In light of yet another terrorist attack on innocent persons at the hands of faithful Muslims, this time in Brussels, the infamous “Regensburg Address” given by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 is getting renewed attention.
Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith, for instance, penned a piece for Catholic Herald entitled:
Citing a key portion of Benedict’s address, which includes the following, Fr. Lucie-Smith says, “Regensburg is the only way. We need dialogue based on sound reasoning rather than wishful thinking.”
Spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul …
The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature.
A few observations are in order.
First, can we please dispatch once and for all with the foolish notion that Benedict XVI – either in seeking his wisdom in the present moment or by virtue of revisiting his magisterium – represents a return to stability in the midst of these tempestuous times?
His recently published interview clearly demonstrates that he, like Francis, is a card carrying modernist who has made no small contribution to the current ecclesial crisis.
(This is the same interview, by the way, that is still being falsely hailed by some less-than-reliable sources as a condemnation of the “evolution of dogma” and a call to once more proclaim extra ecclesiam nulla salus, when in fact it is the exact opposite.)
As for the Regensburg Address itself, while the central point is unassailable (namely, that faith and reason are perfectly compatible inasmuch as God is logos, and logos is both reason and word), the conclusion is predictably deficient.
In Benedict’s words:
‘Not to act reasonably, not to act with logos, is contrary to the nature of God’, said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures.
Now, in fairness to Pope Benedict, he was speaking at Regensburg about the “task of the university,” and only indirectly about the Islamic menace.
Fr. Lucie-Smith’s takeaway from the address relative to Muslim terrorists (if you’ll pardon the redundancy), however, isn’t the least bit out of sync with the witness of Benedict’s collaborative peace-building efforts with other religions. (Remember, this is the pope who gave us Assisi III.)
To quote Fr. Lucie-Smith once more:
“Regensburg is the only way. We need dialogue based on sound reasoning rather than wishful thinking.”
Seriously? The last thing we need is more dialogue!
Our churchmen have been dialoguing with anyone willing to endure their feminized pastoral pandering for more than 50 years now, and the only thing we have to show for it is a global infestation of religious indifferentism reaching all the way to the Chair of Peter.
Fr. Lucie-Smith does, however, come rather close to breaking free of the dialogical disease when he concludes:
Indeed, the God of the Islamists does command irrationality and idolatry, and events in Brussels are the proof of this. This is what we have to confront, and it can only be done by challenging their religious beliefs and showing them to be false, and indeed anti-religious, in that they contradict the true nature of religion, for faith to be faith must always go hand and hand with reason.
Bravo for at least being willing to state the obvious; Islam is false!
That said, Fr. Lucie-Smith doesn’t seem to realize that he essentially contradicts himself when he then goes on to speak of “the true nature of religion.”
Hasn’t the false religion known as Islam demonstrated beyond any doubt just how ridiculous it is to speak of “religion” in such broad terms?
You see, both Fr. Lucie-Smith and Pope Benedict assume that one can reasonably speak of “religion” and “faith” in a generically positive way (e.g., “spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable” … “Islam is anti-religious”), when in truth, only one religion is true by nature and therefore entirely compatible with reason, and that is the Holy Catholic faith.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a place for entering into reasoned dialogue with false religionists in the course of carrying out the Church’s mission. Indeed, such is truly necessary.
Reason is a God-given source of knowledge by which one can come to recognize that there is one God, along with certain of His attributes, but reason has its limitations.
Fallen man is inclined to evil, and evil impairs the intellect and therefore one’s ability to reason. Man is prone, in other words, to error.
Perhaps that is why Our Blessed Lord did not establish a debating Church, but rather a Church that is both Mater et Magister (Mother and Teacher); a Church divinely endowed with the authority to speak in His name as the bulwark of truth.
As every good mother and teacher certainly knows, it is absolutely necessary, not only to lead their disciples (those who learn) to truth by way of reasoned dialogue, but also to proclaim the truth firmly and clearly, all of it, lovingly counseling their charges to embrace said truth for their own good, while also condemning the errors and falsehoods that threaten to lead them astray.
From the time of the Council on forward, our churchmen have utterly relinquished the greater part of their missionary duty; seeking nothing more than to dialogue, and even worse, acting as if the “wisdom” of heathens and heretics is something to be coveted.
The post-conciliar popes in particular have been pleased to behave as if the Church is searching for truth right alongside those who dwell in the darkness of a false religion; equipped with little more than the gift of reason that belongs to every man.
They seem to have lost sight of what the Church truly is – the voice of Christ the King in the world, His Kingdom here present, and the custodian of Divine revelation in its fullness in the person of her Founder and Head, who is Truth incarnate.
All of this said, when it comes to those Islamists among us today who are so imbued with evil as to slaughter innocent human beings in service to their false god, we are speaking of men who have lost the ability to reason; they are therefore repulsed by the truth.
As such, our churchmen can do little to curtail their diabolical appetite beyond begging God to enlighten them by a miracle of grace.
Where a difference can perhaps be made is with future generations of would-be Muslim terrorists – not all, but certainly some – if only our churchmen, the pope chief among them, would take up the mission that was given to the Church by Christ once more, proclaiming His Kingship, and calling all men to embrace everything whatsoever that He commanded that they may have life everlasting.
If we’re perfectly honest, and without making any excuses for those who do evil, we must recognize that the murderous Muslims who wreaked havoc on Brussels are men who came of age at a time when the Mother and Teacher charged by Almighty God with the task of Christianizing the world, in her humanity, has all but abandoned her post and eschewed her obligations.
In their formative years, in other words, today’s terrorists were effectively orphaned, and with their hearts and minds left unfilled by the Divine truths that our churchmen were unwilling to preach, the resulting void was all the more easily filled by the tenets of a false religion authored by he who prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
No, the answer to Islamic terrorism isn’t Regensburg and yet more godforsaken dialogue; it’s the return of Rome to the Holy Catholic faith in all its life-giving fullness.