April 1, 2011

Benedict XVI, Hans Küng and Fr. de Lubac

Is contemporary Europe a religiously-barren place? Maybe, maybe not. What is certain is that two books, written by two Catholic theologians, recently rocketed up Germany’s best-seller list. One of the theologians is Benedict XVI. The other is Fr. Hans Küng, whose text, Ist die Kirche noch zu retten? (Can the Church Still Be Saved?), was published the same week as volume two of Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth. In his Vatican II diaries, the great French theologian Henri de Lubac entered pithy observations about his two colleagues (as well as all those he encountered). Joseph Ratzinger is portrayed as one whose powerful intellect is matched by his “peacefulness” and “affability.” Hans Küng, by contrast, is denoted as possessing a “juvenile audacity” and speaking in “incendiary, superficial, and polemical” terms. Read this piece by Samuel Gregg, Research Director at the Acton Institute, to further explore the differences between the two theologians and their respective visions of the Church.

If Hillary Calls Assad a Reformer

  Assad & Ahmedinejad
Yet another interesting point of view on the U.S. administration’s policy towards the Arab revolution. This time the focus is on Syria (after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is “a reformer”). Charles Krauthammer in his Friday column in the Washington Post:

Sometimes you cover for a repressive ally because you need it for U.S. national security. Hence our muted words about Bahrain. Hence our slow response on Egypt. But there are rare times when strategic interest and moral imperative coincide completely. Syria is one such — a monstrous police state whose regime consistently works to thwart U.S. interests in the region.
Yet here was the secretary of state covering for the Syrian dictator against his own opposition. And it doesn’t help that Clinton tried to walk it back two days later by saying she was simply quoting others. Rubbish. Of the myriad opinions of Assad, she chose to cite precisely one: reformer. That’s an endorsement, no matter how much she later pretends otherwise.
And it’s not just the words; it’s the policy behind it. This delicacy toward Assad is dismayingly reminiscent of President Obama’s response to the 2009 Iranian uprising during which he was scandalously reluctant to support the demonstrators, while repeatedly reaffirming the legitimacy of the brutal theocracy suppressing them.
No one is asking for a Libya-style rescue. Just simple truth-telling. If Kerry wants to make a fool of himself by continuing to insist that Assad is an agent of change, well, it’s a free country. But Clinton speaks for the nation.