The Pope Emeritus Responds to an Atheist

In 2011, Italian atheist, Piergiorgio Odifreddi, published a book called Dear Pope, I am Writing to You, in which he criticized some of Pope Benedict’s writings.

Benedict recently published his response, which he says was delayed because of his duties and his desire to actually read the book before commenting.

He begins with, “Thank you for the faithful manner in which you dealt with my text, earnestly seeking to do it justice.” But then he says,

“My opinion of your book as a whole, however, is rather mixed. I read some parts of it with enjoyment and profit. In other parts, however, I was surprised by a certain aggressiveness and rashness of argumentation. I would like to respond chapter by chapter, but unfortunately I do not have sufficient strength for this. I shall therefore choose a few points that I think are particularly important.”

I’ve included a link below to the English translation.  I found it too difficult to read on my monitor, so created a printable document in Word, so I can give it some first morning brain cells tomorrow. It’s 8½ pages.

To whet your appetite, here are an excerpt on the relationship between faith and reason:

“An important function of theology is to keep religion tied to reason and reason to religion. Both roles are of essential importance for humanity. In my dialogue with Habermas, I have shown that there are pathologies of religion and — no less dangerous — pathologies of reason. They both need each other, and keeping them constantly connected is an important task of theology.”

And another on the Church as a sign of goodness and beauty, despite the evils that afflict it:

“If we may not remain silent about evil in the Church, then neither should we keep silent about the great shining path of goodness and purity which the Christian faith has traced out over the course of the centuries.”

The National Catholic Register has the full English translation of Benedict’s letter

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