Correspondence

Another Liberation Theology

It has been more than four centuries since the last time that a German was elevated to the chair of Saint Peter. Pope Hadrian VI (1522-1523) was from Utrecht, a city within the Holy Roman Empire. Before his election as pope, he had been the teacher of Erasmus of Rotterdam, the principal representative of German Humanismus, the intellectual movement of that time, when Germany was the academic center of the Western world. Hadrian VI was a pious intellectual who was heavily resented by the political class of the time because of his insistence on the morality of everyday life. His similarity to Benedict XVT is striking. In his short tenure, Hadrian VI did not succeed in preventing the spread of Protestantism, which he did not want to oppose by political means but by persuasive theological arguments and reforming the Church from within.

Today, the Catholic Church in Germany is not threatened by a new branch of Christianity but by a sort of liberation theology that is much more insidious than the Latin American version that Cardinal Ratzinger successfully opposed as chief of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Liberation theology in Germany is the civic religion of Rousseau, who deemed such an official belief system necessary for a democratic regime. The major tenet of the German version of civil religion was recently expressed by the leader of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) (and chancellor-in-waiting...

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