.- The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said this week that “the main objective of the Magisterium and ministry of Pope Benedict is to recover the authentic Christian identity and to explain and confirm the intelligibility of the faith in the context of widespread secularism.”
The Cardinal made his comments during a gathering of the Ethics and Finance Association in the city of Milan, just a few weeks prior to the second anniversary of Benedict XVI’s pontificate, which falls on April 19th.
In the eyes of the Pope, Cardinal Bertone continued, “Relativism has become the fundamental problem of the faith in our times.” It’s an attitude “that is expressed not only as a way of renouncing unattainable truth, but also by appealing to the ideas of tolerance and the knowledge of freedom,” he said.
“Relativism is presented as the philosophical basis of democracy, which is supposedly founded on the fact that no one can claim to know the correct way,” Cardinal Bertone noted. In this sense, the Pope has become a “passionate promoter” of the truth that is the person of Jesus Christ, “the only and universal Savior,” and for this reason he proclaims to all the nations: “Jesus cannot be relativized as one of many religious geniuses.”
In noting that the Pope always encourages respect for human life, the Vatican Secretary of State pointed out that Benedict XVI “does not want to fall into the error of constructing a political Catholicism” because “the faith does not provide political recipes but rather simply seeks to contribute to the purification of reason.”
Referring to current-day problems around the world, Cardinal Bertone explained that Benedict XVI “is facing a divided planet full of many problems: Islamic fundamentalism, the indifference of rich countries, confusion caused by sects, the disorientation caused by poverty in the third and fourth world, while at the same time a new economic vitality is occurring in the East. And then there is the issue of ecumenism. It is necessary that past differences with the Orthodox world, in Moscow and in other places, be overcome.”
Amidst such situations, Cardinal Bertone stressed, the Pope promotes dialogue “with the exponents of human thought: in science, philosophy, and theology in order to discover that they are all expressions of authentic reason open to the transcendent, and that they all have the task of understanding that there is one reality and that mankind is one.”
Cardinal Bertone noted that there are “two words” that are found throughout the Pope’s messages: “joy and friendship.” The Pope shows us that God is close to us, “a friend,” and he wants everyone to see “how beautiful and gratifying it is to be a Christian.”