Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Pope, liberte' and laicite'

Ratzinger argued that Fundamental Rights do not come from politics but from God.
He sent this message to a conference entitled Laicite' and Liberty. In his letter, he also holds that the liberal state is good if, and only if, it guarantees the right to one's faith and the other fundamental rights as they flow from God.

Ratzinger goes on sayint that Laicite' should not interpreted as in opposition to faith, but instead it should be understood as creating a space for everyone, individuals and groups, where to practice religious convictions.

It is somehow amusing that this Pope invokes a right to religious liberty and pluralism, when so many other times he has attacked pluralism, and any other truth not stemming from his own magisterium as far as religion is concerned.

In much the same way as Wojtila, Ratzinger has a double standard of judgements. When he plays in defense, he uses pluralism and tolerance as a shield from outsiders' attacks. When he plays in attack, he condemns pluralism and tolerance, and admonishes that there is only one truth: that stemming from the Vatican!

It is hard to square those two positions. And it would be very dangerous to accept any claim of the Pope over the interpretation of Fundamental Rights!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is as hard to square the two positions as you claim. Truth is by its very nature exclusivist: I say that two and two are four, someone else says they are five. I am reminded of W.B. Yeats' comment about "the Englishman's idea of a compromise": "Some people say there is a God. Other people say there is no God. The truth probably lies somewhere between these two statements." You seem to contradict yourself: in your third paragraph you say "any other truth not stemming form his own magisterium as far as religion is concerned", and in your fourth paragraph you say "admonishes that there is only one truth: that stemming from the Vatican!" I know perfectly well what you mean, but it is not the same as what you say.
You seem to think it is somehow hypocritical to proclaim that there is one truth (even though that truth may not be a truth), and at the same time proclaim tolerance. Of itself, known truth is not tolerant; but surely that does not mean that to be tolerant is somehow to be false.