Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Still Harping?

Archbishop Desmund Tutu isn't satisfied. According to the famed cleric of S. Africa, Pope Benedict XVI still has some "fence-mending" to do:

It seems to me that his Holiness might have made whatever point he sought to make less provocatively and given the heightened tensions already abroad -- what with controversies over cartoons, the wearing of veils, etc. -- all, especially high profile people, require the wisdom of a Solomon not to exacerbate already fraught situations.

It seems too from the Pope’s pointed apology not for the offending quotation but for the reaction it provoked, it does seem as if we will require some fence-mending.
Since the Pope quoted a critic of Muslims' excesses in a lecture meant to emphasis a dialog routed in reason, he hasn't practiced wisdom. Ah, profound!

Well, commenter Pete offers an appropriate response:
With respect, I wonder if you read the Regensburg speech?

Even a cursory reading shows the Pontiff chose his words quite carefully. Any reasonable reading of the speech also leads one to conclude that it was an earnest attempt to dialogue with Islam by beginning to unite faith and reason. That is the chasm that Benedcit XVI and John Paul II said must be bridge. (see Fides et Ratio)

Simply put, God, the Logos, (Reason) is Love. When one acts counter to Love by accepting or promoting violence one acts counter to God (and thus Reason). I believe that is the main point of Regensburg and I am not sure how the reasonable man can reasonably disagree.

As you know, Christianity is adamant in stating that we are called to image Christ through the love (charity) and service of neighbor. As you also know, man is made in the image and likeness of God. And this image reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. (see Gaudium et Spes #24.)

I suspect Benedict XVI wants us to focus upon Western cultures need to re-discover the concept of service, in charity, to all. For when one serves others hundreds of times a day in the small and the big things in life one finds their true "Self" their "Personhood". And this true Self, this Person is Christ--for we are all called to be Alter Christus (other Christs). And that is why I am sure you will agree that Christianity is more akin to an anthroplogy than a religion.

I strongly suspect that the Holy Father would welcome a dialogue that begins to harmonize faith and reason. As you have noticed the Pontiff did not "apologize" for Regensburg for it would be improper to do so. Rather he stated something like he was sorry if his words caused anyone to be hurt. Why can't he "apologize"? Simply because to do so would be against reason. His faith prompts him, in charity, to be ever "reason"-able and thus to image Christ to every one he meets--in his thoughts, deeds and words. Love hurts. And if we need any proof of that--look at a crucifix.

Finally, post Regensburg the easy thing to do would be to "sugar-coat" the discussion, to "water-it-down". Rather, I suggest the Pontiff evidences true love (charity) by a seeking fullsome and open dialogue. For why would one want to explore issues/questions with friends who will agree with you. True dialogue and understanding comes from discussion with those friends who disagree with you.
Well said, in my humble opinion. Would that Archbishop Tutu had considered such a perspective before offering his well-meaning but misguided advice.

If we can't agree on reason (not Reasonableness) as the basis upon which we can agree on a world-view, we're all lost. The Pope said nothing more--and nothing less--than that. The world would be wise to acknowledge that.

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