Pope Benedict XVI: “Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way?”

It is a shame that Joseph Ratzinger is so under appreciated as a theologian and pastor.

Dover Beach

Pope Benedict XVI

“Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? . . . No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you…

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23 comments

  1. Why would anyone give credence to anything a man such as this says?

    1. Try reading his books before shooting off.

      1. It matters not what else he writes, but rather what he stands for, what he hides behind and what he hid.

        The Catholic Church is corruption personified.

        They have lied since the word go…and are still lying.

        This is one case where it would be worth sacrificing the baby along with the bathwater.

      2. So much for open minds. If you like I have a couple of articles on the theology of Ratzinger somewhere on my blog…

      3. Sorry, dp, am I talking over your head here?
        He was the head of the Catholic Church.
        His organisation was initially responsible for the compilation of the bible; a collection of more fallacious and erroneous documents you will be unlikely to find.
        He did very little in the way of transparency regarding pedophilia in his organisation and did not speak out about it in any meaningful manner after he left office.

        Unless you have documentation where he refutes the church’s claims regarding the crap about jesus and everything else they made up, including all the other lies he and his corrupt cohorts have dumped on humanity I cannot think of anything worthwhile you could possibly offer.
        However, I am always open to be surprised….

      4. OK, so your main objection is that he is Catholic and the Catholic Church is the source of this international conspiracy we call “Christianity”. Is no one ever sincerely mistaken in your world?
        Ratzinger’s record on investigating and punishing clerical sex abuse is actually much better than most churchmen of his generation.

      5. Don’t be patronizing,dp, it just makes you look lie a real prat.

        By playing the “Ratzinger was the best cleric of his generation against abuse” just makes me want to hurl.

        He covered for pedophiles and rapists.
        He is responsible.
        But perhaps you could smooth it over with some of the kids who are getting shafted by Priests as we speak…all in the name of your god, right?

        And I notice you didn’t even go near any of the other lies and corruption the church has been responsible for..and still is.

        Give it up, dp.

        This was a crappy disgusting post and you’ve seen your arse with it. Just like so many Catholic Priests.

        Just make an apology, and take down the post.
        maybe you’ll come out with a little self respect.

      6. Stay classy.

      7. If we are going to compare ”class acts”, dp then your catholic church takes the cake,
        But if we are looking for cultured, then yogurt wins hands down in any contest against the men in the long dresses.

        Nothing to say on the issue of corruption, dp? Cat got your tongue, or is it just a tad too embarrassing to even raise the subject?

        Are you not squirming just a little bit with this SOB’s image on your blog?
        Have you no moral decency at all?

      8. If you stop with the name calling I might take you seriously.

      9. Oh, you think the church is deserving of respect? really?

      10. My blog my rules. Mind your manners if you want a serious answer.

      11. Hey, you don’t have to say anything at all. You can delete this whole thread.
        Do you see me begging you not to?
        Christ almighty, do what the heck you like…
        Won’t alter the fact .
        Wont make you look any better.
        And If I’m the only that knows it, that’s fine by me.

        And if you think I care about ”minding my manners” over such a serious issue the you really are behaving churlish.

        Ask a child victim of Priestly rape how much trust they would put in Pope?
        I dare you….

  2. I don’t really understand the quote, and obviously why you think it’s great. Why would people be afraid of letting an invisible deity into their minds (seems more appropriate than ‘heart’)? I mean, if they believed it existed, what would they be afraid of? Especially if the god is supposed to be all loving and created everything. It would be the most natural thing to do.

    “Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation.” I see that it’s a nice idea, but observation tells me that for Christians who believe this to be true, beauty and liberation are not what they are experiencing, except when they talk to other people about how great Jesus or God is.

    1. The classic temptation of the believer (or in this case, the semi-believer) is not to doubt God’s existence but his goodness. It isn’t an explicit fear, but an implicit one. The implicit reasoning is that if one places God’s concerns first, then he stands to lose whatever else was being put in first place: pleasant experiences, “worldly” pursuits, etc.
      It is classic Christian psychology: do I place my confidence, self-esteem, and sense of security in things, qualities or activities? They may be limited, they may operate under a law of diminishing returns, but at least I can touch them. Or do I roll the dice place my faith in a God I cannot see?

      1. Sorry, but that’s clearly doubting his existence.

      2. Do you mean because the idea of God and the idea of goodness are supposed to go together?
        Maybe you have a point, I don’t know.

      3. That’s interesting. I’ve never heard anyone suggest that the Christian God isn’t good – a believer I mean. Sure, there’s the argument that we can’t understand what it means to be good, but to suggest that Christians might fear he’s not objectively good by our standards is a new one for me.

      4. It isn’t a new idea. Putting aside modern gripes about the myth, go back and reread the story of Eve and the serpent. The serpent’s strategy is not to sow doubt in Eve’s mind about God’s existence, but about his goodness; to suspect that God does not really have her best interests in mind.
        It isn’t a rational fear.

      5. About his goodness or about his wish to protect them? It looks like she just liked the look of it and the serpent gave her the idea to eat it. Anyway, no real Christian believes that story is real, but they do believe their god is good and has the best interests of humanity in mind. That’s core. And even if for some reason they feared he’s not all good, that should make them behave better, rather than worse. He’s still the eternal shit that hits the fan … unless they doubt his existence.

      6. Serpent: Is it true that God told you not to eat any of the fruit of the garden?
        Eve: No just the fruit from that tree over there. If we eat it, we die.
        Serpent: That’s ridiculous! You won’t die. God knows perfectly well that if you eat it, you will become like God! (God is hiding something from you. He is self interested. He does not really have your best interest at heart.)
        As for your assertion that fear, an external motivator, makes people behave better, it is wrong. People are more consistent with motives that come from the inside, like love, fidelity, noble ideals, etc.
        Your assertion that “sin” (which I know you don’t believe is an objective reality) is really “doubting God’s existence” is interesting. I’d be careful about assuming too much about the psychology of belief though.

      7. “you will become like God, knowing good and evil” (you will have more knowledge and understanding of the world)
        Anyway, silly conversation because it’s a silly story. You’re right that people are more motivated by carrots than sticks.

        I didn’t say that sin is about doubting the god God’s existence. I said that anyone who fears to believe or follow the Christian god is doing so because they doubt his existence, not because they’re afraid of having to change their life. Because changing your life here is small change for eternity.

      8. You are assuming that everyone who does not believe in God has plain, rational motives.
        I’m not an expert in unbelief and I cannot judge any particular person, but that strikes me as a big assumption.
        Human motives are not always rational. Sometimes the reasons we give for doing something are the true ones, other times they mask deeper motives.
        Anyway, I did not have the impression that Ratzinger was addressing unbelievers as such, but people on the edge of belief.

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