Reason Separated From God Is Obstacle to Peace

Cardinal Ratzinger on Dangers of Fanaticism and Relativism

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ROME, NOV. 7, 2004 (Zenit.org).- "There are pathologies of religion and of reason," and both are "mortal dangers for peace " and for "the whole of humanity," said Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.



Vita e Pensiero, the journal of the Catholic University Sacro Cuore in Rome, published for the first time the address that the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith delivered June 4 on the 60th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. Cardinal Ratzinger represented the Holy Father at the memorial services.

"If God's image becomes something partial to the point of identifying the absolute of God with a concrete community or with certain of its interests, it destroys law and morality," the cardinal pointed out.

"In this context, the good is what is at the service of my power and the difference between good and evil is blurred. Morality and law become partisan," he added.

"But there is also the pathology of reason totally separated from God," the cardinal emphasized, in the article entitled "The West, Islam, and the Foundations of Peace."

"We have seen it in totalitarian ideologies that denied all relationship with God and attempted to construct the new man, the new world," he added.

In this connection, Cardinal Ratzinger mentioned the examples of Adolf Hitler, Marxist leaders, and Pol Pot, leader of the Khmer Rouge party in Cambodia as "perhaps the most dramatic expressions of this pathology of reason."

"Only reason that remains open to God, a reason that does not relegate morality to the subjective sphere and doesn't reduce it to pure calculation, can avoid the manipulation of the notion of God and the sicknesses of religion and can offer a therapy," he wrote.

The cardinal said that in this connection Christians must face a "great challenge."

"Their task, our task, consists in leading reason to function wholly, not only in the field of technology and the material development of the world but also and, above all, in so far as faculty of truth, promoting its capacity to recognize the good, which is the condition of law and, consequently, the premise of peace in the world," he said.

Because of this, Cardinal Ratzinger added, it "is our specific task, as Christians of the present time, to integrate the notion of God in the struggle for the defense of the human person."