5 Jun

A God with nothing to do

Category: Sound Thinking
By: Ken Myers
Published: 06/05/15

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger on privatized faith

“Has not Christian consciousness acquiesced to a great extent — without being aware of it — in the attitude that faith in God is something subjective, which belongs in the private realm and not in the common activities of public life where, in order to be able to get along, we all have to behave now etsi Deus non daretur (as if there were no God). Was it not necessary to find a way that would be valid in case it turned out that God did not exist? And so actually it happened automatically, when the faith stepped out of the inner sanctum of ecclesiastical matters into the general public, that it had nothing for God to do and left him where he was: in the private realm, in the intimate sphere that does not concern anyone else. It did not take any particular negligence, and certainly not a deliberate denial, to leave God as a God with nothing to do, especially since his name had been misused so often. But the faith would really have come out of the ghetto only if it had brought its most distinctive feature with it into the public arena: the God who judges and suffers, the God who sets limits and standards for us; the God from whom we come and to whom we are going. But as it was, it really remained in the ghetto, having by now absolutely nothing to do.”

—from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Introduction to Christianity (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1968)

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