Cahiers Péguy

24Sep/111

a focus of Pope Benedict’s ecumenical and interfaith dialog efforts

I was struck by Pope B16's Address to The Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany. He gave this address at the Former Augustinian Convent, Erfurt, which is a place of huge historical significance in Protestantism, especially for Lutherans. Here is what struck me most about his visit to Germany so far. He didn't lift the excommunication against Martin Luther, he didn't talk about Sola Fide (Salvation by Faith Alone) or Sola Scriptura (By Scripture Alone), but he intentionally chose to talk about secularism.

In similar ways it is the same theme he has been addressing in interfaith dialog with Muslims as well. (Refer to an earlier post about that point here - Interfaith Dialog with Muslims.) It's a topic or nail he hits right on the head in his most recent interview with Peter Seewald - Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and the Signs Of The Times.

The biggest threat or enemy of man, ancient or modern, is Satan, but what means is he (Satan) using to achieve his goals in our day? Pope B16 is preaching from the rooftops that it is secularism, a culture which denies the existence of God. Protestants are not our enemy, Muslims are not our enemy (even in Europe), but those who deny the supernatural breaking into our material world.

Now one can make a very persuasive argument that Protestantism because of its nominalism and radical separation of the spiritual from temporal realms is one the primary or fundamental causes of Secularism, first in the Europe which then spread throughout the entire world, but that is a topic of conversation for another day.

I would be curious to hear what others think about this matter.

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  1. It is interesting, since during his tenure at the Holy Office he was instrumental in producing ‘Domine Iesus’ which caused headaches for Curial ecumenists such as Card. Kasper. It’s also intriguing in light of his deep fondness for Newman, who moved away from the Evangelical roots of his youth to assert later in life that there was no such thing as Christianity, only the Church.


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