The Faith of This Man
To believe in that way must strike anyone as giving legitimacy to the belief in the Almighty; a singular Spirit of love and protection, and who asks of believers that they practise what He preaches; tolerance for all, moderation in our emotional approaches to any and all situations, and an overarching regard for His unknowable and all-knowing presence, along with the commands with which He instructs followers.
It can certainly be understood that in an earlier age, while the various manifestations of spiritual observance were evolving into the present time, religious groups were jealous of their direct lineage on earth to an only God, one responsive only to their entreaties, and to whose demands and commands only they were privy.
Living in the modern world with a new awareness of the neighbourliness of the globe, a knowledge of various religious orders and a religious-humanistic view of a collectivity worshipping a Great Being, one would think it now a given that disparate religions worship in their particular way, the same God.
Temporal matters are increasingly left now in the hands of governments elected to act at the behest of those who placed them in administrative-legislative positions, while matters of the spirit continue to be held in the hands of representatives of the Divine. Politics is of the mundane issues of everyday life; religion represents the needs of the spiritual, the soul. At least that is how we now recognize the separation of church and state in our modern, politically-secular world.
Having said which, is it possible to admire and trust the faith of a personage of such elevated religious state as the Pope, when he harks back to an earlier, more fractious time in church history, reminding the faithful that there is but one true faith, and that is the faith of Roman Catholicism. For, as he has recently averred, Protestant churches are defective in their religious nature; not to be considered as "full" churches, as represented by the Catholic Church.
In this way he purports to serve his God and His emissary, Christ. How blessed are the unbelievers; how uncomplicated their lives.
He has placed under investigation one of his own flock, an obviously thoughtful and certainly thought-provoking theologian who has dared to concede that non-Christian religions have a role to play in salvation. Presumably, that might include non-religious environmentalists whose devout homage to Nature and damning of human interference in Her great, evolving plan for all She surveys is slowly unravelling due to the nature-blasphemous interference of negligent and energy- and resource-ravenous mankind.
Or, perhaps not to place too cute a spin on it: Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Baha'i, and even Buddhism. Let us not forget secular humanism, those for whom certain values remain sacred, like observing the Golden Mean, or practising kind consideration for all others who inhabit this increasingly-crowded planet. Cripes! did I forget Judaism, the monotheistic well-spring from which sprang Christianity and Islam? All of these faiths are to be considered pale imitations, slender shams of the original and singularly true faith?
Pope Benedict XVI, when he was yet Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope John Paul II's "bulldog" claimed: "To have a clear faith...is often styled a fundamentalism. Meanwhile relativism, meaning allowing oneself to be carried away 'here and there by any wind of doctrine', appears as the only attitude to modern times. What's being construed is a dictatorship of relativism, which recognizes nothing as definite, and that regards one's self and one's own desires as the final measure."
Ah, clearly this is a measure of comfort for fanatical believers. Dare we include the likes of the Taliban? Al-Qaeda? For their faith is exceedingly clear to themselves and their ardent followers who flock to their military camps in the name of holy war, in abject submission to what they claim are the demands of Allah. Is that definite enough for his holiness? And finally, is not mankind made in the visage of God? Do we not reflect His desires as the final measure, since He has delivered unto humankind everything; desires, emotions, inclinations, determination.
Theologians must not engage in acts designed to bring relief to suffering mankind, becoming activist as social-religious deniers of dictatorial authority injurious to their people. Liberation theology is seen not as a good, but a denial of the divine purpose of God. Theologians are urged to "think with the Church". And this church, under Pope Benedict has no problems linking humane interests and behaviours with the work of the devil, evidently. For it compromises the lordship of Christ.
Setting theologians up competitively as salvationists, when that role owes its being to one long-ago soul whose agonizingly-long re-appearance is sought and longed for. Much, one dares say, like a fervid believer such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (whose ravening lunacy is most certainly not to be compared with the intellectual confusion of Pope Benedict) longing for the appearance of the Mahdi, to bring closure to the world as it is, and open the celestial gates for believers.
Oh, bloody hell!