Ratzinger writes Odifreddi: never covered abuses

Breviary

The Pope Emeritus in a letter to the mathematician says the book "Dear Papa, I write": "The abuses by priests I take note with deep concern."


Tuesday, September 24, 2013 14:02


Ratzinger scrive a Odifreddi: mai coperto abusi

About "moral abuse of minors by priests, I can only take note with deep consternation. I never tried to hide these things. " He wrote the Pope Emeritus Joseph Ratzinger, in a letter he sent to the mathematician Piergiorgio Odifreddi, commenting on the book "Dear Papa, I write."

"May the power of evil -he wrote Benedict XVI still penetrate up to the point in the inner world of faith and 'suffering for us that we have to endure one hand, while on the other we must at the same time doing everything possible to ensure cases like this do not happen again. " "If you do not remain silent about evil in the Church -he continued Ratzinger- we must not remain silent even the great shining path of goodness and purity that the Christian faith has traced through the centuries."

Here is the full text of the letter to Ratzinger:

Ill. mo Mr. Professor Odifreddi, (...) I would like to thank you for trying to deal with in detail since my book and so with my faith; just that is largely what I meant in my address to the Roman Curia for Christmas 2009. My thanks also for the way he treated loyal my text, seeking earnestly to do it justice.

My opinion about your book as a whole is, however, in itself rather mixed. I read some parts with enjoyment and profit. In other parts, however, I was surprised by a certain aggressiveness and dell'avventatezza argumentation. (...)

Several times, she pointed out to me that theology would be fiction. In this respect, I'm surprised that you, however, feel my book worthy of a discussion so detailed. Let me suggest about this issue four points:

1. It is correct to say that "science" in the strictest sense of the word it is just math, but I learned from you that here should still distinguish between arithmetic and geometry. In all subjects the specific scientific has every time its shape, according to peculiarities of its object. It is essential that you apply a verifiable method, excludes arbitrariness and ensure rationality in their different ways.

2. She should at least recognize that, in history and in that of philosophical thought, theology has produced lasting results.

3. An important function of theology is to keep religion linked to reason and reason to religion. Both functions are of vital importance for humanity. In my dialogue with Habermas I showed that there are pathologies of religion and - no less dangerous - pathologies of reason. They both need each other, and keep them constantly connected is an important task of theology.

4. Science fiction exists, moreover, in the context of many sciences. What She exposes the theories about the beginning and the end of the world in Heisenberg, Schrödinger etc., The designerei as science fiction in a good way: they are visions and advances, to come to a true knowledge, but are, in fact, only imaginations with we try to get closer to reality. There is, moreover, science fiction in style right even within the theory of evolution. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins is a classic example of science fiction. The great Jacques Monod wrote sentences that he has inserted in his work certainly just as fiction. I quote: "The emergence of vertebrates tetrapods ... draws its origin from the fact that a primitive fish" chose "to go and explore the land, on which, however, was unable to move except hopping clumsily and creating, as a result of a modification of behavior, the selective pressure thanks to which would have developed the sturdy limbs of tetrapods. Among the descendants of this bold explorer, Magellan of this evolution, some can run at a speed of 70 kilometers per hour ... " (quoted according to the Italian edition Chance and Necessity, 2001, pp. 117 ff.).

In all the issues discussed so far it is a serious dialogue, for which I - as I've said repeatedly - I am grateful. The situation is different in the chapter on the priest and Catholic morality, and even otherwise in the chapters on Jesus. As for what you say moral abuse of minors by priests, I can - as you know - take note only with deep consternation . I never tried to hide these things. That the power of evil penetrate up to the point in the inner world of faith is for us a suffering that, on the one hand, we have to endure, while, on the other hand, we must at the same time, do everything possible to ensure that such cases do not repeated. Nor is it reassuring to know that, according to the research of sociologists, the percentage of priests guilty of these crimes is not higher than that found in other professional equivalent. In any case, you should not submit this deviation ostentatiously as if it were a specific filth of Catholicism.

If you do not remain silent about evil in the Church, we must not, however, silenced even the great shining path of goodness and purity, that the Christian faith has traced through the centuries. You have to remember the great figures and also that faith has produced - by Benedict of Nursia and his sister Scholastica, Francis and Clare of Assisi, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, the great saints of charity like Vincent de Paul and Camillo de Lellis to Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the great and noble figures of the nineteenth century Turin. It is true today that faith pushes many people to selfless love, service to others, to sincerity and justice. (...)

What you say about Jesus is not worthy of His rank scientific. If she raises the question as if Jesus, after all, did not know anything about Him, as a historical figure, nothing had ascertained, then I can only invite so decided to make a little 'more competent from a historical point of view. I recommend this especially for the four volumes that Martin Hengel (exegete from the Protestant Theological Faculty of Tübingen) published together with Maria Schwemer: is an excellent example of historical accuracy and very large historical information. Faced with this, what you say about Jesus is talking reckless that should not be repeated. Exegesis that were written also many things to lack of seriousness is, unfortunately, an indisputable fact. The American seminary of Jesus that you cite on pages 105 ff. only confirms again what Albert Schweitzer had noticed about the Leben-Jesu-Forschung (Research on the life of Jesus) and that is that the so-called "historical Jesus" is mostly reflects ideas of the authors. These forms botched job center, however, does not affect at all the importance of serious historical research, which has led us to true knowledge and secure about the announcement and the figure of Jesus.

(...) I also have forcefully rejected his assertion (p. 126) that would have presented the historical-critical exegesis as a tool of the Antichrist. Treating the account of the temptations of Jesus, I have only taken the thesis Soloviev, that the historical-critical exegesis can also be used by the antichrist - which is an indisputable fact. At the same time, however, always - and in particular in the introduction to the first volume of my book on Jesus of Nazareth - I explained clearly that the historical-critical exegesis is required for a faith that does not propose myths with historical images, but demands a real historicity and therefore must present the historical reality of his statements in a scientific way. For this is not even correct that you tell me that I would be interested only in the meta: quite the contrary, all my efforts are intended to show that the Jesus described in the Gospels is also the real historical Jesus; that it is history actually took place. (...)

With the 19th chapter of his book back to the positive aspects of your dialogue with my thoughts. (...) Even if your interpretation of Jn 1,1 is very far from what the evangelist meant, however there is a convergence that is important. If you, however, wants to replace God with "Nature", the question remains, who or what is this nature. Nowhere She defines and thus appears as a deity irrational that explains nothing. I would, though, especially to note that even in His religion of mathematics three basic themes of human existence are not considered: freedom, love and evil. I'm surprised you with a single nod liquids that while freedom was and is the core value of the modern era. Love, in your book, and also appears on the bad there is no information. Whatever neurobiology say or do not say about freedom, the real drama of our history as it is actually crucial and must be taken into account. But His religion does not know any information about the math wrong. A religion that ignores these fundamental questions remain empty.

Ill. mo Mr. Professor, my criticism of your book in part is tough. But the dialogue is part frankness; only thus can grow knowledge. She was very frank and so I accept that it is. In any case, however, I value very positively the fact that you, through His confront my Introduction to Christianity, has sought a dialogue so open with the faith of the Catholic Church and that, despite all the odds, the central part, not missing altogether convergences.

With best regards and every good wish for your work.

drafting

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