Pope Benedict XVI—Regensburg Address: Faith, Reason and the University
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“The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur—this is the programme with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time.”
Pope Benedict XVI delivered this address to scientists at the University of Regensburg on September 12, 2006, where he was a professor and vice rector from 1969 to 1971.
The Pope praised the university’s traditional openness to approaching God through the use of reason. He went on to contrast this approach with the Muslim teaching that God transcends man so completely that “His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.” According to this perspective, man can never seek to understand God, Who is free to act in whatever way He chooses, for good or for evil, and is never bound to reveal the truth to man.
Pope Benedict explained how in this context, the Western synthesis between faith and reason is all the more important: “The truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos...and has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf...Consequently, Christian worship is...worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason.” This convergence of faith and reason “created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe.”
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