CARDINAL MARTINO PENS ON POPE'S SPEECHES IN BAVARIA
Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice
and Peace, wrote an in-depth article on Benedict XVI's recent speeches
in Bavaria which appears in the September 25 edition of L'Osservatore
Van Thuân International Observatory for the Social Doctrine
of the Church translated the article which pointed out the that
polemical target of the Pope Benedict's speeches is self limitation
of western reason.
is Cardinal Martino's article:
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"Quaestio de Veritate," Christianity and Other Religions
The Speeches Delivered by Benedict XVI During His Trip to Bavaria
Cardinal Raffaele Martino
of the statements made by the Pope in the course of his journey
to Bavaria, from the 9th to the 14th of September, concerned truth,
starting from a question that is often present in the speeches and
homilies of the Pontiff: Can Christianity still be considered reasonable
in the eyes of today's man? We believe in God, "is it reasonable?"
he asked himself during the homily at Islinger Feld on the morning
of September 12. In fact, the West seems to suffer from a "hardness
of hearing" and what is said about God "strikes us as
pre-scientific, no longer suited to our age," he said on Sunday,
September 10, during the holy Mass at the outdoor site of the Neue
Messe in Munich.
to Benedict XVI, the clarification of the relationship between Christianity
and truth, and therefore between Christianity and reason, is important
first of all for the re-evangelization of the Western world and
is also equally important for establishing a relationship between
all religions based on dialogue and tolerance. These aspects must
be addressed separately, even though they are connected.
is the faith in Creative Reason, not Unreason. At Islinger Feld,
the Pope asked himself -- "What came first?" -- and provided
the two possible answers: "Creative Reason, the Creator Spirit
who makes all things and gives them growth, or Unreason, which,
lacking any meaning, yet somehow brings forth a mathematically ordered
cosmos, as well as man and his reason." However, this second
answer is illogical because then our reason would be only a casual
product of evolution, therefore the product of an irrational process.
Christian faith, concludes the Pope, believes "that at the
beginning of everything is the eternal Word, with Reason and not
same concept is reiterated in the "Lectio magistralis"
at the University of Regensburg: "Not to act in accordance
with reason is contrary to God's nature."
polemical target of these statements by the Holy Father is the self-limitation
of Western reason. Christianity does no longer seem reasonable to
the Western man because he has adopted a reductive, positivistic
idea of reason that accepts as true only what is mathematical and
empirical. The Pope described and exposed the limits of this type
of rationality in his lecture at the meeting with the representatives
of science at the University of Regensburg.
"only the kind of certainty resulting from the interplay of
mathematical and empirical elements can be considered scientific"
in the West today, then we understand where that "hardness
of hearing" where God is concerned comes from. Western positivistic
reason drastically curtails the range of our relationship with reality
and is incapable of opening itself to the rationality of faith,
which requires a metaphysical drive. In the Aula Magna of the University
of Regensburg, in fact, the Pope stressed the need of "broadening
our concept of reason."
is crucial also for the dialogue between religions because positivistic
reason and the forms of philosophy based on it claim to be universally
valid and therefore capable of dominating the entire planet through
technological development. But, in this way, they prevent a genuine
dialogue of cultures and religions. They lead to a "cynicism
that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom
and that holds up utility as the supreme criterion for the future
of scientific research"; these were the words pronounced by
the Pope in Munich [at] the Neue Messe on September 10.
he condemned the "mockery of the sacred," the Pope was
not just referring to the mockery of Christianity, but to the mockery
of any religion. "The tolerance which we urgently need,"
added Benedict XVI on that occasion, "includes the fear of
God -- respect for what others hold sacred." In this way, the
Pope criticizes the arrogance of a Western reason that has been
reduced to technology and reaffirms the importance of tolerance
and dialogue based on mutual respect between religions.
fact, still at the University of Regensburg, the Holy Father said
that "the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion
of the divine [exclusion that is caused by positivistic reason]
from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound
convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates
religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering
into the dialogue of cultures."
Munich, on September 10, the Pope expressed the same concept: "People
in Africa and Asia admire, indeed, the scientific and technical
prowess of the West, but they are frightened by a form of rationality
which totally excludes God from man's vision." And [he] concluded:
"They do not see the real threat to their identity in the Christian
faith, but in the contempt for God."
we reaffirm the relationship between Christianity and truth, then,
this not only does not prevent dialogue with other religions, but
opens a deeper dialogue because, citing an excerpt from a book written
by the present Pontiff when he was still cardinal, "If truth
is offered, this means a leading out of alienation and thus out
of the state of division; it means the vision of a common standard
that does no violence to any culture but that guides each one to
its own heart, because each exists ultimately as an expectation
of truth" [Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, "Truth and Tolerance:
Christian Belief and World Religions," Ignatius Press, San
Francisco 2004, p. 66].