venerdì 13 gennaio 2017

Pope Benedict XVI In the German Bundestag

Pope Benedict XVI In the German Bundestag on 22 September 2011

The spoken word applies
Dear Mr President,
Mr President of the Bundestag!
Ms Federal Chancellor!
Mr. President of the Federal Council!
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my honor and pleasure to speak in front of this House - before the Parliament of my German fatherland, which is meeting here as a democratically elected representative, to work for the good of the Federal Republic of Germany. I would like to thank the President of the Bundestag for his invitation to this speech as well as for the kind words of the welcome and appreciation with which he has received me. In this hour I turn to you, ladies and gentlemen, certainly also as a countryman, who knows his origins all his life, and who pursues the fate of the German homeland with sympathy. But the invitation to this speech applies to me as a Pope, as Bishop of Rome, who bears the supreme responsibility for Catholic Christendom. They thus acknowledge the role played by the Holy See as a partner within the community of nations and nations. From this point of international responsibility, I would like to give you a few thoughts on the foundations of the free legal state.
Let me start my reflections on the foundations of law with a little story from the Holy Scriptures. In the first book of the kings it is narrated that God made a request to the young King Solomon on his accession to the throne. What will the young ruler ask at this important moment? Success - Wealth - Long Life - Destruction of the Enemies? He does not ask for these things. He asks, "Give your servant a hearing heart, so that he may govern your people and distinguish good from evil" (1 Kings 3: 9). The Bible wants to tell us with this story what ultimately a politician must arrive at. His ultimate measure and the reason for his work as a politician must not be success, and certainly not material gain. Politics must be struggling for justice and thus create the basic prerequisite for peace. Of course, a politician will seek the success that opens up the possibility of political design. But success is subordinated to the criterion of justice, the will to right, and the understanding of law. Success can also be seduction and thus can open the way for the falsification of the law, for the destruction of justice. "Take the right away-what then is a state more than a great band of robbers," Saint Augustine once said. We Germans know from our own experience that these words are not an empty fright. We have seen that power has been separated from law, that power has been right, has crushed the right, and that the state has become the instrument of the destruction of justice, a very well-organized band of robberies which threaten the whole world and drive it to the edge of the abyss could. Serving the right to defend the rule of injustice is and remains the basic task of the politician. In a historical hour, in which human power has become powerless, which has hitherto been inconceivable, this task becomes particularly urgent. Man can destroy the world. He can manipulate himself. He can, so to speak, make people and exclude people from being human. How do we recognize what is right? How can we differentiate between good and evil, between true law and false law? The Salomonian question remains the decisive question before the politician and politics stand today.
In a large part of the legally regulated matters, the majority can be a sufficient criterion. But that in the fundamental questions of law, which is concerned with the dignity of man and mankind, the principle of majority is not sufficient: Everyone responsible must seek the criteria of his orientation in the formation of the law. In the third century, the great theologian Origen had justified the resistance of the Christians against certain valid legal orders: "If anyone were with the Scythians who have godless laws, and would be forced to live with them, he would be very reasonable If, in the name of the law of truth, which is indeed illegal with the Scythians, he would form, together with the like-minded, in opposition to the existing system of ordinances ... "
From this conviction, the resistance fighters have acted against the Nazi regime and against other totalitarian regimes, thus serving the right and humanity as a whole. For these people, it was indisputably evident that actual law was in fact wrong. But in the decisions of a democratic politician, the question of what now corresponds to the law of truth, which is true and law can not be as evident. What is the right to the fundamental anthropological questions and can become valid law, is by no means simply plain. The question of how to recognize the true rights and thus to serve justice in the legislation was never easy to answer, and it has become much more difficult nowadays in the wealth of our knowledge and ability.
How do you recognize what is right? In history, legal orders have been almost religiously justified: from the viewpoint of the divinity, it is decided what is right among men. In contrast to other great religions, Christianity has never given the state and society a right to revelation, a legal order of revelation. Instead, it has referred to nature and reason as the true sources of the law - the convergence of objective and subjective reason, which, of course, presupposes the foundation of both spheres in the creative reason of God. Christian theologians have thus joined a philosophical and legal movement, which had formed since the second century BC. In the first half of the second century BC there was an encounter between the natural law of nature, developed by Stoic philosophers, and responsible teachers of Roman law. In this contact was born the Western legal culture, which was and is of decisive importance for the legal culture of mankind. From this pre-Christian connection of law and philosophy the path goes through the Christian Middle Ages into the development of the right to the Enlightenment up to the explanation of the human rights and up to our German basic law, with which our people 1949 to the "inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every human Community, peace and justice in the world ".
For the development of the law and for the development of humanity, it was decisive that the Christian theologians had placed themselves on the side of philosophy against the religious right demanded by the belief in the gods, and recognized reason and nature as mutually exclusive as the valid source of law. Paul had already made this decision in the letter to the Romans when he said, "If heathen who do not have the law (the Torah of Israel) do by nature what is required by law, they are ... themselves law . They show, therefore, that the demand of the law is written in their hearts; Their conscience bears witness to it ... "(Rom 2:14). Here the two basic conceptions appear to be nature and conscience, where conscience is nothing but the listening heart of Solomon, as the reason open to the language of being. If the question of the foundations of the legislation seemed to have been resolved in the course of the Enlightenment, the Declaration of Human Rights after the Second World War, and the constitution of our Basic Law, a dramatic change in the situation has taken place in the last half century. The idea of ​​natural law is now regarded as a special Catholic doctrine, which would not be worth discussing outside the Catholic sphere, so that one is almost ashamed to mention the word at all. I would like to briefly explain why this situation arose. In the first place, the thesis is that there is an unbridgeable ditch between Being and Ought. There can be no ought to be from being because there are two completely different areas. The reason for this is the generally accepted positivistic understanding of nature and reason. If one considers nature, in the words of H. Kelsen, as "an aggregate of being things connected with one another as cause and effect," then no kind of ethical direction can emerge from it. A positive concept of nature, which understands nature purely functionally, as natural science explains it, can not create a bridge to ethos and law, but in turn can only produce functional answers. But the same also applies to reason in a positive understanding which is widely regarded as a purely scientific one. What is not verifiable or falsifiable does not belong to the realm of reason in the strict sense. For this reason, ethos and religion must be assigned to the space of the subjective and fall out of the realm of reason in the strict sense of the word. Where the sole rule of positivist reason is valid-and this is the case in our public consciousness-the classical sources of knowledge for ethics and law are overridden. This is a dramatic situation that is all about and a public discussion is necessary to urgently invite is an essential intention of this speech.
The positivistic concept of nature and reason, the positivistic world-view as a whole, is a great part of human knowledge and human ability, which we must never dispense with. But, as a whole, it is not a culture which is adequate to humanity in its breadth. Where positivistic reason alone sees itself as a sufficient culture and banishes all other cultural realities into the status of subculture, it diminishes man, even it threatens his humanity. I am saying this with regard to Europe, in which broad circles try to recognize only positivism as a common culture and as a common basis for the formation of law, all the other insights and values ​​of our culture are subordinated to the status of a subculture, and thus Europe opposes other cultures The world is placed in a status of lack of culture, and at the same time extremist and radical currents are challenged. The exclusively giving positivist reason, which can not perceive anything beyond the functioning, resembles the concrete buildings without windows, in which we give ourselves climate and light, no longer want to relate both to the wide world of God. And yet we can not conceal the fact that in this self-made world we quietly draw from the supplies of God, which we transform into our products. The windows must be torn open again, we must again see the expanse of the world, the sky and the earth, and learn all this to be right.
But how does it work? How do we find ourselves in the vastness, in the whole? How can reason find its greatness again without losing its way into the irrational? How can nature again appear in its true depth, in its claim, and with its instruction? I recall a process in recent political history, hoping not to be misunderstood, and not to produce too many unilateral polemics. I would say that since the 1970s, the occurrence of the ecological movement in German politics has probably not torn open windows, but it has been and remains a cry for fresh air, which can not be overthrown and can not be pushed aside Much irrational in it. Young people had become aware that something was wrong in our dealings with nature. That matter is not only material for our making, but that the earth itself carries its dignity within itself, and we must follow its instructions. It is clear that I am not making propaganda for a certain political party here-nothing is more important to me than this. If something is wrong in our dealings with reality, then we must all seriously consider the whole thing, and we are all referred to the question of the foundations of our culture at all. Allow me, for a moment, to remain at this point. The importance of ecology is now undisputed. We must listen to the language of nature and respond accordingly. However, I would like to emphasize a point that is still largely ignored: there is also an ecology of man. Man, too, has a nature which he must respect and which he can not manipulate as he likes. Man is not only self-sufficient freedom. Man is not himself. He is spirit and will, but he is also nature, and his will is right when he listens to nature, respects him, and accepts himself as the one who is, and who is not himself Has. This is precisely the way in which real human freedom takes place.
Let us return to the basic concept of nature and reason, from which we have proceeded. The great theoretician of legal positivism, Kelsen, abandoned the dualism of Being and Duty at the age of 84 years - 1965. He had said that norms can only come from the will. Nature, therefore, could contain norms only when a will has inserted these norms into them. This, in turn, would presuppose a creative god, whose will has entered into nature. "Discussing the truth of this faith is completely hopeless," he notes. For real? - I would like to ask. Is it really pointless to consider whether objective reason, which is shown in nature, does not presuppose a creative reason, a creator spirit ?
At this point, Europe's cultural heritage should come to our aid. The idea of ​​human rights, the idea of ​​the equality of all human beings before the law, the recognition of the inviolability of human dignity in every individual human being, and the knowledge of the responsibility of human beings for their actions has been developed from the conviction of a creator god. These cognitions of reason form our cultural memory. To ignore it or to regard it as a mere past would be an amputation of our culture as a whole and would deprive it of its totality. The culture of Europe has arisen from the encounter between Jerusalem, Athens and Rome - from the encounter between the faith of Israel, the philosophical reason of the Greeks and the legal thought of Rome. This triple encounter forms the inner identity of Europe. In the consciousness of man's responsibility before God and in the acknowledgment of the inviolable dignity of man, of every human being, he set standards of the right to defend us in our historical hour.
A petition has been given to the young King Solomon at the hour of his office. How would it be if we, the legislators of today, were given a request? What would we ask? I think today, in the end, we could only wish for nothing else but a listening heart - the ability to distinguish between good and evil, and so to put true justice, justice and peace. Thank you for your attention!

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