By Cardinal Ratzinger
"In principio erat Verbum" — at the beginning of all things stands the creative power of reason.
Now as then, Christian faith represents the choice in favor of the priority of reason and of rationality....can reason really renounce its claim to the priority of what is rational over the irrational, the claim that the Logos is at the ultimate origin of things, without abolishing itself? ...
Even today, by reason of its choosing to assert the primacy of reason, Christianity remains "enlightened," and I think that any enlightenment that cancels this choice must, contrary to all appearances, mean, not an evolution, but an involution, a shrinking, of enlightenment.
In the way early Christianity saw things, the concepts of nature, man, God, ethics and religion were indissolubly linked together and that this very interlinking contributed to make Christianity appear the obvious choice in the crisis concerning the gods and in the crisis concerning the enlightenment of the ancient world.
The orientation of religion toward a rational view of reality as a whole, ethics as a part of this vision, and its concrete application under the primacy of love became closely associated. The primacy of the Logos and the primacy of love proved to be identical.
The Logos was seen to be, not merely a mathematical reason at the basis of all things, but a creative love taken to the point of becoming sympathy, suffering with the creature. The cosmic aspect of religion, which reverences the Creator in the power of being, and its existential aspect, the question of redemption, merged together and became one.
Every explanation of reality that cannot at the same time provide a meaningful and comprehensible basis for ethics necessarily remains inadequate. Now the theory of evolution, in the cases where people have tried to extend it to a "philosophia universalis," has in fact been used for an attempt at a new ethos based on evolution. Yet this evolutionary ethic that inevitably takes as its key concept the model of selectivity, that is, the struggle for survival, the victory of the fittest, successful adaptation, has little comfort to offer.
Even when people try to make it more attractive in various ways, it ultimately remains a bloodthirsty ethic. Here, the attempt to distill rationality out of what is in itself irrational quite visibly fails. All this is of very little use for an ethic of universal peace, of practical love of one's neighbor, and of the necessary overcoming of oneself, which is what we need.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
By Cardinal Ratzinger