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Ratzinger’s Weak Tea

by Christopher A. Ferrara

As apostate Europe is literally dying before his eyes, the ever-ambiguous Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, whose motto seems to be "Never say anything explicitly Catholic", offers this laughably weak prescription for Europe’s fatal condition: a "common morality" with non-believers.

According to Zenit.org (December 14, 2004) "Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and the president of the Italian Senate agree that there must be collaboration among Catholics, nonbelievers and believers of other religions ‘to rediscover a common morality.’" What can Ratzinger possibly mean by a "common morality" with those who do not even believe in God and who reject the Catholic Church’s most basic moral teachings?

Zenit reports that "The Cardinal proposed the rediscovery of natural law as the basis for a common ethic." And how does one "rediscover" natural law with those who do not believe in God, Who is the very source of natural law? As St. Thomas teaches, the natural law is man’s intellectual participation in the eternal law. The eternal law is God’s plan for man, and the natural law, including the Ten Commandments, is man’s conformity with this plan.

If there were no eternal law  —  that is, if there were no God  —  then there could be no natural law. Dostoyevsky’s Ivan Karamazov rightly argues that without God "everything would be lawful, even cannibalism" and "if you were to destroy faith in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining life in the world would at once be dried up …. "

Ignoring this obvious problem of finding a "common morality" with people who do not even believe in the very basis of morality  —  Almighty God  —  Ratzinger opined that "We must study natural law again  —  perhaps another name is needed," said Ratzinger.

So now the Cardinal thinks we perhaps ought to rename the natural law? Here we have yet another example of the tendency of post-conciliar Churchmen to reject traditional terminology in favor of ambiguous new expressions which only hide the reality of what is under discussion.

And here what is under discussion are laws governing human behavior which, as St. Paul teaches us, are written on man’s heart by his Creator. And what spiffy new name would the Cardinal give the natural law?  —  "natural recommendations," perhaps? Or how about "natural proposals"? There are a great many proposals and recommendations in post-conciliar documents, but precious little reference, if any, to God’s law. We live in a time when the very word "law" makes many Churchmen squirm with embarrassment.

Ratzinger went on to say that "it is necessary to identify the foundations to individualize common responsibilities between Catholics and secularists, to base an action which not only responds to the action, but also to duty and morality."

Yet more gobbledygook. What are these "foundations" we are supposed to "identify" if not simply man’s nature as a creature of God, Who has written His Law on man’s heart? What are we supposed to do in this "collaboration among Catholics, nonbelievers and believers of other religions ‘to rediscover a common morality’"? Are we supposed to pretend that there are "foundations" to the natural law other than what we know to be the only true foundation?

So, Europe is dying as Dr. Ratzinger offers the dying patient a cup of weak tea. Meanwhile, the Cardinal fails to mention the one medicine that can work a cure: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, enunciated by the only Church to which God Incarnate gave a divine commission to make disciples of all nations.

But making disciples of all nations seems to be the farthest thing from the minds of those who control the Vatican bureaucracy today. Such is the crisis in post-conciliar Roman Catholicism  —  a crisis Our Lady of Fatima came to address, confiding to us the very words by which, sooner or later, the crisis will be ended: "In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world."