In his Christmas speech, Pope Benedict XVI, once again raised some interesting points that make many observers reconsider their position towards “Conservative” Cardinal Ratzinger. The Pope once again invoked the conclusions of the II Vatican Council in the most positive manner. In this way the Pope gave those who doubt that he is in fact a hidden reformer (by no means “merely the Administrator” of The previous Pope) a reason to believe that they are in fact right.
In his speech the Pope continued with the line of the Church aspiring to play the role of the counterweight to the ruthless globalization and spiritless technological development. The pope said that the “technological man is risking spiritual atrophy” and that the “new global order” should be founded on a more just economic system. Moreover, the Pope argued that we should take more care of the way in which we use the natural resources of our planet since the way in which we progress with the technological development can put into question its very existence.
All these points seem valid from the point of view of those who are concerned by the way in which we manage the processes of globalization and technological development. The question to be raised, however, is whether the very dogma of Christianity (and the ways in which we interpret it) has the appropriate structure to play the role of the critical corrective to the very idea of Progress.
It can be argued that there is an incremental link between Christianity, the hope of salvation, and the belief in Progress as an immanently positive occurrence. In her novel, “Hadrian's Memoirs” Marguerite Yourcenar, or better Emperor Hadrian, argues, “every man during his brief life faces an eternal choice between tireless hope and wise absence of hope…”, while Hadrian opts for the later, Christianity opts for the first. “Tireless hope”, is something Christianity and Ideology of Progress have in common. While, of course, “tireless hope” can be interpreted in a different manner, as to produce different political choices, it is legitimate to ask whether we need a wholly new foundational philosophy (instead of Christianity) to use as a base for a “new global order”?
Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate Christmas according to the Gregorian Calendary.
Hristos Se Rodi, for 7th of January 2006, when I, and most of the Orthodox Serbs, Celebrate Christmas.