Cardinal Outlines Vision of a New Apologetics

Calls for Discussion on Human Freedom, Sexuality

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ROME, APRIL 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is emphasizing the need for a new apologetics that includes a focus on creation, charity work and interfaith dialogue.

Cardinal William Levada affirmed this today in a lecture at a conference on the theme “A New Apologetics for a New Millennium.” The two-day congress, which began today, was organized by the Regina Apostolorum university.

In his address on “The Urgency of a New Apologetics for the Church in the 21st Century,” the cardinal noted that this topic “is tied intimately with the call to a new evangelization, which the Servant of God Pope John Paul II set before the Church as the principal task of its mission at the beginning of the third millennium of Christianity.”

“Today’s task,” he affirmed, “requires an ever greater coherence between faith and life by the one who ‘gives an explanation or defense’ of his belief and hope in Christ.”

“A new apologetics for the new millennium should focus on the beauty of God’s creation,” the prelate asserted.

He continued, “For this apologetic to be credible, we must pay greater attention to the mystery and the beauty of Catholic worship, of a sacramental vision of the world that lets us recognize and value the beauty of creation as a foreshadowing of the new heavens and the new earth.”

Cardinal Levada affirmed that “the witness of our lives as believers who put our faith into practice by work for justice and charity as followers who imitate Jesus, our Master, is an important dimension of our credibility as dialogue partners in a time of a new apologetics.”

Solidarity

“Our solidarity with our fellow citizens, whose sense of responsibility may be partial but real — expressed in causes for the environment, for the poor, for economic justice — is important,” he said.

“At the same time,” the cardinal added, “our ability to articulate the full vision of truth, justice and charity is essential to ensure that such witness and action is not just a passing phase, but can make a lasting contribution to the creation of a civilization of love.”

He noted that “a dialogue about the meaning and purpose of human freedom is essential in today’s culture.”

“If freedom is directed toward reinforcing the individualism of a ‘me-first’ culture,” the prelate explained, “it will never realize the potential offered by the One who made us in his own image and likeness as free to respond to the great gift of divine love.”

Cardinal Levada underlined the “need to pursue the dialogue with science and technology.”

He stated: “Many scientists speak of their personal faith; yet the public face of science is resolutely agnostic. 

“Here is a fertile and necessary field for dialogue.”

Evolution and creation

“Surely the new millennium will offer new opportunities to expand this key dimension of the dialogue between faith and reason,” the cardinal said. “And among the questions that most need attention today is that of evolution in relation to the doctrine of creation.”

Referencing the book “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis, he underlined another “key theme for apologetics: the longing for the good, and its related themes of a natural moral law and of the validity of human reason common to all humanity.”

“For Lewis, as for today’s apologetics,” the prelate affirmed, “an important sub-theme was a right understanding of human sexuality.”

As well, he continued, “a new apologetics must take into account the ecumenical and interfaith context of any dialogue about religious faith in a secular world.”

“Questions of spirit and faith engage all the great religious traditions and must be addressed with an openness to interfaith dialogue,” Cardinal Levada stated.

He added that “our apologetics will only be strengthened by common witness and testimony with our fellow Christians about the purpose of God’s revelation in Christ, for our own lives and for the world in which we live.”

The cardinal affirmed that “the call for a new apologetics for the 21st century does not, in my view, amount to a ‘mission impossible.'”

He concluded that “it should be possible after all to find the truth of the mind and of the heart in just such a dialogue where there emerges what Christians have learned to be the mind and strength and heart and soul of the Gospel revealed in Jesus: that God is love, and that our creation in God’s image and likeness makes all humanity able to love God above all things and love our neighbor as ourselves.”

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-29086?l=english

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