Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - Now the king would appear to be really naked (and ‘king’ is purposely small-case). Fake ‘secular tolerance' has shown its face: champions of human rights will have to explain the meaning of freedom of conscience and religion, respected even in the letter from the 138 Muslim leaders, significantly headed ‘A common word among you and us.'
For our part, we see dialogue as time devoted to listening to the other, in order to understand who he is, where he is going and what he believes in. Instead ignorance generates prejudice and violence as a chain reaction. If we are ignorant, inevitable fear is born and the other person is seen as a danger, certainly not as a brother.
Dialogue would appear to be a blunt weapon in the hands of those who, ‘Catholics of dissent' as they used to call themselves, or ‘adult Catholics', as they claim today, - which means in any case ‘I am not happy in the Church must you must listen to me not to the Magisterium’ - have substantially lost the sense of their identity.
Perhaps Benedict XVI frightens them because he proposes a truly universal dialogue- as he demonstrated in Regensburg - addressing really everyone: agnostics and sceptics, Jews and Muslims, secularised Christians.
He proposes “authentic enlightenment” by means of “broadening our concept of reason and its use” in view of “authentic dialogue of cultures and religions”.
In philosophy and theology and in culture in general, what is needed is a new understanding of the concept of reason and the concept of dialogue, seeing that the Pope repeatedly adds the attribute ‘real’. Hitherto it was thought that the dignity of 'dialogue' belonged only to meetings where differences were softened in the name of uniting factors. Someone said effectively of Catholics they end up considering only the truth of others to be genuine.
Actually in certain theological circles and in Italian society, full convergence on the idea of reason and dialogue does not exist. Hence the necessity for lengthy efforts to to reach agreement on “fundamentals”, if we wish to foster a correct relationship between religion and public space.
Therefore we will look for interlocutors among non believing and religious lay people, who do not renounce criticism of their faith or system of thought, but love to “think and make others think”: this makes “thought move” and change.
And we will not fear comparison within and outside the Church, even with those who are, pertinaciously and irresponsibly, advocates of confusion.
We will do so guided by our beloved Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI who in Munich on 10 September 2006, during his homily at Mass, said, in the wake of John Paul II's “do not be afraid of Christ: “ We impose our faith on no one... Faith can develop only in freedom. But we do appeal to the freedom of men and women to open their hearts to God, to seek him, to hear his voice”. Let those who have ears to hear, understand. (Agenzia Fides 17/1/2008; righe 40, parole 477)