12/07/2012, 00.00
VATICAN

"Forgetfulness of God" leads to relativism which engenders violence, says pope

Speaking to the International Theological Commission, Benedict XVI denies the claim that religions are bearers of violence because they assert the existence of a universal truth. "Without openness to the transcendent, which allows us to find answers to questions on the meaning of life and how to live a moral life, mankind becomes unable to act in accordance with justice and work for peace."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "It is the forgetfulness of God that immerses human societies in a form of relativism, which inevitably generates violence" because "When you deny the opportunity for people to refer to an objective truth, dialogue is rendered impossible and violence, whether declared or hidden, becomes the rule of law of human relationships." In saying so, Benedict XVI rejected "the notion that religions, especially the monotheistic religions, would inherently be bearers of violence, mainly because of the claim that they advance the existence of a universal truth. Some believe that only the 'polytheism of values' can guarantee tolerance and civil peace and conform to the spirit of a pluralistic democratic society."

Speaking before the plenary session of the International Theological Commission, centred on the Year of Faith, Benedict XVI stressed in particular the "the specific and irreplaceable role of Magisterium" so as to reflect on the faith and life of the Church, noting that the Council had already insisted on the fact "that the whole People of God participates in Christ's prophetic office".

The sensus fidei is a "gift" that "constitutes in the believer a kind of supernatural instinct that has a connatural life with the same object of faith. It is a criterion for discerning whether or not a truth belongs to the deposit of the living apostolic tradition. It also has a propositional value because the Holy Spirit does not cease to speak to the Churches and lead them to the whole truth. Today, however, it is particularly important to clarify the criteria used to distinguish the authentic sensus fidelium from its counterfeits. In fact, it is not some kind of public opinion of the Church, and it is unthinkable to mention it in order to challenge the teachings of the Magisterium, this because the sensus fidei cannot grow authentically in the believer except to the extent in which he or she fully participates in the life of the Church, and this requires a responsible adherence to her Magisterium."

"Today, this same supernatural sense of the faith of believers leads to strong reactions against the notion that religions, especially the monotheistic religions, would inherently be bearers of violence, mainly because of the claim that they advance the existence of a universal truth. Some believe that only the 'polytheism of values' can guarantee tolerance and civil peace and conform to the spirit of a pluralistic democratic society."

"The Lord attests to a radical rejection of all forms of hatred and violence in favour of the absolute primacy of agape. If, therefore, in history there have been or are forms of violence carried out in the name of God, these are not to be attributed to monotheism, but historical causes, mainly the result of human errors. Rather it is the forgetfulness of God that immerses human societies in a form of relativism, which inevitably generates violence. When you deny the opportunity for people to refer to an objective truth, dialogue is rendered impossible and violence, whether declared or hidden, becomes the rule of law of human relationships. Without openness to the transcendent, which allows us to find answers to questions on the meaning of life and how to live a moral life, mankind becomes unable to act in accordance with justice and work for peace."

"If the failure of the relationship between mankind and God brings with it a deep imbalance in the relationship between men themselves, reconciliation with God, brought about by the Cross of Christ "our peace" (Eph, 2:14) is the fundamental source unity and fraternity.

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