Ratzinger Prize in Theology Helps to See the Way for the New Evangelization

Monsignor Giuseppe Scotti Speaks on Viewing Life Through God’s Perspective

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By Sergio Mora

ROME, OCT. 1, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The following is ZENIT’s interview with Msgr. Giuseppe Scotti, president of the Ratzinger Foundation, deputy secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and president of the Superintendency Council of the Vatican Library, which took place last Friday after the presentation of the Ratzinger Prize to journalists in the Holy See Press Office.

ZENIT: What is the role of theology in the New Evangelization?

Monsignor Scotti: I think this prize of the Ratzinger Foundation, though not directly linked with the Synod, helps one intuit a different way for the New Evangelization: theology, which is the very way indicated by the Pope. In fact, theology must speak to contemporary man, it must address with him
the problems of today’s world and lead him to say: this discourse is true and if it is true it concerns me, and if it concerns me, what must I change?

ZENIT: Hence theology should be linked to one’s personal life?

Monsignor Scotti: Yes. In particular, the Synod will have to help to overcome the dichotomy between what is thought and what is lived. These two realms can’t be separated, because in the long run one is without prospects for the future. Hence the objective is to lead one’s thought and search for
truth to the level of concrete life.

ZENIT: Theologians are often seen as “thinkers in an ivory tower.”

Monsignor Scotti: I remember a book of introduction to the Bible, which I used for my pupils, in which a very significant example is given. When the Bible was recounted people were fascinated. When, instead, the author spoke as professor of Exegesis he did not find the same reaction. I also had this experience, and the same was true for Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, and for Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini and for all those who try to bring the Bible down to daily life.

ZENIT: What meaning does all this have?

Monsignor Scotti: It is necessary to think of the Bible as the building of a great cathedral for which specialists necessarily are useful. When, however, someone enters this cathedral at night, where he never goes because he thinks that only specialists can access it, he enters a strange place in which he discovers the whole beauty. And then he is full of admiration and joy. This is the challenge that we must address; to make theology a daily experience.

ZENIT: We have a theologian Pope. Many lamented this because they said ”we should have a less complicated Pope, more pastoral.” It seems paradoxical that a theologian should launch the New Evangelization.

Monsignor Scotti: If what I’ve said up to now is true, this is clear, because theology leads you to look at your life with God’s perspective. Through it, you understand that your life changes, but it doesn’t change
because you plan it in a different way, but because you let yourself be accompanied by God.

ZENIT: In Latin America in the 80s theology was very politicized, and Ratzinger had to explain and put “bolts” on Liberation Theology. Now that the latter has been surmounted, what theological direction should Latin America take?

Monsignor Scotti: Latin America is in an ideal condition, because unlike Europe, it has not had the shock of the French Revolution, with all that it had of the beautiful and difficult, because – even if afterwards it’s not exactly so – at the level of perception it was lived as a break.

Latin American has not lived this break, and in my opinion its richness lies in being capable of entering modern time speaking with today’s language on topics such as the existing unity between faith and science, faith and culture, faith and art, faith and politics.

ZENIT: It’s said that Latin America is the continent of hope.

Monsignor Scotti: Yes, but not only because there are so many young people there but rather because it is a continent that has not felt the weight of fracture. It detached itself from Europe though it has clearly European roots, but it has not felt the effects of this separation.

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