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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI: Classical liberalism is the heart of Europe

"Murray Rothbard, though not a Catholic, held that we owe the very ideas of freedom and individualism to the Church" says Lew Rockwell, as he introduces an article about a letter from Pope Benedict XVI in which "[he] says that classical liberalism is the heart of Europe, criticizes multiculturalism, and warns that liberals go wrong when their reject their religious foundations."

That reminds me of a story about Rothbard, who reportedly told Father Robert Sirico "I don't believe in God, but I believe that Mary was His mother."

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 2, 2008 - At the heart of liberalism is the Christian image of God, and rediscovering that is the key to overcoming the current crisis of ethics in Europe and the world, says Benedict XVI.

 The Pope wrote this in a letter sent in September to Italian philosopher and senator Marcello Pera, in response to the latter's latest book titled "Perche dobbiamo dirci cristiani. Il liberalismo, l'Europa, l'etica" (Why We Must Call Ourselves Christians: Liberalism, Europe, and Ethics").

Published by Mondadori, the Italian-language book will be presented Thursday in Rome. The letter appears as a foreward in the text. 

Marcello Pera, 65, president of the Italian Senate during the last legislature, dedicated his academic research to his friend Karl Popper, Austrian philosopher of the "open society."
In his letter, Benedict XVI acknowledged the text to be "a fascinating read," and he applauded Pera's analysis of liberalism. "With an exceptional knowledge of the foundations, and with convincing logic, you analyze the essence of liberalism from its principles, showing that rooted in the heart of liberalism is the Christian image of God."
"With irreproachable logic, you show how liberalism loses its base and destroys itself if it abandons this foundation," he added.
The Pope also expressed his admiration for Pera's analysis of liberty, and the concept of multiculturalism, in which he "shows the internal contradiction of this concept and, therefore, its political and cultural impossibility."

... The Holy Father said he believed Pera's proposals are necessary to overcome "the contemporary crisis of ethics."
"You show that liberalism, without failing to be liberalism -- rather, to be faithful to itself -- can refer to a doctrine of the good, in particular the Christian, which is familiar to it, thus truly offering a contribution to overcome the crisis," he continued.

Read the rest.

(h/t the young fogey at A Conservative Blog for ☮)

Posted by Kalim Kassam on December 4, 2008 in Libertarianism | Permalink


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