Learning between reason and faith, by Pilar Rahola

Beyond the Pope Benedict XVII’m interested in theologian Joseph Ratzinger. And I begin like this because I am aware that this simple affirmation turns the stomach of classical anti-clericalism, whose tendency to the most bungled simplification considerably damages the rationalism that it claims to defend.

Also, it goes without saying that right away the rosary of ‘evil’ of the character, the real ones, the false ones and the deformed ones, among two other fundamental ones: their connection to Nazism and their complicity with the pedophilia scandals. In both cases, the truth is half a lie. First, it is true that at the age of 16 (like so many German adolescents) he fought in World War II, from which he ended up deserting. But he was never a member of the Hitler Youth, nor is he known to have any connection. On the contrary, his visit to Auschwitz was very notable, “as a son of the German people & rdquor ;, remembering John Paul II, who did it” as a son of the Polish people & rdquor ;. He said, in prayer, “why, Lord, did you remain silent?, how did you tolerate all of this? & Rdquor ;.” Regarding pedophilia, it is evident that he was not able to assume the dimension of the scandal and act quickly, as Pope Francis immediately did, but he was the one who began the fight against the network of clerical abuses, as pointed out by Jaume Flaquer, Jesuit and member of Cristianisme i Justícia, in his magnificent article on Saturday. And he recalled that “one of Benedict’s first decisions was bravely face the dossier of the Maciel case and intervene the leadership of the Legionaries of Christ”. On the other hand, it is clear that Ratzinger was a conservative, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, from where he fought the fusion between Christianity and Marxism, although, again Flaquer, “He chose to be more inspiring than guardian & rdquor ;, when he came to the Papacy.

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Other convulsive moments can be remembered from his papacy, such as the darkness of vatican finance or the famous ‘vatileaks’ (which seems to have overwhelmed him), but also the generosity of resigning his position and opting for a ‘vita orante’ in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, considering that he could not assume it in all its dimensions. Be that as it may, it is clear that Pope Benedict XVI is a controversial figure, with the pertinent lights and shadows, but what is indisputable is his spirituality and his intellectual greatness. And not only for his academic merits or for speaking ten languages ​​and mastering six, but for his profound reflections on the abysses of humanity and the role of the Catholic Church within modernity.

In this sense, it is obligatory to remember the prelude to what would be his Atrium of the Gentiles (which was held in Barcelona in 2012): the brilliant dialogue with Jürgen Habermas at the Catholic Academy in Munich, in March 2004, which I have personally reread these days. In it, the philosopher and theologian reach coincidences of enormous importance, from the conviction that Today’s society cannot do without the moral wisdom of religion, up to the affirmation that the Catholic Church has made its peace with the rule of law. God, then, is not “a stone”, in the classical conception of anticlericalism, but a moral reserve that walks hand in hand with democratic law. In the expression of Habermas, “one must not deny the potential for truth to religious visions of the world”, and in Ratzinger’s question, nothing indicates that we would have a better world, that it would advance in freedoms and rights, if we made religion disappear. But both agree on a fundamental conclusion: both reason and faith can be potentially dangerous – from religiously based terrorism or theocratic regimes, to the atomic bomb or the dehumanization of the economic market – so that they have to limit themselves and listen to each other. The reason derived from the Enlightenment tradition must contain its arrogance and be aware of its extremes, and the faith derived from the religious tradition must count on reason to inoculate itself against fanaticism. In other words, reason and faith must be understood, not as conflicting paths in the fight for a better society, but as pathways that meet and complement each other. A mutual learning, where religion and law can meet without colliding.

Learning between reason and faith, by Pilar Rahola