The Road From Regensburg
FAITH Magazine July-August 2010
Papal dialogue in search of a new apologetic
Recovering Insight That Man is Made for Revelation
Pope to the Italian bishops' plenary assembly last May, concerning the crisis in education:
A first point seems to me to be this: to overcome [the] false idea of man's autonomy as an "I" complete in himself, whereas the "I" is fulfilled in the encounter with the "you" and "we"... It is fundamental to recover a true concept of Nature as the Creation of God that speaks to us ... and also of Revelation: recognising that the book of Creation, in which God gives us our fundamental orientation, is deciphered in Revelation, which is endorsed in cultural and religious history, not without mistakes, but in a substantially valid manner, to be further developed and purified anew [... fostering] openness of the "I" to the "you", to the "we" and to the "You" of God.
Chancellor Follows Papal Logic
At last May's Ecumenical Church Congress ("Kirchentag") the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, drew upon the same German legal philosopher, Ernst-Wolfgang Bockenforde, who influenced the fruitful 2004 discussion between the then Cardinal Ratzinger and the non-Christian Jurgen Habermas.
Our society lives on premises that it cannot create by itself. Without a doubt, one of these very important premises is Christianity. Christianity has shaped our country ... we came to our values system through Christianity. That means we know that freedom does not mean freedom from something, but it means freedom given by God through His Creation to commit oneself to help others and stand up for causes. This may be the most important source of social cohesion.
To The Bishops
In truth, the times in which we live demand a new missionary vigour... sensitive to the complex transformations taking place in our world. Authentic witnesses to Jesus Christ are needed, above all ... among politicians, intellectuals, communications professionals who promote ... disdain for the religious and contemplative dimension of life. In such circles are found some believers who are ashamed of their beliefs and who even give a helping hand to this type of secularism, ...
To Social Pastoral Care Organisations
History presently offers us a scenario of socio-economic, cultural and spiritual crisis, which highlights the need for a discernment guided by a creative proposal of the Church's social message.
The Portuguese Contradiction
To The World Of Culture
... The dynamic movement of society gives absolute value to the present, isolating it from the cultural legacy of the past, without attempting to trace a path for the future. This emphasis on the "present" as a source of inspiration for the meaning of life, both individual and social, nonetheless clashes with the powerful cultural tradition of the Portuguese people, deeply marked by the millenary influence of Christianity and by a sense of global responsibility. This came to the fore in the adventure of the discoveries and in the missionary zeal which shared the gift of faith with other peoples.... Portugal has always sought to establish relations with the rest of the world.
... Society continues to respect and appreciate the Church's service to the common good but distances itself from that "wisdom" which is part of her legacy.
This "conflict" between tradition and the present finds expression in the crisis of truth, yet only truth can provide direction and trace the path of a fulfilled existence both for individuals and for a people. Indeed, a people no longer conscious of its own truth ends up by being lost in the maze of time and history, deprived of clearly defined values and lacking great and clearly formulated goals.
New Attitude of the Church
Dear friends, much still needs to be learned about the form in which the Church takes her place in the world, helping society to understand that the proclamation of truth is a service which she offers to society, and opening new horizons for the future, horizons of grandeur and dignity.... the search for truth apart from Christ proves dramatic.
The Church, in her adherence to the eternal character of truth, is in the process of learning how to live with respect for other "truths" and for the truth of others. Through this respect, open to dialogue, new doors can be opened to the transmission of truth.
... Dialogue, without ambiguity and marked by respect for those taking part, is a priority in today's world, and the Church does not intend to withdraw from it. A testimony to this is the Holy See's presence in several international organisations,... and respectful of religious beliefs. Given the reality of cultural diversity, people need not only to accept the existence of the culture of others, but also to aspire to be enriched by it and to offer to it whatever they possess that is good, true and beautiful.
Ours is a time which calls for the best of our efforts, prophetic courage and a renewed capacity to "point out new worlds to the world", to use the words of your national poet. ...
Precisely so as "to place the modern world in contact with the life-giving and perennial energies of the Gospel" (John XXIII, Humanae Salutis, 3), the Second Vatican Council was convened. [... it] laid the foundation for an authentic Catholic renewal and for a new civilisation.
The Church considers that her most important mission in today's culture is to keep alive the search for truth, and consequently for God; to bring people to look beyond penultimate realities and to seek those that are ultimate. I invite you to deepen your knowledge of God as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ for our complete fulfilment. Produce beautiful things, but above all make your lives places of beauty.