Skip to comments.Europe: Two Souls, Three Reasons for Hope
Posted on 10/24/2012 7:27:47 AM PDT by marshmallow
The second reason for my hope lies in the fact that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, faith in Jesus Christ is quite simply true and the truth never ages.
Pope Benedict XVI, Interview, October 15, 2012.
In this short interview, Benedict XVI was asked two questions. The first one is concerned with his hope for Europe. Europe, as we know, is reluctant to acknowledge where it came from, to admit its classical and Christian roots. Benedict gives as his first reason for hope that, in the very being of each person, the desire for God, the search for God, is profoundly inscribed into each human soul and cannot disappear. We will not be surprised that, in such a position, we hear overtones of Augustines restless heart, that is inscribed in our very souls. Benedict, of course, recalls Augustine, as we all must, if we are to know ourselves. This restlessness also exists today and is an expression of the hope that man may, ever and anew, even today, start to journey toward this God. We live in cultures in which our unsettled souls strive mightily not to know who they are and why they exist lest it involve acknowledging the truths of God.
The second reason for hope that Benedict gives is the one that is found at the heart of his Jesus of Nazareth, namely, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, faith in Jesus Christ, is quite simply true; and the truth never ages. No historicism is found here, the belief that what was true in one time is not true in another. We may choose to focus our minds on other things, but the truth as such does not disappear. Various systems of philosophy, science, and religion have formed their own superstructures of explanations about how things are. We......
(Excerpt) Read more at catholicworldreport.com ...
What was true is always true because capital "T" Truth does not change. We may want it to change because we don't like be held up to its light, but that does not have any effect on reality, just our perception of it. Lots of good sermons here. Or, as we Mormons do - reference it in sacrament meeting talks. Tagged the link for latter use.
The second main question that Benedict is asked concerns Europe. Europe from almost any aspect is important; it has great responsibilities. But Europe has to find its true identity in order to be able to speak and act in keeping with her responsibility. The implication is, no doubt, that Europe has lost or given up its true identity. The main problem today is not nationalism, which has been the cause of so many wars and unsettlements in modern European history. Yet nations are generally good. And in Europe they manifest a shared culture, so that their differences are a part of their unity, of their strength and interest. We do not want them all absorbed into each other.
The problem with Europe today, as Benedict sees it, is that it has two souls. The first soul is abstract, anti-historical reason. What is this abstract, anti-historical reason? It is the abstract reasoning that seeks to dominate all else because it considers itself above all cultures; it is like a reason which has finally discovered itself and intends to liberate itself from all traditions and cultural values in favor of an abstract rationality. This entrenched rationality then cleanses the continent of all other ideas and tradition that would question. As an example of this trend, Benedict cites a recent first decision from the Council of Europe in Strasburg which decided against having crucifixes in public. The Council seeks to free Europe from history itself. History has no standing in this mentality. The crucifix happened in history. Reason did not see it coming or know what to do with it when it came.
The other soul of Europe is Christian. It will not disappear. I believe that anthropology, as such, is showing us that there will always be a new reawakening of Christianity. The Christian soul is open to all that is reasonable, a soul that itself created the audaciousness of reason and the freedom of critical reasoning, but which remains anchored in the roots form which Europe was born, the roots which created the continents fundamental values and great institution, in the vision of the Christian faith. We cannot live by abstract reason. Reason itself needs to know what history is, including its own history. Reason must be free enough to notice things that actually happened and which did not originate in its abstractions. Reason needs to discover what happened at Bethlehem. It did not invent it.