Author: Benedict XVI Is Unafraid of Causing Discomfort

Calls Pontiff Gentle and Humble, Plain-Spoken and Perturbing

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

ROME, MARCH 22, 2011 ( Benedict XVI is distinguished by gentleness and humility, but that does not stop him from touching the bare nerves of the world and the Church.

How does he do that? By proclaiming a God who is Love and who is Truth.

This is the observation made by Stefano Fontana in his book «L’Eta del Papa Scomodo» (The Age of the Plain-Speaking Pope), published by Cantagalli with the support of the Magna Carta Foundation.

Fontana, the director of the Cardinal van Thuân International Observatory for the Social Doctrine of the Church, presents in the book three years of articles (2007-2010) published on the Web site

He spoke with ZENIT about his view of Benedict XVI as a Pope who might shake people out of their comfort zone.

«By confirming that Christianity is the true religion, this Pope has caused two explosive consequences,» he said. «The first is his having drawn the world to question itself about its own truth; the second is his having claimed a public role for the Christian religion. These are two exacting requests that many sectors, whether in the world or the Church, have trouble accepting and often openly oppose.»

Presenting Christianity as truth, Fontana asserted, means that the world is «called to redo its reckoning of truth itself, in fact with the subject of truth as such, after thousands of philosophies have said, and continue to say, that truth doesn’t exist.»

Then, «to ask for a place for God in the world» goes against a view of politics without any absolutes,» the author continued.

Challenging a widespread mentality is «difficult and painful,» Fontana proposed, and that’s why this Pope can cause discomfort, not only to the world, but also within the Church.


«Benedict XVI preaches two things: that God is love and that God is truth. He causes discomfort above all because of the second affirmation,» Fontana said. «The world, in fact, accepts in some way that Christianity announce a truth proposed with love, but it does not accept that it proposes a love respectful of truth.»

The Pontiff proposes «non-negotiables,» the author told ZENIT, and this brings opposition, from society and churchmen both.

«[I]n present-day society there is nothing that is ‘non-negotiable,’ that is absolutely true or false, good or bad,» he said. And «in order to have ‘non-negotiable’ principles there must be a place for God in the world. Without God everything is negotiable. For this reason the ‘non-negotiable principles’ of life, of the family, of liberty of education become continually grounds for this Pope’s ‘uncomfortableness.'»

Other reasons are more specific, Fontana proposed: «The subject of the liturgy, for example, or that of the evaluation of the Second Vatican Council, of the use of the condom in the fight against AIDS, and women priests. In the end, however, all these more specific topics, can lead back to those that I have mentioned above.

«The logic of the world would like to impede the logic of the Church from existing and would like her also to be conformed to the logic of the world. Is there equality of rights among men? Then why can a woman never become a priest? Is there the right of liberty? Why, then, can one not procreate as one wishes? Is democracy not a value? Then why can there not be a liturgical democracy with the individual communities inventing their own liturgy? As can be seen, the world does not accept that the Christian religion should express a truth and would like to extend to her the truth of the world.

«But the Pope says precisely the contrary. He does not deny the natural truths, but says that if they are deprived of supernatural light they also lose the way. Hence it is understandable that this Pope, though with the gentleness that distinguishes him, touches all the bare nerves of the world and also of so many sectors of the Church.»

[Reporting by Antonio Gaspari]

— — —

On the Net:

For more information:

«L’Eta del Papa Scomodo» (in Italian):

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation