Monday, September 28, 2009

Beyond Left and Right

The Key for Freedom in Europe and America

By Carl Anderson

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, SEPT. 28, 2009 ( Benedict XVI has long made clear that Christianity does not believe in political messiahs. But again this weekend he reminded us that only faith in the true Messiah -- Jesus Christ -- can allow us to influence politics in a profoundly ethical way.

His words this past weekend in the Czech Republic -- a country celebrating 20 years since the collapse of communism -- have important implications for all of Europe and for the American continent -- two places whose history is inseparable from Christianity.

Speaking in the Czech Republic at an ecumenical meeting Sunday, the Pope noted, “As Europe listens to the story of Christianity, she hears her own. Her notions of justice, freedom and social responsibility, together with the cultural and legal institutions established to preserve these ideas and hand them on to future generations, are shaped by her Christian inheritance.”

And, Pope Benedict explained, Christianity must not be limited to the margins of society. Religious liberty must be protected, and Christianity must have a voice in the public arena, in shaping the conscience of the continent, and in bringing moral consensus.

Speaking to Czech government officials on Saturday, he said, “I wish to underline the irreplaceable role of Christianity for the formation of the conscience of each generation and the promotion of a basic ethical consensus that serves every person who calls this continent, ‘home!’”

And he noted that believers should always come to their politics from the perspective of their Christianity -- and should not subject Christianity to a political interpretation. He said, “Sensibility to universal truth should never be eclipsed by particular interests, important though they may be, for such would lead only to new examples of the social fragmentation or discrimination which those very interest or lobby groups purport to overcome.”


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