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The bequest of a great Pope


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The Objective

Onésimo Díaz

Master's Degree Professor of Christianity and Contemporary Culture

"A wise and holy pope has died. It is worth reading his writings and reflecting on his thought, a good guide for the third millennium, in which we are all embarked."

At first glance, one might think that Benedict XVI will go down in history as the Pope of the Withdrawal. However, this evaluation does not seem fair when the pontiff is placed in his historical context, that is, when his role in recent history is assessed.

In the 1980s, Cardinal Ratzinger, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, left his mark in two instructions requested by John Paul II on Liberation Theology, in which he explained the incompatibility of Marxist analysis with the Christian message.

In 2004, Ratzinger held a discussion with Habermas, probably the most prestigious philosopher of the last decades. The cardinal's talk was entitled "What binds the world together. The moral and pre-political instructions of the State". Among other things, he stated that the two great components of Western culture, faith and reason, were called to a meeting in the intercultural context of the beginning of the 21st century; and he invited us to search for the roots of Western culture, which were nourished by the Christian religion.

When he was elected pope, in his first Christmas address to the Roman Curia, speech , he emotionally recalled John Paul II. On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, he reflected briefly and profoundly on an interpretative line in favor of a balance between reform and continuity of the documents approved at the last Council.

In his first encyclical Deus caritas est (2005), he emphasized the role of the theological virtue of charity. With simplicity and depth he explained how God first loved creatures. First and foremost was love, God's love for women and men. In the second encyclical Spe Salvi (2007) he delved into another theological virtue: hope. He asked what eternal life was and answered that it would be infinite love, joy and meeting definitive with God. The third and last encyclical was entitled Caritas in veritate (2009). He lamented the lack of morality in institutions and financial practices, which had just led to a worrisome economic crisis. However, the message was intended to go beyond this situation. Thus, the pope appealed to individuals and social groups outside the traditional and outdated alliance between the state and the market. At final, the engine of the new economic order should be based on solidarity.

Benedict XVI perceived the arrival of a dictatorship of relativism, present in fashions, culture, laws and the media. The loss of the sense of truth and the search for substitutes in the trivial and transient was more and more frequent. A wise and holy pope has died. It is worth reading his writings and reflecting on his thought, a good guide for the third millennium, in which we are all embarked.