The Road from Regensburg

FAITH Magazine July – August 2011

One Law of Gratuitousness to Save Europe
4 June To Croatian Political and Cultural Leaders.

Extracts from Pope Benedict's hopeful appeal to the Croatian people to stay truly Catholic amidst powerful external pressures to implode. It was a moving summary of Pope Benedict's vision. We have placed in bold some words which dovetail with our current editorial.

... Christ is fully human, and whatever is human finds in him and in his word the fullness of life and meaning.

... Truly, the great achievements of the modern age - the recognition and guarantee of freedom of conscience, of human rights, of the freedom of science and hence of a free society -should be confirmed and developed while keeping reason and freedom open to their transcendent foundation, so as to ensure that these achievements are not undone, as unfortunately happens in not a few cases. ... If, in keeping with the prevailing modern idea, conscience is reduced to the subjective field to which religion and morality have been banished, then the crisis of the West has no remedy and Europe is destined to collapse in on itself. If, on the other hand, conscience is rediscovered as the place in which to listen to truth and good, the place of responsibility before God and before fellow human beings- in other words, the bulwark against all forms of tyranny - then there is hope for the future.

I would like to single out Father Ruder Josip Boskovic, a Jesuit born in Dubrovnik three hundred years ago on 18 May 1711. He is a good illustration of the happy symbiosis of faith and scholarship, each stimulating the other through research that is at the same time open, diversified and capable of synthesis. His principal work, Theoria philosophiae naturalis, which was published in Vienna and later in Venice in the mid-18th century, bears a highly significant sub-title: redacta ad unicam legem virium in natura existentium, that is, "according to the one law of the forces existing in nature". In Boskovic, there is analysis, there is study of multiple branches of knowledge, but there is also a passion for unity. This is typical ofCatholic culture ... the experts say that his theory of "continuity", which holds true both in the natural sciences and in geometry, accords well with some of the great discoveries of modern physics.... (he) knows, in the light of truth, how to engage fully the resources of reason with which he has been endowed by God himself.

... It is by forming consciences that the Church makes her most specific and valuable contribution to society. ... (teaching) what it means for a community to be built upon gift, not upon economic interests or ideology, but upon love, "the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity" {Caritas in Veritate, 1). This logic of gratuitousness, learnt in infancy and adolescence, is then lived out in every area of life ... once it has been assimilated it can be applied to the most complex areas of political and economic life ...

It is here that the lay faithful are called to give generously of the formation they have received, guided by the principles of the Church's Social Doctrine, for the sake of authentic secularism, social justice, the defence of life and of the family, freedom of religion and education.

Vocation of Matter
28 February To Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Again the bold is ours.

... new technologies are ... bringing about a ... new way of learning and thinking ... with unprecedented opportunities for establishing relationships and building fellowship.

I would like to reflect on the fact that thought and relation are always in the modality of language ... The new languages developing in digital communications ... are geared to a different logical organisation of thought and of the relationship with reality ... reflection on the languages developed by the new technologies is urgently necessary.

The starting point is the Revelation which bears witness to us of how, until his full manifestation of self in the Incarnate Son, God communicated his marvels precisely through language and the real experience of human beings, "according to the culture proper to each age" (Gaudium et Spes, n. 58).

... if we are to be attentive to God's work in the world, we must listen attentively to the language of the people of our time ... It is not only a matter of expressing the Gospel message in contemporary language; it is also necessary to have the courage to think more deeply - as happened in other epochs -about the relationship between faith, the life of the Church and the changes human beings are experiencing.

... "Is not this effort to imbue in mechanical instruments the reflection of spiritual duties, ennobled and uplifted to a service which touches the sacred? Is it the spirit which is made a prisoner of matter or is it matter, already tamed and obliged to carry out laws of the spirit, which perhaps offers sublime deference to the spirit itself?" (Paul VI: Address at the Automation Centre of the Aloisianum, Gallarate, 19 June 1964). It is possible to discern in these words the profound link with the human spirit to which technology is called by vocation (cf. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, n. 69).

Religious Freedom
29 April 2011 To Pontifical Academy of Science.

Deeply inscribed in our human nature are a yearning for truth and meaning and an openness to the transcendent; ... Many centuries ago, Tertullian coined the term libertas religionis (cf. Apologeticum, 24:6). ... Since man enjoys the capacity for a free personal choice in truth ... the right to religious freedom should be viewed as innate to the fundamental dignity of every human person ... all people are "impelled by nature and also bound by our moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth" (Second Vatican Council, Dignitatis Humanae, 2)... let me express my sincere hope that your expertise in the fields of law, political science, sociology and economics will converge in these days to bring about fresh insights on this important question andthus bear much fruit now and into the future.

Faith Magazine

July - August 2011