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CARDINAL MARTINO PENS ON POPE'S SPEECHES IN BAVARIA

Cardinal Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, wrote an in-depth article on Benedict XVI's recent speeches in Bavaria which appears in the September 25 edition of L'Osservatore Romano.

Cardinal Van Thuân International Observatory for the Social Doctrine of the Church translated the article which pointed out the that polemical target of the Pope Benedict's speeches is self limitation of western reason.

Below is Cardinal Martino's article:

* * *

The "Quaestio de Veritate," Christianity and Other Religions
The Speeches Delivered by Benedict XVI During His Trip to Bavaria

By Cardinal Raffaele Martino

Many of the statements made by the Pope in the course of his journey to Bavaria, from the 9th to the 14th of September, concerned truth, starting from a question that is often present in the speeches and homilies of the Pontiff: Can Christianity still be considered reasonable in the eyes of today's man? We believe in God, "is it reasonable?" he asked himself during the homily at Islinger Feld on the morning of September 12. In fact, the West seems to suffer from a "hardness of hearing" and what is said about God "strikes us as pre-scientific, no longer suited to our age," he said on Sunday, September 10, during the holy Mass at the outdoor site of the Neue Messe in Munich.

According to Benedict XVI, the clarification of the relationship between Christianity and truth, and therefore between Christianity and reason, is important first of all for the re-evangelization of the Western world and is also equally important for establishing a relationship between all religions based on dialogue and tolerance. These aspects must be addressed separately, even though they are connected.

Christianity is the faith in Creative Reason, not Unreason. At Islinger Feld, the Pope asked himself -- "What came first?" -- and provided the two possible answers: "Creative Reason, the Creator Spirit who makes all things and gives them growth, or Unreason, which, lacking any meaning, yet somehow brings forth a mathematically ordered cosmos, as well as man and his reason." However, this second answer is illogical because then our reason would be only a casual product of evolution, therefore the product of an irrational process. Christian faith, concludes the Pope, believes "that at the beginning of everything is the eternal Word, with Reason and not Unreason."

The same concept is reiterated in the "Lectio magistralis" at the University of Regensburg: "Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature."

The polemical target of these statements by the Holy Father is the self-limitation of Western reason. Christianity does no longer seem reasonable to the Western man because he has adopted a reductive, positivistic idea of reason that accepts as true only what is mathematical and empirical. The Pope described and exposed the limits of this type of rationality in his lecture at the meeting with the representatives of science at the University of Regensburg.

If "only the kind of certainty resulting from the interplay of mathematical and empirical elements can be considered scientific" in the West today, then we understand where that "hardness of hearing" where God is concerned comes from. Western positivistic reason drastically curtails the range of our relationship with reality and is incapable of opening itself to the rationality of faith, which requires a metaphysical drive. In the Aula Magna of the University of Regensburg, in fact, the Pope stressed the need of "broadening our concept of reason."

This is crucial also for the dialogue between religions because positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it claim to be universally valid and therefore capable of dominating the entire planet through technological development. But, in this way, they prevent a genuine dialogue of cultures and religions. They lead to a "cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom and that holds up utility as the supreme criterion for the future of scientific research"; these were the words pronounced by the Pope in Munich [at] the Neue Messe on September 10.

When he condemned the "mockery of the sacred," the Pope was not just referring to the mockery of Christianity, but to the mockery of any religion. "The tolerance which we urgently need," added Benedict XVI on that occasion, "includes the fear of God -- respect for what others hold sacred." In this way, the Pope criticizes the arrogance of a Western reason that has been reduced to technology and reaffirms the importance of tolerance and dialogue based on mutual respect between religions.

In fact, still at the University of Regensburg, the Holy Father said that "the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine [exclusion that is caused by positivistic reason] from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures."

In Munich, on September 10, the Pope expressed the same concept: "People in Africa and Asia admire, indeed, the scientific and technical prowess of the West, but they are frightened by a form of rationality which totally excludes God from man's vision." And [he] concluded: "They do not see the real threat to their identity in the Christian faith, but in the contempt for God."

When we reaffirm the relationship between Christianity and truth, then, this not only does not prevent dialogue with other religions, but opens a deeper dialogue because, citing an excerpt from a book written by the present Pontiff when he was still cardinal, "If truth is offered, this means a leading out of alienation and thus out of the state of division; it means the vision of a common standard that does no violence to any culture but that guides each one to its own heart, because each exists ultimately as an expectation of truth" [Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, "Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions," Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2004, p. 66].

 
LIVES OF THE SAINTS

APRIL 1
ST. HUGH OF GRENOBLE
St. Hugh was born in 1052 in France. He grew up to be tall and handsome, gentle and courteous.

APRIL 2
ST. FRANCIS OF PAOLA
St. Francis was born in the tiny village of Paola, Italy, around 1416. His parents were poor but humble and holy.

APRIL 3
ST. RICHARD OF CHICHESTER
St. Richard was born in England in 1197. He and his brother became orphans when Richard was very young.

APRIL 4
ST. ISIDORE OF SEVILLE
This saint was born in 556. Isidore's two older brothers, Leander and Fulgentius, became bishops and saints, too.

APRIL 5
ST. VINCENT FERRER

A most wonderful Christian hero was St. Vincent Ferrer. He was born in Valencia, Spain, in 1350.

APRIL 6
BLESSED NOTKER

This Benedictine monk had once been a sickly child. He had a very noticeable speech impediment all his life. Notker was determined not to let it get in his way.

APRIL 7
ST. JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE

St. John Baptist de la Salle was born in Rheims, France, on April 30, 1651. His parents were from the nobility.

APRIL 8
ST. JULIE BILLIART

Mary Rose Julie Billiart was born in Belgium in 1751. Her uncle, the village school teacher, taught her to read and write.

APRIL 9
ST. WALDETRUDIS

Waldetrudis was born in Belgium in the seventh century. Her mother, her father and her sister have all been declared saints.

APRIL 10
BLESSED ANTHONY NEYROT

Anthony was born in northern Italy in the fifteenth century. He joined the Dominican order in Florence, Italy. The prior at that time was another saint, Antoninus.

APRIL 11
ST. STANISLAUS

St. Stanislaus was born near Cracow, Poland, in 1030. His parents had prayed for thirty years for a child.

APRIL 12
ST. JOSEPH MOSCATI

His brother's death made a deep impression on Joseph. He asked Jesus in the Eucharist and Mary for answers.

APRIL 13
ST. MARTIN

St. Martin was a priest of Rome who had a reputation for being well-educated and holy. He became pope in July, 649.

APRIL 14
BLESSED LIDWINA

The name Lidwina means "suffering." Lidwina was from Holland. She was born in 1380 and died in 1433.

APRIL 15
BLESSED DAMIEN OF MOLOKAI

Joseph "Jeff" de Veuster was born in 1840, the son of Belgian farmers. He and his brother, Pamphile, joined the congregation of the Sacred Hearts.

APRIL 16
ST. BENEDICT JOSEPH LABRE

This French saint, born in 1748, led a most unusual life. He was the son of a store owner and was taught by his uncle, a priest .

APRIL 17
ST. STEPHEN HARDING

Stephen was a young Englishman who lived in the twelfth century. He was a good student who liked to learn.

APRIL 18
BLESSED MARY OF THE INCARNATION

Barbara was born in France in 1566. She was married to Peter Acarie when she was seventeen. She and her husband loved their Catholic faith and practiced it.

APRIL 19
BLESSED JAMES DUCKETT

James Duckett was an Englishman who lived during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. As a young man he became an apprentice printer in London.

APRIL 20
ST. AGNES OF MONTEPULCIANO

This saint was born near the city of Monte pulciano, Italy, in 1268. When she was just nine years old, she begged her mother and father to let her live at the nearby convent.

APRIL 21
ST. ANSELM

Anselm was born in northern Italy in 1033. From his home he could see the Alps mountains.

APRIL 22
ST. SOTER AND ST. CAIUS

St. Soter was pope long ago in the times of the Roman emperors. He was a real father to all Christians.

APRIL 23
ST. GEORGE

Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to rescue a beautiful lady. The dragon stands for wickedness.

APRIL 24
ST. FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN

This saint's name was Mark Rey. He was born in Germany in 1578. Mark went to the famous University of Freigburg to become a lawyer.

APRIL 25
ST. MARK THE EVANGELIST

Mark lived at the time of Jesus. Although he was not among the original twelve apostles, he was a relative of St. Barnabas, an apostle.

APRIL 26
ST. RADBERTUS

This saint lived in ninth-century France. No one knows who his parents were. They left their newborn infant on the doorstep of Notre-Dame convent.

APRIL 27
ST. ZITA

Zita is known as the patron saint of domestic workers. She was born in the village of Monte Sagrati, Italy, in 1218.

APRIL 28
ST. PETER CHANEL

St. Peter Chanel was born near Belley, France, in 1803. From the time he was seven, he took care of his father's sheep.

APRIL 29
ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA

Born in 1347, this well-known saint is the patroness of Italy, her country. Catherine was the youngest in a family of twenty-five children.

APRIL 30
ST. PIUS V

This holy pope was born in Italy in 1504. He was baptized Anthony Ghislieri. He wanted to become a priest, but it seemed as though his dream would never come true.

 
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ABOUT ARCHANGELS
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PHOTO OF THE MONTH


Tour of the Relics of the Passion
(International Center for Holy Relics)
www.HolyRelics.org

 
REFLECTIONS

“Jesus’ Baptism”

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?

 
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EVENTS
Holy Relics of Advent in Hawaii
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Much Work Remains in Many Areas

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Immaculate Conception of Mary
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Feast of St Jude the Miraculous Saint
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