Den italienske filosofen (og ateisten) Marcello Pera har skrevet ei bok som heter “Vi må kalle oss kristne”, der pave Benedikt har skrevet et kort forord, som bl.a. inneholder setningen “Virkelig dialog mellom ulike religioner er ikke mulig.”
Dette skriver John Allen om i dag, og slik oversetter han pavens forord til engelsk: “You explain with great clarity that an interreligious dialogue, in the strict sense of the term, is not possible, while you urge intercultural dialogue that develops the cultural consequences of the religious option which lies beneath [a given culture]. While a true dialogue is not possible about this basic option without putting one’s own faith into parentheses, it’s important, in public exchange, to explore the cultural consequences of these religious options. Here, dialogue and mutual correction and enrichment are both possible and necessary.”
Put in sound-bite fashion, the pope’s line boils down to this: interreligious dialogue no, intercultural dialogue yes.
Her er litt mer om det John Allen skriver:
Pope Benedict XVI has said that “interreligious dialogue, in the strict sense of the term, is not possible” – a statement which, at face value, would seem to undercut 50 years of official dialogues with other faiths sponsored by the Catholic church, not to mention the theological vision of Nostrae Aetate, the document of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) on relations with non-Christian religions.
Among other things, the Vatican actually has its own Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, whose personnel may be surprised to learn that their work, according to the boss, is a logical non-starter. … …
For the record, Benedict’s line came as part of a brief letter to an old friend, Italian senator and philosopher Marcello Pera, which serves as the introduction to Pera’s new book, Why We Must Call Ourselves Christians. It went on sale Tuesday from the Italian publisher Mondadori. (In 2004, Pera and then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger coauthored a book about Europe titled Without Roots; Pera is perhaps the leading example of a peculiar phenomenon on the cultural right in today’s Europe, a self-professed atheist who nevertheless supports a revival of the Christian identity of the Old Continent on the grounds that it’s the only way to defend Europe’s humanistic values.)
Benedict is committed to the relationship; that was the spirit of his November 2006 trip to Turkey, and it was also obvious from his remarks on Nov. 6 to the new “Catholic/Muslim Forum,” a vehicle for dialogue launched in the wake of Islamic reaction to the pope’s September 2006 lecture at the University of Regensburg.
On Nov. 6, Benedict expressed hope that “the reflections and positive developments which emerge from Muslim-Christian dialogue are not limited to a small group of experts and scholars, but are passed on as a precious legacy to be placed at the service of all, to bear fruit in the way we live each day.” These are clearly not the sentiments of a pope who wants to shut down inter-faith exchange.
Yet Benedict does not understand the relationship with Islam in terms of theological exploration: how the Qur’an, for example, might inform new approaches to Christology. Rather, he’s focused on more practical questions, above all what the Vatican calls “reciprocity.” The question is, if Islamic immigrants in the West can claim the protection of the rule of law and of religious freedom, shouldn’t religious minorities in majority Islamic states get the same deal? The equal-and-opposite form of that question in the West, especially Europe, is how Western societies can express respect for religious diversity without cutting themselves off from their Christian roots.
More broadly, Benedict wants to emphasize how the world’s religions can collaborate in defense of common values, beginning with a robust public role for religious believers and extending into efforts on behalf of greater peace and justice. On that score, Benedict believes in a two-way exchange; that was the point of his reference to “mutual correction and enrichment” in his letter to Pera. … …
At least to some European ears, the phrase “interreligious dialogue” thus implies throwing in the towel on Europe’s Christian roots. Benedict XVI shares an aversion to that prospect with Pera — who, in his new book, argues that Western liberalism shorn of its basis in Christian values inevitably collapses under its own weight.
“The choice for Christianity,” Pera writes, “has produced the best results. That choice has great advantages, also in the arena of public ethics. It doesn’t separate morality from truth, it doesn’t confuse moral autonomy with free individual choice, it doesn’t treat individuals — born or unborn — as things, it doesn’t transform every desire into a right, and it doesn’t confine reason to the limits of science.”
It’s the defense of that set of transcendent values Benedict had in mind by calling interreligious dialogue “impossible” in the strict sense.
Of course, a pope is supposed to be a universal pastor, not a European cultural critic, and one might legitimately wonder if the rest of the world ought to be expected to automatically situate his declarations in the context of European cultural debate.