This isn't the first time Ratzinger said this but it meant a lot to me to hear him say it, very visibly, and on American soil. John Courtney Murray is smiling in heaven tonight.
quote:“What I find fascinating about the United States is that it was born with a positive concept of secularism. This new people was made up of communities and persons who had fled from state Churches, and they wanted a secular state in order to open up the possibility for all confessions to practice their religion. They were secular precisely out of love for religion, for the authenticity of religion, which can be lived only in freedom. [....] This seems fundamental and positive to me, [...] to be considered also in Europe.”
quote:On the one hand, he said, collective action by the international community is needed to solve the planet's greatest challenges.
On the other, "we experience the obvious paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few."
He referenced, regarding various interventions, the juridical means provided in the United Nations Charter and in other international instruments.
I'm hoping there is more nuance in the Vatican's official approach because the US has legitimate concerns, in my view, about the moral legitimacy of some aspects of the UN. Specifically, there are no too few undemocratic countries that are cynically and paradoxically invoking the UN's democratic structure in an effort to coerce the US and our democratic allies in a direction that is not always prudent or even moral.
While it is true that not all Western values are universal values, I do not think that our Western democracies are being elitist or condescending when we agree, for example, with what Bill Buckley once said:
quote:I think Blair correctly says that our values are superior to those who seem to deny human rights. That is an academic demonstration, and a historical demonstration ...
Good exchange between Will and Buckley. And I like the quote from the Pope in your opening post. The emergence of secular democratic government in the U.S. has led to a flowering of religious life here, while in Europe it has gone the other way. Of course, those are highly simplistic correlations ignoring many other factors, none the least of which is the decline in religious affiliation among Americans during the past two decades.
-------------------- "The Light shines on in darkness . . ." - John 1: 3 - Posts: 7539 | From: Wichita, KS | Registered: Aug 2001
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Very insightful comments by Ratzinger. I think this time he is right on the mark.
I think it is essential to distinguish between religion and religiosity. This distinction is, unfortunately, rarely made when issues such as these are discussed.