine print. And he does not take back the statement, but rather places limits around it.

Here is what Ratzinger had written in 1968:

 According to the Church’s faith, the divine sonship does not rest upon Jesus having had no human father; the teaching on Jesus’ divinity would not be affected if Jesus had come forth from an entirely normal marriage. For the divine sonship of which faith speaks is not a biological datum, but an ontological datum.

In the Puchberg lecture, Ratzinger maintains the Virgin Birth as a real fact of history. He says that to deny this fact would be to take a dead-end.

But there is more.

In Tochter Zion, Archbishop Ratzinger defends the Virgin Birth. But at the same time, he offers a relativizing interpretation of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. Page 73 says that this dogma does not concern a historical datum, but rather “an act of veneration.”

Bergmann comments:

[W]hile Ratzinger cements in one dogma, he relativizes another one so much that he thereby sets an important precedent for future popes… With this, Benedict has the potential to be a trailblazer for a modern theology that he never cared for during his time as prefect of the doctrinal congregation in the previous pontificate – didn’t he?

All translations from German by AWR from the Austrian news report.

28 comments

  1. He also wrote things that got people’s hopes up that once pope, he would do a number of traditionalist things. That didn’t happen.

    It is one thing to write things as a private university professor theologian. Its quite another thing to put what he said 30+ years ago into any effect as Pope.

  2. But at the same time, he offers a relativizing interpretation of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. Page 73 says that this dogma does not concern a historical datum, but rather “an act of veneration.”

    He’s commenting on its genetic nature, not it’s veracity. A “theological affirmation” is no less true than an “historical affirmation.”

    The “footnote” which can be read here is quite truncated:

    “With this statement I would like to emphasize clearly the limits of my frequently cited observation in Einführung in das Christentum [Introduction to Christianity] (Munich, 1968), 225, that Jesus’ divine sonship would not of itself exclude an origin in a normal marriage. I wanted only to emphasize very clearly the distinction of biological and ontological levels of thought and to clarify that the ontological statements of Nicaea and Chalcedon are not as such identical with the statements about the virgin birth. This should not be used to deny that, despite the distinction of levels, a deep, even an indissoluble correspondence exists between the two levels, between Jesus’ unity of person with the eternal Son of the eternal Father and the earthly fatherlessness of the man Jesus. Yet I admit that I did not make the point clearly enough; to that degree von Balthasar’s critique, ibid., 43, is justified. But to everyone who reads not only the cited passage of my book (225 [274-5 in 2nd edition, Ignatius Press]) but also the whole section (222-230 [271-280]) it must otherwise be crystal clear that the use of my remarks in R. Pesch, Das Markusevangelium I (Freiburg, 1976), 323, contradicts my meaning.”

  3. This is what theologians using the historical critical method were saying 30+ years ago and I was taught that in the seminary too, not so much as “dogma” but as thinking outside the box. Even before I went into the seminary, as a lay person, I attended a theology conference put on by our diocese. One of the presenters took pains to explain that the Incarnation could have taken place with actual male sperm. Of course this is about 36 years ago and I can’t remember the entire context if he meant that the Holy Spirit made God’s sperm appear at the moment of conception or that St. Joseph could have had his sanctified at the moment of conception. Of course all of this was to give a rational, biological explanation to a new generation of Catholics who only accepts rational/biological explanations for something that ultimately is Mystery! It seems also when “In Tochter Zion, Archbishop Ratzinger defends the Virgin Birth. But at the same time, he offers a relativizing interpretation of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. Page 73 says that this dogma does not concern a historical datum, but rather “an act of veneration”” that he is using a philosophical explanation for mystery. Why are we so uncomfortable with mystery? Maybe because it can’t be proven and relies on the gift of faith.
    But this really is like a time warp of old news and I agree it must be a slow news day in Austria and here?

    1. Isn’t it a mistake to suggest sperm was involved? That would make Jesus half human, half divine. The nature of the Virgin Birth is that the virgin is the human source while the Holy Spirit is the Divine source for someone who is fully human and fully divine. This makes more sense in ancient anthropology, but it is still viable now.

      Miracles demand outside the box thinking, or they would not be miracles. It is wrong to domesticate them and deprive them of their challenge.

    2. Fr. Alan, I sure wish you would stop dismissing things by saying you knew about them already 30 or 35 years ago. This is like the logical fallacy of “ad hominem,” except it’s “ad tempus” !

      In my judgment, it’s highly interesting if a pope once said – as a bishop and thus a member of the hierarchy participating in the magisterium – that the Assumption is a theological rather than a historical reality, and that he has not yet revoked this statement.

      I’d also push back a bit on your understanding of “mystery.” I’m not sure we can ignore reason (as in fides ET RATIO) or science, or claim things counter to reason and science, and use “mystery” to cover the claim. The Church does not, for example, deny the multiple layers of authorship in the Pentetuch or the Gospels by claiming that the final author magically heard the words dictated by God, even though this dicated text magically looks like it’s a multi-layered product of history, it’s not; it’s just a “mystery.”

      We can’t appeal to “mystery” that easily to dismiss the hard questions.

      awr

      1. In my judgment, it’s highly interesting if a pope once said – as a bishop and thus a member of the hierarchy participating in the magisterium – that the Assumption is a theological rather than a historical reality, and that he has not yet revoked this statement.

        Having looked at the book, it appears that he’s discussing how we come to know about the Assumption, not that it’s not an historical event in the sense of whether it happened or not, but that we don’t know it as an historical event. It’s interesting as many things are interesting, but it’s not surprising, and why would we expect him to revoke it?

        Similarly, as I understand it, the Immaculate Conception is known theologically (as a consequence of revelation) and not as an historical event… Mary can’t be examined for her preservation from original sin.

      2. Its old news because people have trotted out things that Ratzinger said before he was pope (in all varieties) as if that somehow lends more credence to them now that he is pope.

        Also, bishops have said all sorts of heretical things. Being a bishop doesn’t make anything heretical any less heretical. Not that then Archbishop Ratzinger said anything actually heretical, but in general. A bishop is part of the Magisterium when solemnly called together or when they teach the same thing the world over (and time over). Sayng something as a theologian while at the same time a bishops doesn’t make it at all “magisterial’.

        Lastly, I’d like to read the whole of what Ratzinger actually wrote about the Assumption. If it is not too much to ask that God became Incarnate and gloriously rose from the dead, I do not see what is the problem with believing the definition as laid down by Pius XII. What good does it do to try to relativize something like that based on what, modern man doesn’t buy it? Why even reduce the Assumption down to an “act of veneration” seemingly based on nothing much more than a modernist distain for the supernatural?

        Lastly, the same applies to biblical research. The Church doesn’t deny the theory of multiple layers of authorship in the Pentetuch or Gospels based on a “we said so” but rather tolerates those opinions. It does not teach that there really are multiple authors.

      3. Fr. Anthony, the time frame of when these things were written is very important because in the Catholic Church, the use of the historical critical method was still in its infancy for the most part the late 60’s and early 70’s and the questions that theologians were raising had to do with how this method would impact doctrines and dogmas and their explanation to the faithful. What I described is one attempt to do that in the early 1970’s. I suspect Cardinal Ratzinger was attempting to do the same thing.
        Also, we have to keep in mind that for many people the historical critical method of studying Scripture divorced from Tradition puts the emphasis on Bible alone (Martin Luther’s position) but this time on a particular way of studying the Bible that calls into question beliefs or at least the description of these beliefs in another way that is not traditional.
        Just to clarify my position on Mystery, I embrace wholeheartedly that faith and reason walk hand in hand and most of the findings of the historical/critical method of understanding how the Scriptures came to be including inspiration.
        In terms of the Assumption, the Eastern Rite in Union with Rome maintains, as do the Eastern Orthodox, that the Assumption is the “Dormition” of Mary. Assumption and Dormition have different ramifications but evidently is allowed for the Eastern Rite without denying the defined dogma. As we appropriate this dogma which has to be viewed within the context of other dogmas or doctrines, perhaps Cardinal Ratzinger was accommodating ecumenical interests as well as rational interests, but clearly he was setting this within the context of debate and critique by fellow theologians and bishops.

      4. I might add that the historical critical method should also be applied to the period of time in which so much of its use was taking place and what was going on in the Church and society of that day (60’s and 70’s). The knowledge of history is our friend, not an enemy and keeps us from repeating bad history in the present day. This would hardly be a dismissive attitude, but a corrective.

  4. Really – “…..the same applies to biblical research. The Church doesn’t deny the theory of multiple layers of authorship in the Pentetuch or Gospels based on a “we said so” but rather tolerates those opinions. It does not teach that there really are multiple authors.”

    You need to go back to school – your comments (whatever your intention) reveal a lack of understanding of basic theology, biblical studies, etc. “…tolerate those opinions. It does not teach, etc.”

    Just pick up any basic, first year scripture textbook; any commentary (start with Raymond Brown); any exegesis done by a biblical expert; etc. Your fundamentalism is amazing (as in literalism).

    1. A good text to start with is The Theology of the Body by JP2. If it can be used for its conclusions, it can be used for its method. I gave up on The Wanderer when it had a front page article asserting the Church’s condemnation of the multiple source theory right next to JP2 using it freely in his Wednesday audiences.

  5. Oh my, must have touched a nerve.

    Note I said “the Church”, not Ray Brown, does not teach and it doesn’t. I’ve read him and others of the type and what they say is, what it is. What I’ve said does not reveal a “lack of understanding of basic theology, biblical studies…” etc. It reveals I do not agree with you and those you think know theology and biblical studies-big difference.

    If you care to make a real point instead of insinuate that I’m stupid, be my guest.

  6. This brings back memories. The 1968 quote appeared as part of one of the comp questions when I was preparing for a Masters’ degree. My prof added one word: “Discuss.”

  7. Todd – had the same experience a few years later, 1977, along with other quotes of Ratzinger, Rahner, deLubac.

    To get back to Fr. Ruff’s question about historical fact/theological or scriptural explanation of our understanding:

    Will insert again from an earlier blog post that is relevant to a couple of comments (“said “the Church”, not Ray Brown, does not teach and it doesn’t) – “the Church” – guess this is some type of disembodied thing?

    Quoting from Yves Congar’s Journal in the Council – translated by Paul Philibert,OP at Collegeville and his introduction entitled – Intransigent Conservatism:

    http://www.litpress.org/excerpts/9780814680292.pdf

    Pages xlix, l, li

    Money quotes:
    – “Congar had published theological writings for more than thirty years before Vatican II. In them, these principles became the foundation for his ground-breaking work in ecumenism, biblical theology, theology of the laity, and ecclesiology” (well, there goes the argument that historical criticism method wasn’t used until the 1970s)
    – “….he is talking about a ‘mentality,’ by which he means a worldview or perspective that governs or controls the way someone sees things. He explains that intégristes are emotionally attached to the idea of a Christendom invested with a glorious past of kings and bishops working hand-in-hand with the pope—all of them enjoying the authority to impose their views. This is, says Congar, a fatal nostalgia…..”
    – “To understand intégrisme, then, we have to understand it as a mentality that identifies itself completely with what is old-fashioned and that appeals to hierarchical authority as the justification for its point of view. It is an instinct to choose what was done before over what is struggling for new expression. It has little respect for anything that comes from below, but is deeply attached to what comes down from on high.” (why now? new expression? or hierarchical justification?)

    He then goes on to give 8 characteristics.

    Allan – you had supplied a Dulles article in America about global papacy. In McBrien’s book, The Church, pages 308-12, he quotes a reply from fellow Jesuit, Ladislas Orsy. Orsy calls Dulles’ article neither scholastic disputation nor theological investigation in Rahnerian style but rather – “It is advocacy. It is driven by the art and craft of rhetoric. It uses/omits information to support a *thesis* which is Dulles’ point that the development of the exercise of the papal office has reached a point where no significant changes are needed. ” (not unlike your blog)

    1. Bill,
      I really like your comments when you critique someone’s position or provide your own. But I really don’t understand why you go out of your way to go after Fr. Allan or others for their supposed ‘integrisme’. If you disagree with their expressed views (which you typically do), I for one would appreciate it if you presented your counter-arguments in a more reasonable manner. Labeling them ‘integrists’ seems like a tactic to dismiss them without giving thought to their comments. Rather than successfully identifying their mentalities, I find that it gives me the likely wrong impression of your own lack of willingness to engage opinions other than your own – except to dismiss them. Something akin to calling someone a heretic (though of course less obviously institutionally binding than that) or a ‘liberal’ on other blogs.

      1. Good point but as you can see – repeatedly try to clarify and respond to Allan’s over generalizations and incorrect summation of history, development, ecclesiology, and even basic theology.

        Sorry – I posted that piece again so that I would not be accused of making ad hominem attacks on Allan or Dominic. To be honest, find myself amazed, if not astounded, at certain comments that reject what I consider to be clearly defined, accepted, vetted, and proclaimed positions of the church e.g. biblical studies and multiple authorships within a unifying understanding of “inspiration”; historico-critical methodology (see Paul Inwood’s explanation below); etc. As you can see, find their approach (meme) to be frustrating and, as Fr. Ruff’s earlier summary said, I also find myself being the only one to respond usually which appears to “bore” folks. To do an adequate response can take not only time but an over long comment box which I feel defeats the purpose and turns some folks off. It also repeats information that most commenters here know better than me.

        You are correct – given my approach in this specific comment; I did not attempt to go statement by statement and make a refutation of it by citing other documents, experts, etc.

        To your second comment – again, see Paul Inwood’s statement. It reflects and puts into context the time period, theological methods and development from when Ratzinger would have made this theological statement. You bring up the two distinct meanings of history via German use/understanding.

        Again, from my history background, are you referencing Popper/von Ranke’s historism in which they distinguish between the ‘laws’ of history and the premises of the individuality of each historical situation.

        Not sure that explains the question raised by Fr. Ruff – it may explain why Ratzinger after 30 years is quietly publishing a clarification but, at the same time, he is not applying this two part history definition to both “mysteries”. And those history understandings were around when Ratzinger laid out this position.

        Sorry, this is where I find your theory to come up short (although it may explain the late clarification – but, why now? is it really necessary?)

      2. Thanks for your response Bill. I just don’t find your tactic substantively different than dismissing historical-critical method because you studied it in the ’70s. Though I too am astounded that people don’t give it much credence.
        As for my second comment, which wasn’t directed at answering Fr. Anthony’s questions (did he ask any?), it does not refer to Ranke or Popper. It refers rather to a distinction made in the second quest for the historical Jesus which began, as I understand, around the 1950s and lasted into the 60s and 70s. I am not unaware that the use of historical critical scholarship extends back into the 19th century, but that which emerged in the mid-20th was distinct, especially for placing limits claims on what historical scholarship was capable of proving.
        The distinction between geschichtlich and historisch, then, is a vocabulary distinction used during that time period to distinguish between something that occurs in time and is significant but not able to be ‘proven’ by historical-critical scholarship (geschichtlich) and something that is able to be proven or re-constructed using historical-critical methods (historisch). This distinction enables an historian to recognize significant events, even if those events are beyond the reach of hist-crit scholarship (for want of accurate data or sources).
        It strikes me a terribly relevant that the author of the article, while paraphrasing Ratzinger, might be using the terms in that exact manner (see my comments below).
        Also, this isn’t a recent clarification. It’s a recent account of things Ratzinger said in 1968 and 1977.
        As for R’s 9 year wait before ‘clarifying’ his comment on the virgin birth, I would guess that it has a lot to do with some essays published around that time (late 70s) by Hans Urs von Balthasar explicitly or implicitly disagreeing with Ratzinger’s ’68 statement.

  8. I’d actually agree in part with Fr. Allan. The time frame and the influence of German historical-critical scholarship may have much to do with the claim that the Assumption isn’t a historical event. If I’m not mistaken, the author of the article uses a form of historisch rather than geschichtlich from which we get ‘historical’. As I understand (perhaps wrongly) in the days of the (2nd?) quest for the historical Jesus, German scholars often made a distinction between historical (able to be ascertained according to scientific historical research and methods) and historic (things that really happened in time, and have an effect on subsequent generations). Now, perhaps I’m completely wrong here, but that kind of distinction may be behind Ratzinger’s position. In which case, I’m not sure he is taking different opinions on the two dogmas (i.e. the virgin birth is historical and the Assumption is not) so much as we are taking it in light of several comments from a variety of contexts.

    1. I should add that generally historisch=historical and geschichtlich=historic. The article does use the noun ‘Geschichte’ when speaking of the virgin birth (i.e. it is an event of history [but may not be subject to historical analysis]) and ‘historisches’ when speaking of the Assumption (it is not an event subject to historical analysis [but may be an event of history]).

  9. Allan,

    From the moment you started on the historico-critical method coming into use in the 60s-70s, I found myself wondering why you didn’t know that this methodology has its roots in earlier centuries and reached its zenith in the first half of the 20th century. It wasn’t just something that happened like a flash in the pan when you were at seminary, but simply that your experience of it seemed like that.

    I’m not sure that it’s terribly productive to be continually repudiating, as you seem to do, what you received in your seminary formation as if it were a trendy, hippie-like, transitory phenomenon. I apologize if I am misinterpreting you, but this is how it comes across. You have clearly moved on from your seminary days, but I wonder whether it might not also be time to take a dispassionate look at some of the stuff you have evidently taken on board since those days and see whether that, too, is wanting.

    1. Paul,
      Since my blog has such importance to one or two here, let me quote a comment I wrote to another person commenting on my blog just yesterday about the historical critical method:

      “One of the reasons that the Church was opposed to the historical critical method that liberal Protestantism developed at the end of the 1800’s and well into the early 1900’s was that it called into question so much dogma concerning Jesus as these scholars tried to get back to the “historical” Jesus stripped of later theologizing and dogmatizing. Part of this is why the Church condemned “Modernism” as Modernism and its biblical exegesis eroded the traditional faith. But not all of Protestantism was seduced by this method and the deconstruction of the historic Christianity, for it spawned the fundamentalist movement of the 1900’s in direct opposition to it.
      In 1943 Pope Pius XII approved the limited use of the historical critical method (Divino Afflante Spiritu) when it was shown to him that absurd conclusions about Christ and the Church did not have to be drawn when using this method. But by the late 1960’s and the 70’s absurd conclusions were being drawn by many Catholic Biblical scholars as they collaborated in an ecumenical way with Protestant scholars who had long used this method and who were thoroughly indoctrinated in the hermeneutic of sola scriptura. But this is not the case today and Pope Benedict’s endorsement of this method within certain parameters has brought back some sanity to using this method.”

      It seems that selective repudiation here is okay if it is about the reform of the reform or pre-Vatican II sentiments, the 1962 missal or the like. It is precisely within the hermeneutic of the reform of the reform but within continuity with the Church prior to Vatican II that the most foment for renewal is occurring today in the Church and this is good. Part of the destructive deconstruction of the post-Vatican II Church and her dogmas and doctrines, not to mention liturgy, hinges on the irresponsible such of the historical critical method in the 1960’s and 70’s. Understanding this and from that period helps those who were not there and did not experience it to understand Pope Benedict’s course change for the Church, slow but sure, and his own experience with this method which was/is good and bad in that 1960’s and 70’s period as was mine and many others of that period. But for the most part, I love the 1970’s and my experience in the seminary–it was eye opening.

      1. Allan,

        Just for the record, I have never visited your blog and have no interest in doing so. I was commenting on remarks that you have made here at Pray Tell over the past few months.

      2. Thanks, Paul, and it probably is just as well that you don’t read my blog as it does seem to incite high blood pressure issues for some. But I would hope that you would allow for my opinions as I do for yours.

  10. Side note: Stephen Shoemaker’s recent Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption (Oxford, 2002) (LC record) examines not only previous historical-critical research on the late Roman/early Byzantine Palestinian genesis of this Marian tradition but also the apocryphal texts which underly its development. Shoemaker also examines recensions of the Transitus Mariae in detail. His book might be a good reference for all those interested in the geschichtlich versus historisch questions (as Brendan McInerny notes) which surround both the current Dormition and Assumption feasts.

    Shoemaker, in keeping with other scholars, has recognized in his introduction that Munificentissimus Deus (the 1950 constitution which infallibly defined the dogma of the Assumption) insufficiently teaches whether or not the Virgin Mary died before bodily assumption into heaven. (c.f. AAS 42 [1950] 753 para. 3, “Verumtamen ex generali […] exspectare debuit“) (my ellipsis) One might read a mortal death of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Pope Pius’s definition, but her death is by no means explicit there.

    I would propose that then Joseph Ratzinger’s opinion in Tocher Zion (73) that the Assumption is not a historical event but rather an “act of veneration” not only guards Pope Pius’s ambiguous definition but also leaves the door open for an interpretation of the Dormition-Assumption from two perspectives. Ratzinger’s judgment preserves both the Catholic Immaculate Conception perspective and the Orthodox perspective that Mary must have died before her assumption as a consequence of her not-immaculate conception. If Pope Benedict were to now consider the Assumption to be a “historical datum”, then there would be much less room for dogmatic flexibility both within Catholicism and between the apostolic churches.

    1. Jordan – thanks; not an area I spent study time e.g. Shoemaker. Realize there is a difference of opinion about motivating factors such as SP and SSPX reunification but wonder if this restatement is connected to supporting Eastern-Western statement on agreement?

      That being said and picking up on both you and Brendan’s thoughts, here is a link to another way to approach this question on Ratzinger’s restatement – David Tacey:

      http://www.pcnvictoria.org.au/ (click on pdf)

      Does a good job of explaining the difference between historical fact/event and the meaning/interpretation that a specific community or time period uses to understand. Reinforces that the specific dogma/belief is a “mystery” in the sense that Fr. Ruff explained above and is consistent with how the church approaches scripture/tradition via analogy and metaphor. In fact, would suggest that the “faith” is best expressed through the “truth” expressed as narrative, story, relationships.

      (disclaimer – Tacey quotes Crossan who left the priesthood years ago and is retired. He was one of the best profs I had at DePaul University across three departments over 7 years.)

      Sidenote: McBrien in The Church has an interesting story about the US bishops just prior to a key vote on how to deal with the role of Mary in salvation history. Biblical scholar Barnabas Mary Ahern, Passionist, spoke to the US bishops at the NA college. Ahern was seen as ascetical, conservative but supportive of modern biblical scholarship. He voiced support that they could support a more biblical understanding of Mary in our salvation while preserving their own traditional devotional attachments to Mary. Thus, the final vote in favor of neither a minimalist or maximalist approach to Mary passed by only 40 votes.

  11. What many critics of the historical-critical method want to reject is, simply, the facts of history. An analysis of Ratzinger’s thoughts, and the implication these thoughts may have today, is possible precisely because we have at hand the words he wrote. This is history.

    When one comments on historical facts by drawing on vague memories and offering personal anecdotes that are unreliable (“Of course this is about 36 years ago and I can’t remember the entire context…”) one is, too often, stepping into the realm of fantasy.

    This comes, I think, from a tendency among some to idealize the past (of more than 50 years ago). These were the “Good Old Days” of Catholicism when no one doubted, no one questioned, seminaries and convents were full, and there was no discord, no dissent, and, importantly, no discussion.

    1. Actually, Fr. K., today are the good old days, I really don’t know too many people, in particular me, who would like to go back to a microwaveless, internetless, blogless, smart phoneless, wonder drugless, Pope Benedictless, or flexibleless Church. My favorite time in my very short history is not any decade, but my 30s, but even now I wouldn’t go back to that as I have mellowed in my 50’s. In fact, now that I think about it, the 50’s is the the best! 🙂

  12. Fr. Allan J. McDonald : Actually, Fr. K., today are the good old days, I really don’t know too many people, in particular me, who would like to go back to a microwaveless, internetless, blogless, smart phoneless, wonder drugless, Pope Benedictless, or flexibleless Church. My favorite time in my very short history is not any decade, but my 30s, but even now I wouldn’t go back to that as I have mellowed in my 50’s. In fact, now that I think about it, the 50’s is the the best!

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