Thursday, September 28, 2006

The "other" part of that speech

I've assiduously avoided commenting on the Pope's speech at Regensburg for several reasons, none of them particularly good. However, my Pope John Paul II quote-a-day calendar gave me a surprise the other day by addressing the "other" part of his speech - you know, the one not about Islam. The part that probably was intended to be to focal point of the speech, at least to the local audience to whom it was delivered.

Modern rationalism does not tolerate mystery. It does not accept the mystery of man as male and female nor is it willing to admit that the full truth about man has been revealed in Jesus Christ. In particular, it does not accept the great mystery proclaimed in the Letter to the Ephesians, but radically opposes it. For rationalism, it is unthinkable that God should be the redeemer, much less that He should be the bridegroom, the primordial and unique source of the human love between spouses. Rationalism provides a radically different way of looking at creation and the meaning of human existence. But once man begins to lose sight of a God who loves him, a God who calls man through Christ to live in Him and with Him, and once the family no longer has the possibility of sharing in the great mystery, what is left except the mere temporal dimension of life? -- (Letter to Families for the International Year of the Family, 1994)
I am struck repeatedly by the similarity in thought between John Paul II and Benedict. While I knew the "God's Rottweiler" routine was a joke at best I hadn't expected this level of continuity. Looking back now, I have absolutely no idea why I thought that way - it seems positively silly. Unfortunately, I think many are still allowing themselves to be stuck in their preconceived notions of what this Pope and this pontificate will bring. I am heartened to see he has not allowed these short-sighted people to deter him from speaking what needs to be said