International Political Analyst
We feel a special attraction for Theology.
Without having studied it in a systematic and orderly way, I enjoy a world when I reread that music box that are the academic polemics between professors Ratzinger and Hans Küng, two great theologians, still alive, of the greatest in the matter.
Both with positions in the antipodes, they were teaching at the University of Tübingen.
Life separated them. Ratzinger was appointed Bishop of Munich, Cardinal in 1977, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Pope in 2005 until 2013, when he resigned.
Hans Küng is a Swiss Catholic priest, a professor of theology trained at the Gregorian University in Rome, a prolific author who opposes the doctrine of papal infallibility, focuses on the theology of religions, and today is president of the Foundation for Global Ethics.
On September 12, 2006, already as Pope Benedict XVI, Ratzinger visited the Aula Magna of the German University of Regensburg in whose cloister he had been a professor of theology for several years. He was responding to an invitation to give a lecture entitled “Reason, Faith and School” to a mostly academic audience.
Benedict XVI spoke about the arrival of Christianity and its influence in the context of Western culture, reflected deeply and sincerely, and even shared personal memories and experiences.
However, it was not because of all this that the Lecture in Regensburg became famous and had great repercussions and aired reactions, but because of a quote that the Holy Father tangentially mentioned and that refers to the dialogue between the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and a Persian sage in the winter of 1391 and where the key figure is the “forced conversion”.
Roughly, Benedict XVI put in the mouth of the Byzantine the following phrase “Show me also what Mohammed has brought back, and you will find only bad and inhuman things, like his willingness to spread by means of the sword the faith he preached”. Explaining in context that violence is in contrast to the nature of God. “God is not pleased with blood,” he says, “not acting according to reason is contrary to the nature of God. Faith is the fruit of the soul, not of the body…”, and Pope Ratzinger adds later: “Therefore, whoever wants to bring another person to faith needs the ability to speak well and reason correctly, and not to resort to violence or threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one must not resort to muscles or instruments for hitting or any other means by which a person can be threatened with death”. The key is “not to act according to reason is contrary to the nature of God”. In response to the controversy that arose, the Holy See formally clarified that the phrase quoted by the Pope did not represent his personal position and invited leaders of Islamic countries to read the entire speech without taking the historical references out of context.
We have brought the Regensburg Address as a central theme because it is definitely a call to reaffirm our faith and our culture, because we are all Westerners in the clear duty to reflect deeply on our identity and because we must harbor conceptual clarity in the fact that Reason and Faith are not contradictory but rather complementary and represent the bridge that unites us to Freedom.
Recently a bishop of Venezuela has published a Letter to his flock. Monsignor Mario Moronta says that, as a pastor and as a citizen, he raises his voice of alert before what he considers the “Islamization of Venezuela”.
In another delivery we will look in more detail at some political processes that, taking advantage of faith and hope, offer villas and castles for all and end up with hungry and culturally invaded peoples.
Menester is to clarify that the sense of this article is not to exercise chauvinism. We believe in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, respectful and constructive, for all. Unamuno said it: “Sometimes to remain silent is equivalent to lying”.
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