Cardinal Ratzinger on the Banishment of God From Public Life

Receives St. Benedict Award for Promotion of Life and Family

SUBIACO, Italy, APRIL 11, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger says that believers are faced with the tendency to banish God from public life and confine him to the "subjective realm of past residual cultures."

On April 1, when receiving the St. Benedict Award for the Promotion of Life and the Family in Europe, conferred by the Subiaco Foundation for Life and the Family, the dean of the College of Cardinals delivered an address on the present crisis of culture and identity, especially in the Old World.

After stating that "moral force has not grown apace with the development of science but, on the contrary, has diminished," Cardinal Ratzinger explained that "the most serious danger at this time is precisely the imbalance between technical possibilities and moral energy."

He gave two examples: the threat of terrorism and the possibility to manipulate the origin of human life.

The then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- almost all heads of Vatican dicasteries lost their posts when John Paul II died -- pointed out that "Europe has developed a culture that, in a way previously unknown to humanity, excludes God from the public consciousness, either by denying him altogether or by judging that his existence cannot be demonstrated, is uncertain and, therefore, somewhat irrelevant to public life."

An attempt is being made "to build the human community absolutely without God," the cardinal stressed.

"The rejection of reference to God is not an _expression of tolerance which wishes to protect non-theist religions and the dignity of atheists and agnostics, but rather an _expression of the desire to see God banished definitively from humanity's public life, and driven into the subjective realm of residual cultures of the past," he warned.

For the cardinal, the starting point of this view is "relativism," which has become "a dogmatism that believes it is in possession of the definitive knowledge of reason, and with the right to regard all the rest as a stage of humanity, which has basically been surpassed, and which can be suitably relativized."

At this rate, Cardinal Ratzinger added, we will no longer "be able to affirm that homosexuality, as the Catholic Church teaches, is an objective disorder of the structure of human existence."

"The fact that the Church is convinced of not having the right to confer priestly ordination on women, is now considered by some as irreconcilable with the European Constitution," he added.

In the final part of his address, Cardinal Ratzinger explained that "we need roots to survive and we must not lose them from sight if we do not want human dignity to disappear."

"Only creative reason, which has been manifested in the crucified God as love, can really show us the way," he said. "We need men who will keep their sight on God, learning there" what "true humanity" is, as "only through men touched by God, can God again be close to men."