Full Text of Benedict XVI's speech
Thought some of you might find this interesting. Comments?
Link: Pope's Speech
ROUS  Dan Banham, Saturday, 9-23-06 10:48 PM
re: Full Text of Benedict XVI's speech
I have to say that I like this pope---honestly I like him a good bit more than I liked the previous pope. Partly that may be because I have a strong intrinsic distrust of charisma, but I think also because I think John Paul had too much of a tendency to modulate what he said to avoid giving offense. This pope on the other hand will not flinch from declaring, as Jesus did, that the only way to the Father is through Him.

The pope's comments about Islam in this speech are only a fairly small part of his address, but I think they were carefully chosen. In essence, Benedict is calling attention to the elephant in the room that (nearly) everyone else is feverishly trying to ignore---that being that Islam has, nearly since its inception, been a religion primarily spread by the sword (and perhaps also by way of the bonus taxation rate). The response of much of Islam simply serves to validate his diagnosis, in a manner perhaps evocative of a Monty Python sketch.
Benedict takes no small personal risk by making these statements. Indeed I believe that by figuratively (and perhaps literally) placing his own neck on the line he is fulfilling the office of Saint Peter.

In the rest of his address, he is calling for a reinvigoration of theological dialogue and inquiry using Reason (and of course, Scripture and Tradition), not simply with other religious traditions (such as Islam, Judaism, and Protestants like ourselves) but with society (and particular with the Western University) as a whole. Benedict is saying that Christianity has nothing to lose, and everything to gain from a forceful reentry into the 'marketplace of ideas'.
David C, Monday, 9-25-06 9:43 PM
re: Full Text of Benedict XVI's speech
First of all, in the spirit of healthy dialogue, I would like to ask, "Did we read the same speech?" I missed the part of the pope declaring that Jesus is the way the truth and the life. Now, I am not saying that it wasn't there, but I am saying that it was perhaps such a small part of the speech and that if you blink (or fall asleep at that particular point) you might miss it.

I get the point that the pope thinks we should return to reason and healthy dialogue - and that we have nothing to be afraid of. But I think he misses the real point. That is, maybe we should actually love people enough to want to talk to them even if they look different than us or have leaders that want to blow us up. And, what's more, I don't think the tenor of the pope's speech really resonates with the needs of society (maybe I'm a charisma junky and wouldn't have been keener on John Paul II).

I think the "forceful re-entry of Christianity into the marketplace of ideas" is be a good thing. The scary thing is that it will enter into that marketplace inside our bodies - with our emotional and intellectual hang-ups, and the only thing that will allow it to be salvaged is the compassion of Jesus and the mercy of a loving, invested God. The only way to access that is to recognize that unless God goes before us, unless we really care about these people who are lost enough to pray that God would open doors for them to hear who He is, our words will be empty and will fall on deaf ears.

I am glad that you have interchange in your workplace with different people than I do, David, because I think God has placed you there to equip you to talk to them, and, if I can, let me know how I can pray for you and for them. Your fiancee has my e-mail address.

Katy, Wednesday, 9-27-06 6:43 AM
re: Full Text of Benedict XVI's speech
I think it's interesting how two (or three, or fifteen) people can read the same article and come away with at least as many different understandings and interpretations of what was said, all filtered through their own peculiar world views, values, pet subjects, and etc.
Let's start with a given: the Pope's speech was highly scholarly - which is to say, dense and difficult to comprehend on the first or second reading. I found myself re-reading various paragraphs several times trying to "get them," and I don't have enough time to devote to it to guarantee success.
David, who (I'm sure he'll agree) is quite a lover of the rational method and an extreme "hard liner" as far as theology goes, sees the Pope saying "Jesus is the only way and we should re-enter the marketplace of ideas with our reason intact." In fact, he didn't say much at all about Jesus in his speech except to dispute and dismiss von Harnack's watering down of His importance.
Which isn't to say that the Pope wouldn't agree with David's distillation. Probably he would, based on the rest of what I (and presumably David) know about him.
Katy has a higher "F" factor, a *much* higher "P" factor, enjoys people and and "missionary stuff," and the more relational side of life. She probably saw the speech with its strong defense of rationalism as academic, non-relational, "cold" and without much resonance where it "really hurts."
[both of you, feel free to correct my wild characterizations: I figure you both know me well enough not to take offense.]

For my part, I see both sides. (That's the "people pleaser" part of my personality, don't know where in the INTJ profile that comes in!) Seriously, though, this was an academic speech to an academic audience, and I think he made a very strong case for ration in religion - he seems to be saying that it Is a valid tool to keep in our belts and we should never shy away from using it. I personally think this is Very important point. So many Christians come into Life thinking that they have to check their reason at the door - that science / reason and religion are in direct competion and conflict with each other and they obviously can't have both. They have to become anti-scientific, or else somehow hold two competing beliefs in their heads simultaneously without exploding. While some see that as a mark of intelligence, I see it as a gateway to insanity and uneffectiveness. It unecessarily waters down Christianity by creating a false dichotomy - a "dualism" - in which you have to keep your religion and your "real life" separate.

But back to the speech, I don't think he addressed at all the things Katy seems to be looking for: "how" to bring this reason, ration, and religion into the marketplace of ideas with love, respect, and caring. I don't think he was trying to. Should he have? I'm not sure.
A brief tangent: Couple months ago I read a long article by a Quaker who wanted to better understand Islam, and so he began practicing it - saying the prayers, participating in Ramadan, hanging out with his Muslim neighbors in their religious observances, etc. And it rankled with me. Not because I don't think that 98% of what he *did* could be perfectly valid and valuable given the right motivations. "When in Rome," and all that. What rankled was that nothing in this article gave me assurance that his *motivation* was to bring his Islamic friends to a true understanding of Christ. You could read the article as a complete cultural / religious relativist and not be offended. Which - since I am neither - bothered me. :)
Now, was I reasonable in my almost-dismisal of this man's methods and article simply because he didn't carefully reassure me that he was a doctrinal hard-liner? Possibly not.
But similarly perhaps looking for the Pope to reassure us that we must do all this reasoning with love, respect, and care is similarly unreasonable. It's not what he was talking about - it's not "who" he was talking to.
ROUS  Annette Collins, Wednesday, 9-27-06 5:36 PM
re: Full Text of Benedict XVI's speech
You'll note that in my remarks, I don't attribute the statment of Jesus as the only avenue to the Father to this particular example of Benedict's speech, but rather as an illustration of the difference between him and the previous pope. In a way, I'm almost vouching for his doctrinal 'bona fides' in the manner that Annette likely hoped to see from the Quaker practicing the Ramadan fast(something one of my friends at work, Yazan, has at times encouraged me to do).
I concur with Katy in that it is only the grace of God that allows the seed of the gospel to be fruitful when we spread it, but I'd argue that forcefully making the case for Christ even when it is likely cause offense is in fact what we are called to do. Benedict is also, I suppose, arguing that God needs to be taken as axiomatic within the Academy and not excluded based on the empirical tests of falsifiability popular in the mainstream of science. To face the prospect of violent retaliation (as Benedict indeed does in all likelihood probably an order of magnitude greater than any of our readers) for the sake of spreading the truth of Christ displays more love than I wager most have within us (insert mea culpa here :->).
David C, Wednesday, 9-27-06 6:41 PM
re: Full Text of Benedict XVI's speech
I was thinking about the audience factor briefly dicussed up above. I guess in all likelihood the pope wasn't even speaking to people who have a personal relationship with Christ, actually. They are just university students who happen to be studying theology and may be wondering themselves if what they are studying happens to be any better or worse, or more or less verifiable than Islam. Hmm. It's all very gray, isn't it?
Katy, Thursday, 9-28-06 6:20 AM
re: Full Text of Benedict XVI's speech
In some ways this link is related, in others it's way off topic.

To bring things slightly more on topic, I'll offer up my opinions on some of the touch-feely vs. intellectual side. I know that for myself, I respond better to intellectual reasoning. The more emotional appeal in something, the more likely I am to look at it with mistrust. (I know that emotions are necessary and probably good *grin*, but I don't fully trust them.) Given the audience, I think a more intellectually-driven speech was appropriate.
Link: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/53595
David, Wednesday, 10-4-06 12:17 PM
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