The thoughts of Benedict

by - 12th February 2013

Amid all the sturm und drang of media-generated ‘shock’ at the Pope’s abdication, the sheer breathtaking nastiness, hypocrisy, and conspiracy theories of commentators without a religious bone in their bodies (and some who believe they have), you might not learn much about the great man himself. 

So I reproduce here a few perhaps surprising bons mots garnered in preparation for a Russia Today TV interview:

On ecumenism with the Orthodox Church:  ‘We are not moralistic, but, standing on the foundation of the faith, we are bearers of an ethical message that provides a compass for mankind.  And it is of the greatest importance that we provide it together at this time when the peoples of the earth are in crisis.’ 

On current opportunities for engagement with the Anglican Church:  ‘There are ... other instances of conformism to the spirit of the present age that make the dialogue more difficult.’

On Islam:  ‘Today we are living n a completely different world, in which the battle lines are drawn differently.  In this world, radical secularism stands on one side, and the question of God, in its various forms, stands on the other.’

On what really matters:  ‘Love is the key to Christianity.’  (Benedict’s first publication as a student was on love.  Deus caritas est  [God is love], was his first publication [encyclical] as Pope.)

Against the ‘banality of just drifting along on the tide’ of more and more extreme stimulus: ‘How beautiful it is to be!’ 

On relativism:  ‘Intolerance and cruelty have occurred in the name of truth.  To that extent people are afraid when someone says, this is the truth’ or even ‘I have the truth’.  We never have it, at best it has us.  But simply to dismiss it as unattainable is really destructive.’

On the end of secularism:  ‘I am quite optimistic that Christianity is on the verge of a new dynamic.’

Taken from Light of the World, an interview with journalist George Seewald.