Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger Presents «Dominus Iesus» Decleration

If Everything Is Relative, Christianity Makes No Sense

VATICAN CITY, SEP 5 ( If everything is relative, not only Christianity but all religions are no more than useless theoretical musings, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger explained this morning, when presenting the «Dominus Iesus» Declaration to the press. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, of which he is prefect, prepared the declaration, which also forthrightly relaunches the ecumenical dialogue and discussions among religions.

Religions Are Not Comparable «In the lively contemporary debate on the relation between Christianity and other religions, the path is open to consider that all religions are equally valid roads to salvation for their followers. This is a widespread conviction today not only in theological environments, but also in ever greater sectors of Catholic and non-Catholic public opinion, especially those most influenced by the cultural orientation that prevails in the West today, which can be defined, without the fear of contradiction, by one word: relativism,» the Cardinal clarified.

However, if everything is relative, if all religions are comparable, the consequence is logical, the Cardinal stated: «Refusal to identify the historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth with the very reality of God, the living God.»

False Tolerance Cardinal Ratzinger, 73, believes that relativism ultimately leads to doing away with the Christian concept of Christ and his Church. In fact, a false idea of tolerance leads «to marginalizing those who are determined to defend the Christian identity and to spread the universal and salvific truth of Jesus Christ.»

«This false idea of tolerance is linked to the loss and renouncing of truth, which today is regarded by many as a second class, irrelevant question,» the Cardinal lamented. This tolerance, which accepts everything, and is not concerned with truth, is disguised by the malformation of concepts such as democracy, dialogue, or meeting of cultures, Cardinal Ratzinger emphasized.

Relative Religions? This is the weak spot of contemporary culture: as there is no seeking for truth, «faith is no longer distinguished from superstition, and experience from illusion.» In this way, the Cardinal who has led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for 19 years, said, «without a serious search for truth, appreciation for other religions becomes something absurd and contradictory, as there is no criterion to find out what is positive in a religion, as opposed to what is negative or the fruit of superstition or deception.»

Dialogue As regards the dialogue with other religions, Cardinal Ratzinger, a theologian who won international renown during Vatican Council II, specified that the idea that all religions in the world are complementary to Christian revelation «is erroneous.» However, everything that is good and true in religions must not be lost, what is more, it must be recognized and appreciated. Wherever good and truth are found, these come from the Father and are the work of the Spirit; the seeds of the Logos are spread everywhere. But we cannot close our eyes in face of errors and deceptions, which are also present in religions.

Finally, Cardinal Ratzinger concluded: «esteem and respect for the religions of the world, as well as for the cultures that have offered an objective enrichment to promoting human dignity and the development of civilization, do not diminish the unique and original character of the revelation of Jesus Christ, and do not limit in the least the missionary task of the Church.»

Church's Magisterium Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said during the press conference that when the Vatican publishes a «Declaration,» «it is not teaching new doctrines, but rather reaffirming and summarizing the doctrine of the Catholic faith defined or taught in previous documents of the Church's Magisterium, indicating its correct interpretation, in face of doctrinal errors or ambiguities diffused in today's theological and ecclesial ambience.»

In regard to the Declaration's authority, Bishop Bertone explained that «as it is a doctrinal document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, expressly approved by the Supreme Pontiff, it is part of the universal Magisterium. Because of this, although it is not an act of the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff himself, nevertheless it reflects his thought, as it was explicitly approved and confirmed by the Pope, and also indicates his will that its content be considered by the whole Church, as he himself ordered its publication.»

«Therefore, the faithful are asked for their definitive and irrevocable assent,» Bishop Bertone concluded.

Zenit - The World Seen From Rome

av Webmaster publisert 07.09.2000, sist endret 07.09.2000 - 15:53