Monday, May 21, 2007

On the Road to Reason

In Britain, there is increasing secularisation in the public sphere, possibly even a hostility towards the religious ethic. It is particularly noticeable in the sphere where there are developments in the regulation of human fertility and embryology.

It can also be seen in the popularity of Dawkin`s views about God and religion.

It is now good copy to "knock" religion in the journals and broadsheets. Religion is often portrayed as utterly incompatible with Reason and Science. Backward, eccentric,even.

It is therefore perhaps not surprising that in the British press, no mention is made of the recent speeches of Cardinal Ruini.

At the International Book Fair in Turin on 11th May 2007, Cardinal Ruini delivered an address on the requirements for a positive encounter of Christianity with the dominant traits of contemporary culture.

Sandro Magister sets out the discourse in its entirety.

The speech traces in very broad lines a history of the encounter between Christian theology and cultures, from the Roman empire to the modern age, moving on from there to concentrate attention above all on the season that runs from Vatican Council II to today.

He describes the divergent interpretations that the Council has received within Catholic thought: and “that have divided Catholic theology and strongly influenced the Church's life.”

Like Pope Benedict XVI, he calls for dialogue with critical reason and quest for liberty in such a way as to open up this reason and this freedom, and to assimilate within the Christian faith the values that they contain:

"[T]he meaning of that program of “making more room for rationality” that Benedict XVI proposes with insistence, ... concerns both scientific reason and historical reason.

This program entails the twofold conviction that the revelation of God in Jesus Christ offers valuable assistance to reason in order to continue along its path, always more elaborated, complex, and specialized, without losing sight of its global horizon and the deeper questions, and moreover that precisely through the encounter with contemporary reason, faith and theology are stimulated to further explore the newness concerning the mystery of God and man that came to meet us in Jesus Christ.

In contributing to such a program, theology must not take on the rationalistic pretense of cogent demonstrations, as I have already referred to concerning the “praeambula fidei,” but rather must be aware of the limitations of its own discourse: thus, with regard to creative Logos, Joseph Ratzinger asserts that from the rational point of view this remains “the best hypothesis,” an hypothesis that requires on the part of man and his reason that he in turn renounce a position of dominion, and risk that of humble listening."