The Road from Regensburg
FAITH Magazine January – February 2011
Papal-inspired thought in search of a new apologetic
The Primacy of Christ as Hermeneutical Key of Scripture
From the recent post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini.
For "the work of the Synod to have a real effect on the life of the Church ... I would like to ... make constant reference to the Prologue of John's Gospel (Jn 1:1-18), which makes known to us the basis of our life: the Word" (p.12, Alive Publishing)
"... [It] says of the divine Logos, that 'all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made' (Jn 1:3); and in the Letter to the Colossians it is said of Christ, 'the first-born of all creation' (1:15), that 'all things were created through him and for him'" (1:16). (p. 19).
New Vision Has Been Too Long Delayed
From "Light of the World: A Conversation with Peter Seewald" [2010, CTS]. The Pope's comments on condoms have been widely reported and analysed. They would seem to favour a development in moral philosophy We plan to write about such development, not least in the light of the raging controversy in our next issue. Below we quote some parts of the Pope's answers that argue that a, what we would call, "new synthesis of faith and reason" is long overdue.
"Where is secularism right? Where can and must the faith adopt the forms and figures of modernity - and where must it offer resistance? This great struggle pervades the whole world today" (p. 57)
"the intrinsic translation process of the great words [of the faith] into the speech and thinking of our time is under way but has really not yet succeeded." (p. 64)
"The important thing today is to see that God exists ... as a new emphasis we have to give priority to the question about God" (p. 65).
"Today it is still the major task of the Church to unite faith and reason" (p. 77)
"Nowadays we are rediscovering the importance of the interactions between the earth and the rest of the universe, and so it makes perfect sense that we should also relearn to recognise the cosmic character of the liturgy." (p. 105)
"We must summon fresh energy for tackling the problem of how to announce the gospel anew in such a way that this world can receive it, and we must muster all of our energies to do this." (p. 130).
"In light of [the] would-be scientific intellectual model, matters of faith appear as archaic ... This way of thinking ... has changed man's basic orientation towards reality. He no longer seeks the mystery, the divine, but is convinced that science will at one point decipher everything ... The other side is that precisely science itself is now regaining an insight as to its limits, that many scientists today are saying: "Doesn't everything have to come from somewhere?"... A new understanding of religion is re-emerging... one that emerges from the intrinsic coherence of the logos - which is exactly the real faith in the gospel that the gospel itself sought and proclaimed"
"... People today no longer have an immediate intuitive grasp of the fact that Christ's blood on the Cross is expiation for their sins. Formulas like these are great and true, but they no longer have a place in our overall system of thought and world view; they stand in need of new translation and comprehension" (p. 135).
"The bishops must seriously reflect on ways to give catechesis a new heart and a new face."(p. 140)
Towards a New Synthesis
From "Address of his Holiness Benedict XVI to participants in the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences", October 28, 2010.
"as increasing accomplishments of the sciences deepen our wonder of the complexity of nature, the need for an interdisciplinary approach tied with philosophical reflection leading to a synthesis is more and more perceived."
How to Rebuild
From the Homily to members of Roman Universities, 16th December.
Building one's own existence, building society, is not a work that can be accomplished by distracted and superficial minds and hearts. It takes profound educational work and continuous discernment, which must involve all the academic community, promoting that synthesis between intellectual formation, moral discipline and religious commitment which Blessed John Henry Newman proposed in his "Idea of University."
In our time we feel the need of a new class of intellectuals capable of interpreting social and cultural dynamics and offering solutions that are not abstract but concrete and realistic.
Peace and Rediscovering the Human Soul
From the 2011 Message for World Peace.
"Religious freedom expresses what is unique about the human person, for it allows us to direct our personal and social life to God, in whose light the identity, meaning and purpose of the person are fully understood. ...Without the acknowledgement of his spiritual being, without openness to the transcendent, the human person withdraws within himself, fails to find answers to the heart's deepest questions about life's meaning ... [and] does not have an 'identity' to safeguard and build up through truly free and conscious decisions... Freedom without relationship is not full freedom."