Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Pope's Visit to Jordan

5/9/2009--The media reported today on Pope Benedict’s visit to Jordan. The headline in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette read “Pope Expresses Respect for Islam on Mideast Trip.” The subtext was that the Pope would be more careful about what he said concerning Islam after his 2006 remarks seeming to criticize Islam for its willingness to spread its faith by the sword led to outrage and even violence.

I think the media have a hard time understanding Pope Benedict. My impression from reading two of his works before becoming Pope, Truth and Tolerance and Many Religions-One Covenant, is that Pope Benedict does not have to watch what he says. His respect for Islam, and for that matter all the World Religions, is quite sincere. On the other hand, he believes that the revelation of God reached its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Naturally, therefore, he also sincerely criticizes the limitations of any way of life, Muslim or secular, that lacks a connection to Christ. He is not criticizing them for not recognizing Christ, but for the errors in understanding the nature of God (or ultimate reality) that flow from the failure to come to full relationship with Christ.

I am certain that Benedict has never waivered from his refusal to judge the ultimate truth of any religion for salvation. He has called that “a question that can in fact be decided only by him who shall judge the world… .” (Truth, 18). Of course that does not reduce his commitment to truth in the Catholic understanding of Christ, but it does prohibit his viewing himself as arbiter of the World Religions.

5 comments:

  1. Ultimate reality, as Pope Benedict should realize, can be attained by means other than knowing Jesus the Christ. When all is said and done, one recognizes that the gift of mystical insight, the precursor to the mystical state -- ultimate reality -- is a realization. The only difference between realizing something, anything at all, and having a mystical realization, is that it is more intense. Eventually, by seeing all incoming thoughts as disturbances, we gain the peace of mind and freedom of thought. Freedom of thought is by definition, peace of mind. What we can refer to are the words spoken by Alfred North Whitehead about the analysis of the obvious. Whitehead wrote in his book, "Science And The Modern World", "Familiar things happen and mankind does not bother about them. It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious." Others join Whitehead in recognizing the importance of looking at familiar, obvious and known things. The list includes Gibran, Koestler, Hegel, Huxley and others who in one way or another said the same thing. There is much hidden in things we already know. It is precisely there where we see we must look at our thoughts in order to see them for what they are, when they are there and what they have in common. We know we have thoughts ... but do we know it intuitivelly, or only on the surface! Once we realize what thoughts have in common, we can gain that higher state of mind. We can do the same thing whether we wonder when Jesus can be in us and with us, or when it is we suddenly see the obvious.

    Emmanuel J. Karavousanos
    EKaravousa@aol.com

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  2. The Best mohammed T-shirt art is from Sweden. Watch and read the info at,
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  3. I hope not to be forced to censure the comments to this blog. I ask that people show elementary respect for traditions they do not share.

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  4. I'm not certain that my comments on this blog were out of line, but they certainly were not meant to be. If Mr. Ledewitz referred to my comments on The Pope's Visit to Jordan as not showing elementary respect for traditions he feels I may not share, then I deeply apologize. I was brough up a Christian. After 4 decades of study, I realized Christendom's concept of Christianity is not what Jesus meant it to be. Jesus knew that insight can arrive from within each of us, for that is the nature of the Holy Spirit -- insight -- mystical insight. Mystical insight is the onset of the mystical state. He wanted us to reach the kingdom of heaven which is the mystical state. -- ultimate reality in modern terms. Christendom should look at ways to reach that higher state and not cling to a tradition unlike Judaism or Islam. It's not wonder we can never have peace. I suggested a logical, rational way to the higher state of mind in my previous comment. What a wonderful world we would have if people discovered their true selves.

    Submitted respectfully and sincerely,

    Emmanuel J. Karavousanos
    EKaravousa@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. He is not criticizing [other religions] for not recognizing Christ, but for the errors in understanding the nature of God (or ultimate reality) that flow from the failure to come to full relationship with Christ.Just as believers from other religions would criticise Catholicism for what they see as a similarly defective theology.

    Lecturing other religions about what one sees as the defect in their way of life or beliefs is presumption and hubris writ large.

    The paradox is that having abandoned the old belief that outside the Church there is no salvation, the pope still seems unable to put forth the Church's doctrines without effectively saying "you are wrong and we are right".

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