Friday, April 9, 2010

God yes, Church no?

Excerpts of an interview with Cardinal Ratzinger. I put together here my own translation of the interview found here and a partial translation that is found here.

Numerous people asked Vatican Radio to rerun the broadcast of this interview when Ratzinger was elected Pope.

Q: An expression that is sadly used today is "God yes, Church no." You were very much concerned about this. Can you please clarify?

Cardinal Ratzinger: Yes, because by saying "God yes, or perhaps even Christ yes, Church no," I create a God, based on what I want him to be, based on my own ideas and desires.

God is no longer a particular individual in front of me, but is converted into my vision, something I have, and therefore something that is a response to my own ideas.

God becomes a true individual, a true judge of my being, and thus the true light in my life, if he is not only my idea, if he lives in a concrete reality, if he truly is before me, and cannot be manipulated by my own ideas and desires.

Thus, when I separate God from the reality in which God is present and speaks to the Earth, this means I don't take this God seriously, a God who can be manipulated according to my own needs and desires. That is why I find this distinction a bit fictitious.

Q: You also speak about a tendency nowadays to agree with the expression "God no, religion yes."

Cardinal Ratzinger:
This is another aspect of the problem today: We look for something religious that gives us a certain degree of satisfaction. Humanity wants to meet the infinite, to have the answers about that other dimension, that "other side" that exudes the sweetness and hope that material things cannot give.

I really think this is a big trend today: separating yourself from the need of faith, from a concrete "yes" to God that is full of meaning.

People are looking more for feelings of satisfaction, for a type of anonymous mysticism which provides some respite, but without the need to truly commit themselves.

While it can be very nice to enter into this mystical dimension -- without any commitment, any response from myself -- you end up with something empty, merely satisfying immediate wants and you still remain in the prison of your ego.

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