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Pope Benedict XVI, The Papal Science
A lecture at the university of Regensburg, 12 September 2006; published at the web site of the Vatican © under the title "Faith, Reason and the University - Memories and Reflections". Here published (complete) with comments by Ellopos. All non-papal text is in green color and/or inside [square brackets]. * Blog
WHEN the pope praises Greek culture, usually a defamation of Hellenism is being born or repeated, no less than when he attacks the Greeks, and this speech is not an exception, as we will see.
I recall a conversation about the Christian heritage of Europe, when a participant (Angelica from Germany) panicked at the prospect of a union of Christianity, which for her means a tyrannical "central control and bureaucratic power". I understand this feeling after the terror papacy produced, and beyond any such feeling I believe too, that an official union would bring only disasters, due to the great difference between the papoprotestant and the orthodox spirituality. The papal speech gives another occasion to think on this difference and know why good intentions are not enough, even less when they lack memory.
Your Eminences, Your Magnificences, Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a moving experience for me to be back again in the university and to be able once again to give a lecture at this podium. I think back to those years when, after a pleasant period at the Freisinger Hochschule, I began teaching at the University of Bonn. That was in 1959, in the days of the old university made up of ordinary professors. The various chairs had neither assistants nor secretaries, but in recompense there was much direct contact with students and in particular among the professors themselves. We would meet before and after lessons in the rooms of the teaching staff. There was a lively exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between the two theological faculties.
An assistant increases the free time of a professor, so that exchange of knowledge normally should increase too – unless professors stopped meeting with each other, because they let assistants and secretaries do all the talking. In such a case, our question is, what kind of knowledge and will to communicate and unify knowledge, does not suffice to make professors meet with each other?
Besides this, if direct contact is so important to knowledge, why is important only in professional talk, and not in teaching the students? If I have an indirect and impersonal relationship with my students, how can I expect something (and how much?) different to exist or last in my relationship with the other professors – a 'personal' relationship which, if indeed existed, it would normally seek to expand also to the teaching, instead of being itself abolished.
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Orthodoxy and Science : A changing relationship? * Papacy * Constantinople