3 Responses to “A Conflict over Human Nature”

  1. James De Silva says:

    I happen to be re-reading Evagelium Vitae. John Paul II emphasizes that freedom destroys itself when it loses its “essential link with the truth.” He also says that the Gospel of Life is the proclamation of the very person of Christ.

    I haven’t read Centessimus Annus in quite some time, but I recall after reading it for the first time it struck me that there was great danger in seeing man as an abstraction (a statistic on some chart) and that it might become easy to dispense with an abstraction.

  2. HV Observer says:

    Hello Ed:

    Pope Benedict, just today, alluded to this in his address to the Bundestag in Berlin:

    “The positivist [i.e., secular humanist] approach to nature and reason, the positivist world view in general, is a most important dimension of human knowledge and capacity that we may in no way dispense with. But in and of itself it is not a sufficient culture corresponding to the full breadth of the human condition. Where positivist reason considers itself the only sufficient culture and banishes all other cultural realities to the status of subcultures, it diminishes man, indeed it threatens his humanity.

    “I say this with Europe specifically in mind, where there are concerted efforts to recognize only positivism as a common culture and a common basis for law-making, so that all the other insights and values of our culture are reduced to the level of subculture, with the result that Europe vis-à-vis other world cultures is left in a state of culturelessness and at the same time extremist and radical movements emerge to fill the vacuum.

    “In its self-proclaimed exclusivity, the positivist reason which recognizes nothing beyond mere functionality resembles a concrete bunker with no windows, in which we ourselves provide lighting and atmospheric conditions, being no longer willing to obtain either from God’s wide world. And yet we cannot hide from ourselves the fact that even in this artificial world, we are still covertly drawing upon God’s raw materials, which we refashion into our own products. The windows must be flung open again, we must see the wide world, the sky and the earth once more and learn to make proper use of all this.”

    That line about the “concrete bunker,” spoken in Berlin, less than a mile from the remains of a more infamous concrete bunker, was a real smack in the face. Our wonderful Papa Benny has been good at gently launching these desperately needed “smacks.”