There have been a few attempts by more left leaning Catholics – the ones who howled when Benedict became Pope – that conservatives are “unhappy” with the new Pontiff for being too centrist. I’m not sure who they have in mind as the new top man has yet to make a move that has caused me even slight concern.
In Regensburg recently, he said:
the positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: we are all grateful for the marvelous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us.
That’s a relief – I won’t have to give up my Mac or iPod. Whew!
He also said that violence has no place in religion, and defended human rationality. That ought (hopefully) to be a step towards reassuring those who think that all religion is, always and everywhere, diametrically opposed to science. And he also did it in a way that extends a hand to those who describe their faith as Bible-based, by drawing on the Bible itself:
“Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God’s nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?”
The basis for the discussion of faith and reason requires that one understands (based upon John’s prologue) that, “God acts with ‘logos’,” which means, the Pope noted, “both reason and word – a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason.”
Benedict insisted that throughout the time of the law and prophets and the history of the early Church, and despite bitter conflicts, the best of Greek thought enriched the Church’s understanding of God’s revelation. As such, he said, “the faith of the Church has always insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language (cf. Lateran Council IV).”
“God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf.”
The work of the Hellenistic philosophers, in other words, helped the Gospel writers and the early Church understand the idea of God as reason itself and thus as utterly reasonable.
It’s an interesting read.