Thursday, May 24, 2007

More more Benedict

The rest of the speech sadly didn't get as much play because of the controversy. But there are some real profound nuggets o' truth in them.

Like the following:

As a first step, we can respond to this question with another: what is this “reality”? What is real? Are only material goods, social, economic and political problems “reality”? This was precisely the great error of the dominant tendencies of the last century, a most destructive error, as we can see from the results of both Marxist and capitalist systems. They falsify the notion of reality by detaching it from the foundational and decisive reality which is God. Anyone who excludes God from his horizons falsifies the notion of “reality” and, in consequence, can only end up in blind alleys or with recipes for destruction.
I like how he correctly mentions both Marxism and capitalism as both premised on the reduction of reality/truth to economic, material, social and political events only.

And this on Christian faith:
We can ask ourselves a further question: what does faith in this God give us? The first response is: it gives us a family, the universal family of God in the Catholic Church. Faith releases us from the isolation of the “I”, because it leads us to communion: the encounter with God is, in itself and as such, an encounter with our brothers and sisters, an act of convocation, of unification, of responsibility towards the other and towards others. In this sense, the preferential option for the poor is implicit in the Christological faith in the God who became poor for us, so as to enrich us with his poverty (cf. 2 Cor 8:9).
As someone who grew up Catholic and still resonates deeply with the Catholic formulation of Christian theology, I appreciate the social and communal nature of this theology. Not individual salvation by being born again but birth into a family of God, a people of God, a household of God. Which brings responsibility, family squabbles, love, the need for mercy, the exposing of our woundings, fears, and prejudices. Our life being about others more than ourselves.

He also calls for deeper catechesis of the Gospel and the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church. Kudos to both those. And connects the work of social, cultural, religious, and political expression/freedom to the Incarnation. For the Christian God was human in Christ, therefore humanity has inherent dignity. And where Spirit is not recognized, faceless inhumanity follows.


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