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jeudi, avril 21, 2005

Too much Pope will kill you�

Mark tells me he will not be blogging about the Pope. He finds the popularity of the subject irritating and is miffed by the non-believers are poking their nose in the affairs of the church. Funny. I cannot seem to think of anything else to blog about. It's just that this is not just about the church; not just about an absolutist head of a religious system. The new Benedictine Era is about so much more.

It's about Europe�
The new Constitutional Treaty is facing immense difficulties. K tells me that the most recent survey (following Chirac's TV antics) puts the Non ahead of the Oui at 52%. Although the result is far from definite, the perplexity and m�fiance with which the French are looking at this Treaty should provide food for thought. An article in today's Il Messaggero, analyses the undercurrents of this possible French refusal. The problem is that the French European vision was forged by De Gaulle and was intended to integrate Christian and illuminist tradition. The Gaullist idea was fashioned by first accepting Catholicism in the republic while at the same time adding to the roots of a France of Cathedrals and Saints the heritage of the universal rights of man. This cultural synthesis was discarded (or Giscarded, if you allow me) by Chirac's France. The lay state was imposed legislatively and through the denial of the Christian roots in the Treaty. The insistence of a European concept purely founded on positive rights left no place for tradition and common roots.
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Charles De Gaulle

The people do not seem to like this new Treaty. Its potential rejection poses an interesting question that might follow. A rejected treaty might be redefined. It might then be the time to ask the question whether we want a Europe that is exclusively a Europe of rights that places nations on an abstract level of equivalence or a Europe that recognises its traditions that also recognises the particular identities of the nations that form it?

Which brings us back to Benedict XVI. His Holiness will definitely not be sitting at the sidelines should the Treaty debate reopen. This will be an opportunity to stand against radical illuminism�an opportunity to reaffirm the limits of reason when it comes to the morality of man. Benedict XVI has already declared his willingness to renounce the guarantee to institutional rights given to the Church under article 52 of the Treaty � and I am sure he would be able to take home some results.

And Self-Interest?
Troilus commented on my Holy Smoke blog and worried about the self-interest attitude the new Pope might take. If I take that self-interest to mean a specific agenda � an agenda to fight for survival of the relevance of the Papacy in today's world then yes, there might be something to worry about. Here is a quote from an interview [la Repubblica] with Ratzinger when still Cardinal. In answer to a question about the relationship between law and morals his statement was not along the expected lines of morality creating law� rather the opposite�

"Il diritto crea la morale o una forma di morale, perch� la gente comunemente ritiene che quanto afferma il diritto sia anche moralmente lecito."

Interesting. Worrying. Normal people are weak, uninformed, irresponsible, and therefore construct their morals on the basis of a law and therefore on what political power dictates. Is our new Pope going to be influencing the political powers in an effort to get the right moral results?

From il Cardinale to il Cavaliere

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Silvio Berlusconi

So the Christian Democrats have done it. Silvio's government is down (Sorry, we are experiencing a temporary shutdown, the government should be up and running as soon as possible). Pier Ferdinando Casini has declared that either the new government is formed out of the same majority as the 2001 government or else it will be fresh elections. All is not quiet on the roman front. We shall see. We shall see.

3 commentaires:

Troilus a dit…

To begin with - thanks for misspelling my nickname :)

Seriously, though, I don't seem to have explained myself very well yesterday. My point about Ratzinger pursuing 'self-interested' policies isn't that he will exclusively pursue an agenda the successful outcome of which would mean that the Church and its values continued to be relevant in contemporary society. Were he to do so, every well-disposed observer would wish him luck and there would be no argument over the legitimacy of this or that decision. What I was referring to, however, was the fact that the exercise of his power does not only attain, shall we say, spiritual significance; it also connotes the concrete, and hardly idyllic, reality that the Church is an organisation, and much like the relationship between the CEO of a publicly-traded company and its shareholders, the Pope is charged not only with maintaining the purity of Catholic doctrine but looking out for the best interests of his organisation - in particular its financial and political interests. Furthermore wherever the profit motive is concerned - I won't even begin to talk of politics - morality often has, and must, take a back seat.

The shorter version of what I'm trying to say is that one should avoid looking at the actions of Ratzinger with rose-tinted eyeglasses.

Troilus a dit…

To begin with - thanks for misspelling my nickname :)

Seriously, though, I don't seem to have explained myself very well yesterday. My point about Ratzinger pursuing 'self-interested' policies isn't that he will exclusively pursue an agenda the successful outcome of which would mean that the Church and its values continued to be relevant in contemporary society. Were he to do so, every well-disposed observer would wish him luck and there would be no argument over the legitimacy of this or that decision. What I was referring to, however, was the fact that the exercise of his power does not only attain, shall we say, spiritual significance; it also connotes the concrete, and hardly idyllic, reality that the Church is an organisation, and much like the relationship between the CEO of a publicly-traded company and its shareholders, the Pope is charged not only with maintaining the purity of Catholic doctrine but looking out for the best interests of his organisation - in particular its financial and political interests. Furthermore wherever the profit motive is concerned - I won't even begin to talk of politics - morality often has, and must, take a back seat.

The shorter version of what I'm trying to say is that one should avoid looking at the actions of Ratzinger with rose-tinted eyeglasses.

Antoine Cassar a dit…

Jacques,

Prosit ta' dan il-post, g?ax ferm interessanti.

My belief was that one of the main reasons for French opposition to the Constitution, aside from the issue of Turkey and prior to the fracas which came about with regard to the Services directive, was a wish to ensure the building a more social Europe. Despite explicitly claiming to "safeguard" the current social model enjoyed by certain countries, the Lisbon Strategy seems to be taking us in the opposite direction. X'ta?seb? I sincerely hope we don't end up with a health system similar to that of the US, for example.