Truth as the Reigning Principle
Posted on: Feb 21, 2023
Today’s prize for the combination of breadth and depth goes once again to Joseph Ratzinger, whose 1985 analysis of our predicament is as succinct as it is prescient and profound. It comes from his analysis of the “reorientation of the idea of truth toward praxis [that is, toward its political application]…[and] how seemingly all at once…theologians and their communities became the most effective proponents of the neo-Marxist movement.”
“There is an interesting paradox here. It was only Marxism [Liberation Theology], at least in this particular situation, people thought, that could help the ailing field of theology back onto its feet and give it back its self-confidence as a true academic discipline. And it was only an influx of religious passion that could restore in Marxism, already scientifically and politically depleted outside of those areas where it still held sway, the splendor of hope for humanity. It is at this point that we are once again confronted with the problem of pluralism. The concept of a theology in which truth has been superseded by praxis makes no provision for pluralism at the time when it reaches its true goal, as little as the Marxist conception itself does, in fact. One liberation theologian recently added to the functions of the Church unity enumerated in the letter to the Ephesians, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all” (Eph 4:5-6). He said that they should add “one option,” by which he meant a political option, and that this option, inasmuch as it is unity in praxis, is the only real unity. Pluralism has its role as an intermediate state and only as an intermediate stage. As long as the ecclesial theology that is defined by the Creed remains in place, pluralism is needed in order to create space for theology oriented toward praxis. In the end, however, there can be only one option, which means only one praxis and, consequently, ultimately only one theory at the service of this praxis. In other words, the final result of relinquishing the truth is not liberation, but uniformity.” [The Divine Project, p. 153.]
In other words, as broad swaths of academic theology turned themselves into a minor branch of the field of history in attempt to recover their loss of academic influence and intellectual significance, they drew new vigor from the neo-Marxist “immanentized eschatology,” which itself was eager for an infusion of pseudo-religiosity. Joseph Ratzinger saw this in 1985. Now that it is becoming perfectly clear that pluralism, with is incessant appeals to tolerance, was but an intermediate stage in the inexorable movement toward a new and powerful totalitarianism, we can be belatedly grateful to our beloved Benedict XVI for his extraordinary wisdom and courage.