Thursday, June 16, 2005

M&I: Echoes of JPII in B16

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's homily delivered to the College of Cardinals the day the conclave began that would soon elect him pope is now famous, with this excerpt being the most quoted:

How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. . . . The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves--thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14). Having a clear faith, based
on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and "swept along by every wind of teaching," looks like the only attitude (acceptable) to today's standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires.

I've read that the most referenced source for Pope Benedict has been his predecessor, Pope John Paul. Compared Pope Benedict's excerpt above with the one below from PJP in Memory and Identity (page 47-8):
At the same time, however, we cannot ignore the insistent return of
the denial of Christ. Again and again we encounter the signs of an alternative civilization to that built on Christ as "cornerstone" - a civilization which, even if not explicitly atheist, is at least psoitivistic and agnostic, since it is built upon the principle of thinking and acting as if God did not exist. This approach can easily be recognized in the modern so-called scientific, or rather scientistic, mentality, and it can be recognized in literature, especially in the mass media. To live as if God did not exist means to live outside the parameters of good and evil, outside the context of values derived from God. It is claimed that man himself can decide what is good or bad. And this program is widely promoted in all sorts of ways.

If, one the one hand, the West continues to provide evidence of zealous evangelization, on the other hand anti-evangelical currents are equally strong. They strike at the very foundations of human morality, influencing the family and promoting a morally permissive outlook: divorce, free love, abortion, contraception, the fight against life in its initial phases and in its final phase, the manipulation of life. This program is supported by enormous financial resources, not only in individual countries, but also on a worldwide scale. It has great centers of economic power at its disposal, through which it attempts to impose its own conditions on developing countries. Faced with all this, one may legitimately ask whether this is not another form of totalitarianism, subtly concealed
under the appearances of democracy.