In this new work, written before his election to the Papal throne, Joseph Ratzinger addresses the "crisis of culture" that is evident in Europe today, and the serious problems that have resulted from that cultural crisis, a crisis that affects not only Europe but the West in general.
Europe's Christian roots and foundation are being replaced by "modern Enlightenment philosophy" says the Pope. Such philosophies recognize only what can be mathematically or scientifically proven, and deny any metaphysical reality. Unable to recognize God's existence or objective truth, morality is consequently reduced to a relative concept, leading to a "confused ideology of freedom that leads to dogmatism" and ultimately "to the self-destruction of freedom," says Pope Benedict. He cited the growing intolerance of the criticism of homosexuality as an example of this phenomenon.
What the Pope offers as an answers to the nihilistic secularism that pervades Europe, and the West, is not politics, but a spiritual renewal based on the powerful example in history of St. Benedict and the amazing cultural impact the Benedictine Order had on a similarly declining Europe in the Middle Ages. Beginning in the 6th century, Benedictine monasteries and spirituality saved Western Europe from a descent into barbarism after the fall of the Roman Empire.
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