Saturday, February 17, 2007

It is indeed true that a new moralism exists today. Its key words are justice, peace, and the conservation of creation…But this moralism remains vague and almost inevitably remains confined to the sphere of party politics, where it is primarily a claim addressed to others, rather than a personal duty in our own daily life. For what does "justice" mean? Who defines it? What promotes peace? In the last decades, we have seen plenty of evidence on the streets and squares of our cities of how pacifism can be perverted into a destructive anarchism or, indeed, into terrorism. The political moralism of the 1970's, the roots of which are far from dead, was a moralism that succeeded in fascinating even young people who were full of ideals. But it was a moralism that took the wrong direction, since it lacked the serenity born of rationality. In the last analysis, it attached a higher value to the political utopia than to the dignity of the individual, and it showed itself capable of despising man in the name of great objectives.

The political moralism we have experienced, and still witness today, is far from opening a path to real regeneration: instead, it blocks the way. Consequently, the same is true of a Christianity and a theology that reduce the core of the message of Jesus, that is, the "kingdom of God", to the "values of the kingdom", identifying these values with the great slogans of political moralism while at the same time proclaiming that these slogans are the synthesis of religions. In this way, they forget God, although it is precisely he who is both the subject and the cause of the kingdom. All that remains in the place of God are the big words (and values) that are open to any kind of abuse. (Pope Benedict XVI: Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures pp. 27-29).

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