New Direction?

by Wayne Spencer - September 25, 2006
My first reaction to the news of Pope Benedict's remarks in Germany were a sense of outrage that a man with the background of Pope Benedict could be so unthinking. The remarks when taken out of context and especially taken out of the acedemic forum in which they were given presented what I then thought to be irresponsible.

I decided to read the entire text of the Pope's lecture as it was translated into English. Full text of lecture on Vatican webpage. Archived copy. After carefully reading the full text of the Pope's lecture I realized that in fact this was a talk given by a former acedemic and alumni returning to his university. This lecture was also in fact to fellow acedemics. In light of the forum and the context of his controversial Islamic remarks I found that the irresonsibity had to be in the sensationalized reporting of them.

Then later, upon further reflection, my feelings about the matter changed again for the third time. Here was a man, now Pope Benedict, speaking not as the Pope but as his former self, Joseph Ratzinger, an acedemic and member of the University of Regensburg alumni. The problem here, as I see it, is that he is no longer Joseph Ratzinger but he is the Pope and the leader of one of the most powerful institutions in the world. As such, he now has an awesume responsibility to speak in a very clear manner. So clear that it cannot be misinterpreted even when taken out of context.

I will admit, if it were not for the controversity I most likely would never had read the text of his lecture at Regensburg nor would I have ever heard about it. However, I did read it and then I read it carefully again. This time I was paying more attention to the content and the message that Pope Benedict seems to be clearly conveying. That message is that religion must be based upon reason. Now that message coming from a reportedly conservative Pope I find to be astounding.

Taken to its logical and "reasoned" conclusion would mean that we should elimiate the superstitions and preposterous dogmas of the Church. Dogmas such as the virgin birth, the assension and a host of other faith-based not reason-based beliefs. In other words, get back to the teachings of Christ with less emphasis on his birth and death and more emphasis on his life.

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Copyright © 2006 by Wayne Spencer - This article may be freely distributed with this copyright notice attached.