ROME – Politicians who want to act as if God did not exist and as if there was no such thing as objective moral truths are bound to fail in their efforts to promote the common good, said a Vatican official.

“The politics we have today in Europe and North America without ethical foundations, without a reference to God, cannot resolve our problems, even those of the market and money,” said Archbishop Gerhard L Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The archbishop, coordinator of the project to publish the complete works of Joseph Ratzinger-Pope Benedict XVI, said one of the key teachings of the pope is the importance of faith and reason going hand in hand.

Speaking on Jan 11 at a Vatican bookstore in downtown Rome, Archbishop Muller said, “Faith and reason are like two people who love each other deeply, who cannot live without each other, and who were intimately made for one another, so much so that they cannot be considered separate from one another and cannot reach their goals separately”.

He quoted Pope Benedict XVI’s speech to diplomats on Jan 7: “It is precisely man’s forgetfulness of God, and his failure to give Him glory, which gives rise to violence. Indeed, once we no longer make reference to an objective and transcendent truth, how is it possible to achieve an authentic dialogue?”

Archbishop Muller said that in the current run-up to Italian elections he has heard that some politicians want the Catholic Church to “talk about love, charity and mercy of God” but not insist that the truths it preaches be upheld.

“But where is love without truth?” the archbishop asked.

The archbishop made his comments during a short presentation of his new book in Italian, Ampliare L’Orizzonte della Ragione. Per una Lettura di Joseph Ratzinger-Benedetto XVI, (Broadening the Horizons of Reason: Reading Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI).

In the book, Archbishop Muller highlights the importance Pope Benedict gives to the need for faith and reason to support and purify one another; the pope’s insistence that Christianity is primarily about a relationship with Jesus Christ and not simply the acceptance of rules and doctrines; and the key role that studying the life and work of St Augustine has had both on the pope’s theology and on his ministry. n CNS

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