Christianity must always remember that it is the religion of the Logos. Christianity is faith in the Creator Spiritus, from whom comes everything that is real. Precisely this ought to give Christianity its philosophical power today, since the problem is whether the world comes from an irrational source, so that reason would be nothing but a ‘by-product’ (perhaps even a harmful by product) of the development of the world, or whether the world comes from reason, so that its criterion and its goal is reason. The Christian faith opts for this second thesis and has good arguments to back it up, even from a purely philosophical point of view, despite the fact that so many people today consider the first thesis the only ‘rational’ and modern view.
Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures, 49
Reflection – ‘So, what are you going to do about the blog?’ The question has been posed to me once or twice (or a couple dozen times, but who’s counting?) the past week or so. My answer has always been, “I’m praying about it!”
You see, I didn’t start the blog precisely because Joseph Ratzinger was the bishop of
. I started the
blog because he writes passages like the above one: luminous, penetrating,
intellectually acute and yet accessible to the general reading public. I started
the blog because I believe this ‘German Shepherd’ (and he will still be a
shepherd—a bishop—on March 1, don’t forget) has offered the modern world
insight, guidance, thoughtful reflection and a gentle presentation of the
Gospel in a somewhat intellectual key, but no less the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Rome
The modern world has largely responded by sneering at him, calling him silly names, and ignoring his writings, as we have all had lamentable opportunities to see in the past week of media ‘coverage’ of the story.
So I do want, and fully intend, to continue presenting excerpts of Ratzinger’s writings ongoingly on this blog. There may be less interest in him as he retreats into the silence and seclusion of a monastery, but I believe he is a key figure in the Church’s re-presentation of the faith to the modern world, and his life work deserves and in fact needs to be made better known. I may broaden the blog out to include other writers (Catherine Doherty first among them, of course), and my own independent writing and reflection. Given that we are no longer (sob!) living with him, I will probably be looking for a new name for the blog (any suggestions gratefully accepted), but nonetheless, the blog will go on as it has.
A great central matter of Ratzinger’s contribution to modern theology is, in fact, found in the above passage. The reasonableness of the doctrine of creation, the fact that only a creation of the universe from a rational being undergirds and assures us of the ultimate reasonable quality of being, the fact that modern atheistic materialism reduces the universe to absurdity—all of this is key in Ratzinger’s entire thought.
The Regensburg address several years ago, which everyone remembers as if it were an assault on Islam, was in fact an assault on post-modernism. God as Logos, God as a Being super-eminently reasonable, logical in the best sense of the word, means that our human reason, our capacity to move towards apprehension of the truth, this fantastic human power which delivers, in a sense, the whole material universe into our hands through technological mastery—this human power in fact takes us beyond the material universe and into the very heart of God.
Reason does not merely give us scientific prowess, but opens us up for communion in love with God and one another. This is so alien to our whole understanding of reason in a positivistic technocratic world, yet it flows naturally and automatically from the Christian doctrine of creation. And this doctrine, then, and this understanding of reason, yields a whole theology and spirituality of communion, a vision of reality in which our humanity in its deepest and highest nature comes from God and is ordered towards God, and in which our whole apprehension and relationship with the created order is meant to be shaped and ordered by this God-ward orientation.