nicknamed Panzercardinal, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has just been buried. His brand image remains that of a man whose inalienable humanism is still misunderstood. Shy and modest, he was distinguished by the immensity of his knowledge and the inflexible rigidity of his thinking, which did not protect him from gross mistakes. Possessing knowledge and culture, Joseph Ratzinger achieved a harmonious synthesis of Thomas Aquinas, the most prominent Catholic theologian, and Enea Silvo Piccolomini, the greatest humanist of the Renaissance, and Pope Pius II. Will history justify him?
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Unfortunately, public opinion retains only two moments of the career of Joseph Ratzinger or Benedict XVI as an exceptional intellectual and a churchman who understood the mission of service. Controversy surrounding his speech on September 12, 2006, known as the “Regensburg Controversy,” continues. Similarly, according to his letter, he is openly accused of traditional fundamentalism the owner of the motu April 7, 2007 Summorum Pontificum, he sought to restore liturgical peace within the Latin Church. The fundamentalist excesses of certain traditionalist circles will prompt the current Pope Francis to review the terms of application in his work. the owner of the motu From December 4, 2021 Guardianship traditions, to avoid the risks of destabilizing the achievements of the Second Vatican Council. It is up to historians to unravel the complex web of these disputes. The figure of Benedict XVI remains that of a great mind with wide and vast knowledge. A shy and humble man, he dedicated his whole life to the service of the three pillars of the Church according to his convictions: witness to the truth, the sacred mission of the liturgy and above all diakonia or charitable service. In short, he always wanted, like all great men, to be the “useless servant” that his predecessor Celestine V (1210-1296) had once done, which led to his abdication in 2013.
We will remember two main moments of his papacy in the socio-political field. On the one hand, the speech he made on September 12, 2008 at Bernardin College in Paris, which literally stunned intellectuals from all over the world of culture. On the other hand, he addressed the political and diplomatic world on September 15, 2012 at the Presidential Palace in Baab, Lebanon, during his last official visit before abdicating. Baabda’s speech is in a way his political testament.
Speech of the Bernardines (12/09/2008)
Undoubtedly, it is one of the monuments of holistic humanism, through which Benedict XVI reveals the scale of reflection that covers the entire history of Western thought. He begins with an observation made by the theologian Henri de Lubac before him, in the context of the “drama of atheistic humanism” that emerged in the 18th century.Enlightenment (Enlightenment philosophy). Rejecting anthropocentric atheistic humanism, Ratzinger does not want to return to the theocentric humanism of the Middle Ages, emphasizing the superior value of human labor. Man is neither a slave nor a fierce opponent of God. In the Bernardines, Benedict XVI affirms that “the work and determination of history by man is a collaboration with the Creator.” Clarifying his point, he continues: “Where this dimension is missing and man elevates himself to the rank of deformer, the transformation of the world can easily lead to his destruction.” It’s all said and done. Man is superior to the angels because of his physicality, which allows him to dominate the forces of chaos. Without the concern for transcendence dear to Ratzinger, one must only allow oneself to want to dominate and possess this Mother Nature. Man participates in the creation of this god, whom he resembles through the work of his mind and hands. In the world, man drinks from two sources: the culture of work and the culture of speech, that is, the mind. The latter, faced with nature, is no longer the implacable Mother Nature, but man’s companion on the paths of history, where human labor continues to develop thanks to Reason and the tools it makes. It corresponds to the revolution created by advanced scientific thought, which has been dubbed The New Pact by Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, thus defining the relationship between the human mind and the reality it perceives. The speech of the Bernardians also intends to create a new alliance between man and God. Such is the first profile of integral humanism revealed in J. Ratzinger. Humanism in harmony with all creation and itself; humanism open to transcendence and rational, alive and dynamic; an effective humanism that works for the common good of people and the dignity of all. A person is no longer a stranger in an incomprehensible world that will appear as a result of a random and arbitrary coincidence.
Speech of Baabda (15/09/2012)
This inseparable humanism is the basis of Benedict XVI’s speech at the Presidential Palace in Baab on September 15, 2012, during his official visit to Lebanon, the last of his pontificate. This humanism reconciled with transcendence becomes a necessary condition for politics itself and for the establishment of peace in regions shaken by violence. This discourse forms the basis of political order as the organization of human space so that man can achieve his natural goals from birth to death and prepare for supernatural goals. It is a lively and exemplary plea, unique since then A conversation about human dignity, by Pic de la Mirandole, in favor of an original and rediscovered humanism that does not pit man and God as belligerently as atheistic humanism. Here is the innovation that should form a platform for dialogue between the broken Western modernity and the full-blown Islam. That day, the public at Baabda had the honor of discovering for the first time an exceptional synthesis of the concept of the inalienable dignity of the human person as an end in itself.
It can be said that the Lebanese political caste, uneducated by definition, cannot comprehend the content of such a thought based on the finitude and dignity of every human being. “[…] cultural, social, religious differences must lead to a new type of brotherhood, where what unites precisely is the common thought of the greatness of each person. […] The road to peace is there.” His rejection of any verbal and physical violence is justified because it is always “an attack on human dignity, the dignity of both the author and the victim”. the name of the right of such and such a confession can only therefore be an expression of evil. The latter is “not an anonymous force acting impersonally in the world (…) Evil passes through human freedom (…) It seeks an ally, man”. Through forgiveness given and received promoting a culture of goodness and peace, warning that “the inaction of good men must not allow evil to triumph. Doing nothing is worse.”
He closes by urging his listeners to do everything possible to preserve “these few thoughts about peace, dignity of the person, family values, dialogue” that are not “ideals simply expressed.” […]. Now more than ever, Lebanon is called to be an example.”
A decade later, these words remain a dead letter in the eyes of Lebanese leaders, including Christians, who are only interested in power, revenge, tribal clannishness and the narcissistic rights of religious groups.
Has the Lebanese politician today become a privileged ally of the evil created by this great spirit created by Benedict XVI?