Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Christian Approach to Politics

"Thus the first service to politics rendered by the Christian faith is that it liberates man from the irrationality of political myths, which are the real threat of our time.Taking a stand for sobriety, which does what is possible and does not cry with an ardent heart for the impossible, is of course always difficult; the voice of reason is not as loud as the cry of unreason. The cry of the grandiose project has the cachet of morality; restricting one's self to what is possible, in contrast, seems to be the renunciation of moral passion, mere faint-hearted pragmatism. But as a matter of fact, political morality consists in precisely of resisting the seductive force of the big words for which humanity and its chances are being gambled away. The moral thing is not adventurous moralism, which tries to mind God's business, but rather honesty which accepts man's limits and does man's work with them. Not the uncompromising stance, but compromise is the true morality in political matters."
- from the book, Church, Ecumenism, and Politics: New Endeavors in Ecclesiology, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), pp144-145.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


From, The Religious Sense (pp. 118-119), by Luigi Giussani

What we have just said explains why all of humanity's authentic religious traditions have referred to mystery, that is to say, spoken about God in negative terms: in-finite, im-mense, im-measurable, in-effable, that which cannot be spoken, unknown, that unknown god to which the Athenians had consecrated an altar. And even if certain words do seem positive -- for example, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent -- they are in fact, negative from the standpoint of experience because they do not correspond to anything in our experience. They are positive only in a formal way and to understand them we must negate our own way of being powerful, or of knowing. Likewise, we use certain phrases: God is goodness, God is justice, God is beauty. They are starting points which, if multiplied, enrich the presentiment we have of this ultimate Object. But they cannot be definitions of this Object, because God is goodness, but he is not goodness in the way that we know goodness; God is love, but not love as we know it; God is person, but not as we are persons. However, these are not meaningless, purely nominalistic terms. Rather, they are expressions that intensify the way we relate to, draw closer to the Mystery. They are the openings to the Mystery.