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Reason must be warned to keep within its proper limits

The awesome mind of Pope Benedict XVI – Telegraph Blogs
Will Heaven
Westminster just received a dose of some of the finest theology written in the last half-century. That might sound over the top, but this fact is widely acknowledged: even if Joseph Ratzinger hadn’t entered the clergy, he would have been a world-famous academic and theologian. The speech he delivered in Westminster Hall was as profound, then, as it was historic.
“The role of religion in political debate,” he said, is “… to help purify and shed light upon the application of reason to the discovery of objective moral principles.” He continued: “Without the corrective supplied by religion… reason too can fall prey to distortions...“This is why reason, too, must be warned to keep within its proper limits, and it must learn a willingness to listen to the great religious traditions of mankind. If it cuts itself completely adrift and rejects this willingness to learn, this relatedness, reason becomes destructive.”

I'm happy for Will that this twaddle enables him to achieve rapture, but step away from the smells and bells and examine it slowly.

Leave aside the very questionable assumption that there are such things as "objective moral principles" (the proper term probably lies closer to a collective subjective morality) and read it for what it is.

It is an attack on the use of reason.

Reason is only useful so long as it agrees with what my imaginary friend tells me late at night. And if MIF tells me something different then go with that rather the application of facts.
When this is commanded to be applied to the way countries are run then it is right we protest it.

Comments

I do not see it as an 'attack on reason', at all.

Reason does not include morality in its technical detail, just as surgery doesn't. Bur morals can inform reason.

But do you want an immoral surgeon cutting you open?

There ARE objective moral principles. They are objective in their mileu, just as Navigation Principles are objective when at sea. Try saiing your way across the ocean without them, or even sailing around a coast without a chart. Just being able to steer or raise a sail is not enough.

As a farmer you will know that simply knowing how to sow and reap is insufficient. You have to know the seasons too. They are objective.

Well put Amfortas.

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