Pope Benedikt the Radical

If you wish to read a good summary of Pope Benedikt's thoughts and actions during his time as pope, we can recommend nothing better than Andreas Dingstad's article in Aftenposten.

 <link http: www.aftenposten.no meninger kronikker pave-benedikt-den-radikale-7130809.html>

www.aftenposten.no/meninger/kronikker/Pave-Benedikt-den-radikale-7130809.html

The article is in Norwegian, here follows a brief summary:

Pope Benedict the Radical 

In a world which continues to be more brutalized, Pope Benedict’s insistence on the role of rational thought has been a radical counter argument.

Benedict has insisted that rational thought plays an important role in religion – it is through our senses that we humans can seek and find truth. Benedict states that faith and rational thought are not in conflict, rather that rational thought must be used to modify all religions. This springs from his premise that God’s nature is sensible and His creation rational, since it mirrors His nature.

In the modern world, the choice seems to be between extreme secularism and religious fundamentalism. Benedict says no, as rational beings we should use our ability to think rationally. God is neither irrational nor violent, and to perpetrate irrationality or violence in His name is in itself irrational.

Pope Benedict states that Europe is founded on three pillars: the philosophy of Athens, the rule of law of Rome and the biblical faith of Jerusalem. These three pillars have formed Europe’s fundamental identity, through our laws and our acceptance of the inborn dignity of human beings, and we are called upon to defend these values in our time.

Benedict was left to clear up after the tragedy of sexual transgressions in the Church. These shameful events have led to the establishment of institutionalized structures which will help prevent such transgressions in the future. No pope before him has done as much to increase awareness of the tragedy and place responsibility where it belongs.

In this, as in other matters, he has been a socially radical pope. He has, for example, shaped the Vatican to become the most environmentally friendly state in the world, through the use of solar panels. Yet in religious questions he has been a conservative pope, as in his views on abortion, woman priests and gay marriage.

One may well disagree with Pope Benedict, but the conflicting opinions lead to a dynamic Church, and the questions  he has posed are far too important to ignore, even in the post-christian, oil-rich Norway.