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Truth and Freedom
http://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/TRUEFREE.htm ^ | Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

Posted on 11/18/2004 6:41:41 AM PST by mike182d

I. The question

     In the mind of contemporary man, freedom appears to a large extent as the absolutely highest good, to which all other goods are subordinate. Court decisions consistently accord artistic freedom and freedom of opinion primacy over every other moral value. Values which compete with freedom, or which might necessitate its restriction, seem to be fetters or "taboos," that is, relics of archaic prohibitions and fears.

     Political policy must show that it contributes to the advancement of freedom in order to be accepted. Even religion can make its voice heard only by presenting itself as a liberating force for man and for humanity. In the scale of values on which man depends for a humane existence, freedom appears as the basic value and as the fundamental human right. In contrast, we are inclined to react with suspicion to the concept of truth: we recall that the term truth has already been claimed for many opinions and systems, and that the assertion of truth has often been a means of suppressing freedom. In addition, natural science has nourished a skepticism with regard to everything which cannot be explained or proved by its exact methods: all such things seem in the end to be a mere subjective assignment of value which cannot pretend to be universally binding. The modern attitude toward truth is summed up most succinctly in Pilate's question, "What is truth?". Anyone who maintains that he is serving the truth by his life, speech and action must prepare himself to be classified as a dreamer or as a fanatic. For "the world beyond is closed to our gaze"; this sentence from Goethe's characterizes our common sensibility today.

- snip -

(Excerpt) Read more at ewtn.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
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I know this is a Catholic Cardinal writing, but in light of the Libs' panicked ranting and raving about lost "freedoms" and the rise of a theocracy, I think is a great read.

The philosophy of the true nature of freedom, as laid out in this work, is very well done IMO.
1 posted on 11/18/2004 6:41:41 AM PST by mike182d
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To: mike182d

Ratzinger Bump!


2 posted on 11/18/2004 6:57:32 AM PST by Unam Sanctam
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To: mike182d
Thanks for posting this. I read it about half way through right now--will finish later--but I can see that it is written on a very high level and is an invaluable concise description of the fundamental ideas underlying our contemporary world and much of the unwitting baying at the moon in angry fevers.

The real nature of authority and how each of us is challenged to respond to any hindrance upon our autonomy is behind much of the machinations of today.

3 posted on 11/18/2004 7:59:04 AM PST by ontos-on
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To: ontos-on

You're most welcome. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece and I'm glad others do as well.

There really are two "Americas." What defines "America" is the love and constant pursuit of freedom. In so far as the two sides disagree on what this "freedom" is, we cannot truly be united as "Americans."


4 posted on 11/18/2004 8:08:25 AM PST by mike182d
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To: mike182d
Thanks for posting this. I had read it before, but in rereading it I see lots of similarities between this critique and that of Chantal Delsol in Icarus Fallen.

Delsol would bristle a bit at Ratzinger's advocacy of a return to "essentialism", but I think the good cardinal has laid further foundations for the anthropology which Delsol yearned for, but sketched only in the barest silhouette.

5 posted on 11/18/2004 11:40:56 PM PST by Dumb_Ox (Ares does not spare the good, but the bad.)
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