Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Pope's Political Vision: Natural Law

The always insightful Sandro Magister of Chiesa comments on the politics of Papa Ratzinger. Magister nails it with the following insight into the foundation of the Holy Father's political vision:

A political theorist might object that the pope's ideas stray from the field of politics properly understood. But that's not how Benedict XVI sees it. He is convinced that societies, states, and the international community must rest on solid foundations. One of his intentions as pope is to preach a universal "grammar" founded on natural law, on the inviolable rights engraved on the conscience of every man, whatever his creed.

In his address to the United Nations on April 18, 2008, Benedict XVI emphasized part of this "grammar," "the principle of the responsibility to protect," meaning that "every state has the primary duty to protect its own population from grave and sustained violations of human rights." And he added that "If states are unable to guarantee such protection, the international community must intervene." But Pope Ratzinger did not stop there. He went to the foundation of this principle, without which the responsibility to protect would be at the mercy of conflicting interests. And he identified this ultimate foundation as the "the idea of the person as image of the Creator," with his innate "desire for the absolute and the essence of freedom."

Benedict XVI knows well that not everyone accepts this anchoring to transcendence. And it is rejected precisely by a culture that has its origin in the West. But he maintains that it is necessary to proclaim ceaselessly to world powers that "when God is eclipsed, our ability to recognize the natural order, purpose, and the 'good' begins to wane." Pope Ratzinger maintains that the "secular" formula proposed by Grotius on the basis of the coexistence of peoples is outdated: to live "etsi Deus non daretur," as if God did not exist. He proposes to all, including those who do not accept transcendence, the opposite wager: that of acting "etsi Deus daretur," as if God does exist. Because it is only in this way that the dignity of the person finds an unshakable foundation.


Magister also notes that the Holy Father's esteem for the United States derives from her founding principles which pay homage to the natural law. It is interesting that Holy Father speaks with more clarity regarding the foundation of our Republic than do our own politicians.

1 comment:

Turfkiller said...

In this time of greater state power being built up, it becomes even more important than ever that only a neutral state which would realize as fully as possible the preference of the middle class public and for moderation, impartiality, law and regulations.

If big business, big religions seek favoritism as they do, our government and it’s laws must be strong enough to be more than a match and remain severely neutral among all the special and religious interests and deal out even handed justice, laws and regulations. Severely neutral to all the business and religious interests subordinating each to the common interest.

It would not favor the rich man, the middle class or the poor, business or labor, financials or manufacturing, religious or agnostic, particular Christian or Muslim sects but for the honest and law-abiding person of what ever special group.

Our laws need to stand above the special interests and where necessary against them when they seek inappropriate or illegal control, power or concentrated wealth.

In America, the Catholic Church is but one of the Christian Sects seeking inappropriate power and control over the Supreme Court and
our Constitution.