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from issue no. 05 - 2005

The Power and The Grace


The presentation of the book by 30Days The Power and the Grace (from 30Days - October 1998) on the actuality of Saint Augustine, with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in the “Sala del Cenacolo” of the Chamber of Deputies


The presentation of the book The Power and the Grace on Saint Agustine with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinge


Above Giulio Andreotti inaugurates the presentation by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of the book Il potere e la grazia.

Above Giulio Andreotti inaugurates the presentation by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of the book Il potere e la grazia.

GIULIO ANDREOTTI:
Eminence, although I have been a member of the other House of Parliament for the past seven years [the Senate], the Chamber of Deputies had been my “home” for 45 years and so I feel I can welcome you and thank you and all our guests for keeping this special appointment today. All I have to do is inaugurate the occasion.
There is no doubt that in this place, the Chamber of Deputies compound, we are in the very heart of the earthly City. And, in effect, the ambiance is a very particular one, so particular that when foreign delegations come to visit, especially delegations from countries classified as non-Christian, they are obviously amazed at the sight of these paintings and we find we have to tell them the history of them ... Today is September 21, reminding us that it was not exactly here (where a convent once was) but a number of years ago in Montecitorio Palace, seat of the Tribunal, the day after the events of September 20 at Porta Pia, that something rather singular happened. If history serves us well, Montecitorio was the only palace under attack. For, it was the Tribunal and, therefore, they wanted to spirit the archives away - but not for any reason of clericalism versus anti-clericalism. Why should I remember that? Because the last chapter of this book - which somewhat stretches the horizon of the Augustinian scheme of things in the rest of the volume - reports the greeting of the mayor of Rome to the Holy Father on a visit to the Campidoglio [Capitoline Hill, current seat of the city government]. We who live our political lives here in Parliament are certainly dogged many times by difficulties. But thank God we were born at a time when the relationship between the political world and the religious world is possible, problem- and conflict-free. But then, even before its effective conclusion, the “Roman Question” was already considered resolved in the higher echelons. We had Paul VI’s famous address (who had already spoken to the issue as a cardinal) in which he said that it had been a blessing for the Church that it was delivered of temporal power. So everything links up to a degree. All I would like to say is that, of all the features of the Chamber of Deputies, this is known as the place of religious activity: in the cloister there is the small church of St. Gregory Nazianzus where Monsignor Fisichella (and we are all delighted that he is staying on after his appointment as auxiliary bishop of Rome) says Mass four times a week. This, too, is significant.
The last thing I would like to stress is this: of all the Fathers of the Church, Saint Augustine is particularly fascinating not only for what he wrote but also as a man. Thinking back to one of my school years, I remember how successful our religion teacher had been in choosing Confessions as a textbook. It was then that I began to have a little more understanding of things. I don’t say I have understood everything about this man, who is interesting if only for his own personal story (think of the course of his life: his departure from Africa, his arrival in Rome, his failure to find a receptive environment here with its particular school, his providential journey to Milan, his relationship with St. Ambrose, his homecoming ...). Something struck me as I read the Enciclopedia cattolica: under “Saint Augustine” (there are numerous pages on him making for what seems to me to be a very accurate study). It says literally (and here, perhaps, the Holy Office, were it still in existence, would have intervened) that, when he went to Carthage, this 17-year-old “bent himself to a certain regulation, uniting without marriage, but with great fidelity to the woman and mother of his son”. This, of course, is not the most important thing but I think it is significant that the pathway of grace in St. Augustine began, if not from the bottom rung - for there’s worse - but from a situation totally removed to arrive at what can be said to be an apotheosis both in terms of culture and religious spirit. And he gets there, not by chance, by passing through Rome, Milan and then going back to Africa where, Carthage today presents stupendous things from the archeological point of view for us to look at but sadly nothing of any great historical significance. It is this great humanity of St. Augustine, I think, that should teach us to make a habit of never being pessimistic. Sometimes history takes much longer than we expect. Culture, too, cannot be measured on the same time scale as other realities. However, I believe that it will do us all good to stop and think about St. Augustine for a few moments.
Again, Eminence, let me say how profoundly grateful I am to you for agreeing to present this book of ours.

The facade of St. Gregory Nazianzus with its 12th century belltower. Here, four times a week, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome Rino Fisichella celebrates Mass for MPs and Senators

The facade of St. Gregory Nazianzus with its 12th century belltower. Here, four times a week, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome Rino Fisichella celebrates Mass for MPs and Senators

JOSEPH RATZINGER:
Senator, Your Excellencies, My Lords Bishop, Ladies and Gentlemen, first of all let me say ... or correct, even, the text of the invitation: in fact, because of my numerous commitments in recent months, I have not had time to read this book carefully or seriously. So I am not sufficiently prepared to present it properly. However, I was happy to accept the invitation simply because of my friendship with and admiration for St. Augustine. Also, it is a source of true joy for me that a news magazine such as 30DAYS presented this figure for months to the public at large in the context of a dialogue with our times, dialogue that truly highlights the profundity and actuality of his thinking. This fact, that St. Augustine should become accessible to our questionings, in our here and now, is my source of joy and so I said yes, paradoxically perhaps, unjustifiably perhaps, when I should have said no.
So I must apologize if I seem unprepared and incapable of presenting this book in all its real value, its profound content.
I feel I can mention two elements which, on a superficial reading, appear to be the most important ones and which are already there in the title - the power and the grace. When I embarked on my dialogue with St. Augustine 50 years ago, I almost immediately found in him a contemporary, a man who does not speak from afar and from a totally different context from our own but who, having lived in a context very similar to ours, responds - in his own way, of course - to problems which are our same problems.
The first problem underlying the word “power” is the so-called political theology, the relationship between the political world and the religious world. Senator Andreotti has already said that this ambiance makes us think a great deal about the relationship between the two worlds. Augustine lived in a juridically Christian empire where Christianity was the religion of State although the majority of citizens were still not Christian. The emperor was Christian and he considered himself the protector of the Church - indeed, the personification of the Church which he identified, almost, with the empire. And in a State where Christianity is the official religion, intertwined with the highest echelons of that State, there is a great danger that even the theologian and the bishop lose sight of the difference between the two to the extent that the faith is politicized - something that jars with its liberty and also its universality. The truth is that in the period and generation prior to St. Augustine, Eusebius of Caesarea had created a political theology in this sense by which the Empire and the Church could be almost identified with each other. The empire becomes the way in which God realizes his project for history. The problem with this was manifest in the Arian crisis which was not just a crisis of Christological teaching, of Christological faith, but above all a crisis of the right relationship between Church and State, between politics and faith. A case in point is the episode at the Synod of Milan in 355 when Eusebius of Vercelli, one of the great figures who resisted the temptation to identify the Church with the State, refused to bend to the will of the emperor who wanted him to sign a document of Arian faith. The Emperor Constans replied to Eusebius of Vercelli, who considered this document incompatible with the laws of the Church, thus: “I am the law of the Church”. The faith then became a function of the empire. With very few others, Eusebius of Vercelli is one of the great figures who, as I said, resisted such insinuations and who defended the liberty of the Church, the liberty of the faith and its universality. This, a generation later, appears more difficult in St. Augustine’s lifetime because the Nicene faith had also been accepted in the meantime by the emperors. Therefore, now that there are no further conflicts of this kind, one could easily be tempted to start identifying the Church with the State, arriving at a kind of inculturation of the faith, in which faith and culture are inseparable, identified one with the other and so the faith loses its universality, both diachronic and synchronic. Faith, that is, is no longer capable of self-communication to other cultural worlds or to other times with other cultures. At a time when this great temptation was rife, St. Augustine was the man who defended the essential difference which cannot ever be eliminated even in situations of privilege where whole populations, almost, identify with the Church. He was no doubt assisted by the fact that, in the year 410, the Goths conquered and sacked Rome, and the pagans reacted, saying: “There you are, now, this has happened with Christianity. When the gods of the patria were still there, Rome was protected. It was the capital of the world. Now you have expelled the gods, and St. Peter and St. Paul, your patrons, are not capable of defending the city. We see that we will have to go back to the gods”. And so the pagans become (and rightly so from their point of view) the propagators of a political theology by which the gods are a function of the State and the State is a function of the divinities. It was in the very midst of this profound spiritual crisis that St. Augustine grasped, that he saw that identifying the Church with the State was a characteristic of the pagan religion whereby the divinities were autoctonous and a party to this reality. But a faith that believes in the one God, in the God of all peoples and all cultures, cannot be so identified. And so he insists that there can be no confusing Church and State. The Church in all its fragility, in its total insertion within the human things of a given time and in the sins of a given time, is nevertheless a different reality, the sign of a new future society which is not State now but a foretaste through the Church for the future and it moves history towards that future. Meanwhile, the State remains the State of the present and its function is distinct from the Church.
I have no wish now to go deeper into this but I think the great merit of St. Augustine is that he created this philosophy, this theology of the diversity of the functions, in shared responsibility both guided by values such as to construct a just society. We well know how difficult it was for St. Augustine’s contemporaries to grasp this distinction. Even his friend Orosius, in his book on the history, on the city of God, falls more or less into the trap of identifying the Church with the State. Then the Middle Ages generated a political Augustinism which was a misinterpretation of true Augustinism. But on closer reading the greatness of the figure of St. Augustine emerges. And I think that any political philosophy and any authentic ecclesiology - faith in the one God who is God of all, the search for authentic universality of the faith expressed in all cultures though never identifying with any of their themes - may even today have much to learn from dialogue with St. Augustine.
Secondly, the title of the book speaks to us of power and it speaks of grace. As we know in the second and last part of St. Augustine’s life, this became his great theme while, in the debate both with pagan reaction and donatism, he saw above all the need to address the theme of power and the theme of the diversity of spheres. By force of circumstance, he also enters into a debate with certain trends in the monasticism of his time featuring a type of moralism whose supreme figure was Pelagius. In him monasticism, initially a life of adoration proper and fuga saeculi as they used to say, becomes moralism by which, on the strength of human morality, the new society is constructed. The temptation to turn Christianity into a kind of moralism and to concentrate everything on man’s moral action has always been great. For, man sees himself above all. God remains invisible, untouchable and, therefore, man takes his support mainly from his own action. But if God does not act, if God is not a true agent in history who also enters into my personal life, then what does redemption mean? Of what value is our relationship with Christ and, thus, with the Trinitarian God? I think the temptation to reduce Christianity to the level of a type of moralism is very great indeed even in our own day, and I am very grateful that 30DAYS trains a focus on this problem often. For we are all living in an atmosphere of deism. Our notion of natural laws does not facilitate us in believing in any action of God in our world. It seems that there is no room for God himself to act in human history and in my life. And so we have the idea of God who can no longer enter into this cosmos, made and closed against him. What is left? Our action. And we are the ones who must transform the world. We are the ones who must generate redemption. We are the ones who must create the better world, a new world. And if that is how one thinks, then Christianity is dead and the language of religion becomes a purely symbolic, empty language. 30DAYS deserves great credit for illustrating how, in modern prayers including the translations of liturgical prayers, there is this temptation to disregard the hope in God’s intervention - it seems too ingenuous to hope for that - and it turns everything into appeals to us to act. That’s very understandable. But it means that we are lacking authentic dialogue, lacking the force of eternal love which is the true force such as to respond to the challenges of our lives and of politics. Augustine was familiar with this tendency. He replied to it strongly and, being a doctor of grace, invites us to follow him and to entrust us and our action to communion with the action of God, to believe that love is a power - a power even in today’s world - and that love has the capacity to transform the world. It spurs our love and, in this communion of the two wills, so to speak, one can go on. Therefore and in other words, Augustine teaches that Christian holiness and rectitude do not consist in any superhuman greatness or in some superior talent. If that were the case, Christianity would become a religion for just a few heroes or for chosen groups, for monks who have the time to practise it and the strength to do so. This was the vision of philosophy in late antiquity by which philosophers have the capacity to attain the lofty heights of the divinity while the ordinary people had to be content to live on a lower level. Augustine says no. He says that the Christian faith is properly the religion of ordinary people, that the Lord communicates himself to ordinary people. So it is not a superhuman thing, but comes about in a state of obedience that places us at God’s disposition wherever he calls. It is the same obedience that does not trust to one’s own power or one’s own greatness but is founded on the greatness of the God of Jesus Christ. It is conscious, too, that this divine greatness may be found in service proper and in losing oneself, in letting oneself be guided by the truth and moved by love.
One last observation: the title provokes a very last thought in me. The Power and the Grace might be translated or at least associated with another expression: the visible and the invisible. In our times, the urging of the visible, of the controllable has grown more and more to the extent that today we believe we are more emancipated, that we have more sense because we take seriously only what is visible and what we can dominate. In reality, this diminishes the visual capacity of our minds and hearts. We can no longer look upon the invisible and the eternal without which all the visible things could neither subsist nor exist in the final analysis.
To conclude, Augustine is up to date for this reason, too. For, his figure is an exhortation to trust in the invisible, to recognize what is really important and decisive for our lives. Thank you.
Andreotti and Ratzinger talk in the cloister

Andreotti and Ratzinger talk in the cloister


GIULIO ANDREOTTI:
Now the brief interventions of our three authors.

MASSIMO BORGHESI:
I would make brief appeal to the content of the book and its meaning, starting with the title on which His Eminence also dwelled. It is reminiscent of Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory. But a work by Reinhold Schneider has also a similar title - Macht und Gnade (Power and Grace). The book we are presenting here marks the conclusion of a conceptual itinerary. Its significance lies in the measure to which it has grasped a point which is not of today but from a long time ago. From this point of view, it would be interesting to look back over the final years of the weekly, Il Sabato. We would note a continuity in its reflections with those of 30DAYS. Not by chance were some of the articles collated in this book taken from Il Sabato. Well, Il Sabato at the end of the 1980s had embarked on sharp criticism of the priority accorded by broad sectors of the Church to the “ethical question”, totally centred on the “crisis” and “restoration” of values. At the time, the expression “Pelagianism” was used to mean the moralistic ideology underlying ecclesial praxis. It was really Il Sabato which trained a new spotlight on the name of Pelagius, a more or less unknown author at that time outside of the sphere of the experts. The intention had been to make urgent appeal to the Church not to reduce itself to the level of agency of ethics for a world in crisis but to re-discover at a deeper level its proper mission and proper significance in the contemporary world. In the final analysis, the Church as agency of ethics tended to adopt the notion of “intellectual and moral reform” in the terms in which Antonio Gramsci spoke of it. The basic intention was born of the problem of hegemony, a “Catholic” hegemony to be won back on the very terrain of morality and behavior. I remember that, in those years, Pelagianism was criticized by the Left-wing in the posthumous writings of Claudio Napoleoni, Cercate ancora. Lettere sulla laicità (Keep Looking. Letters on being non-Religious). Well as a necessary consequence, Pelagius led us back to his interpreter and critic supreme: Augustine. I don’t think I’m wrong in noting that, at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s, Augustine was being all but ignored in the Catholic cultural sphere. He was known, of course, the author of Confessions. But Augustine the theologian of grace and the great theoretician of The City of God, that is, of an historico-political reflection starting with Christianity, was totally neglected even in the more specific sphere of study.
What did Augustine mean and what does he mean now in the essays collated in this book? First of all, he means restored access to a “pre-Medieval” perspective, a Christian perspective on the world before the Middle Ages, before, that is, “established Christendom”, a Christ­ianity still featuring in the comparison with Paganism. All of this, need we say, makes profound appeal to the situation today. We, too, fall within a perspective in so many ways analogous, similar to Christianity’s own in the first centures.
Secondly, Augustine makes appeal to adopting a realistic position capable of cold, unenchanted analysis of power, of the levers and mechanisms of power, and of how the Christian should relate to it. The book features some very interesting essays by Roberto Esposito and Giacomo B. Contri on this point - a realistic conception but, at the same time, tolerant rather than absolutist. Moreover, the State must not prevail over the Church and nor should the Church identify itself with the State. Many of the interviews with Fr. Nello Cipriani revolve around the theme of the “imperfect laws”, of laws, that is, not totally conforming with natural law. In the Augustinian conception, the Church must tolerate the so-called imperfect laws to the degree that they help bring about and do bring about the social peace from which the Church itself certainly derives benefit. Thus, Augustine’s historical reflection falls between Origen and Eusebius of Caesarea. In this respect, one of the most quoted texts in the book is Cardinal Ratzinger’s The Unity of Nations, a 1971 study comparing Augustine and Origen. Origen, from the basis of a gnostic-revolutionary type of Christianity, tends to de-legitimize the order of the State to the degree that it does not conform to Christian morality. On the opposite front stands Eusebius of Caesarea and of note are Mgr. Raffaele Farina’s penetrating arguments. He writes that after Constantine Christianity identified itself perfectly with the Roman Empire. Augustine’s own position emerges as being between these two. His concern is not the Christianization of the State for even when the State is ruled by a Christian emperor it remains “earthly” State and can become no other.
Thirdly, how was Augustine able to be so realistic? What perspective allows Augustine to contemplate power in such an objective, unenchanted way? He is able to do so because he judges power from a point external to it. Augustine sees two “cities”. This is the great Augustinian intuition which, lost to Medieval political thinking and on which we have Elvio Ancona’s sharp observations, counters the modern Utopia, whether secular or Christian, that says there is one city and all energies must be expended in making it perfect. Well, for Augustine there are two cities and they cannot identify one with the other. And yet, they are perplexae, intertwined until the end of the world. Thus some of those of the worldly city will find themselves in paradise while others, of the city of God, will be lost.
A fourth element of interest is the relationship between grace and freedom. If the cities are perplexae, the dynamics of Christianity’s unfolding can but happen through meaningful human encounters, meaning, in the relationship between grace and freedom. This goes beyond and disarranges ideological, political and sectoral adherences. What is significant in a scenario such as the current one is the possibility of encountering men, people, in their hearts independently of pre-established schema.
A persuasive grace.There are some really beautiful passages which Lorenzo Cappelletti highlighted from De gratia Christi et de peccato originali where Augustine criticizes and condemns Pelagius for insisting on grace only as the illumination of the intellect, which is to say, on grace through the teaching of doctrine as if Christianity were the mere exposition of a doctrine, whether moral or non, as if one could become a Christian simply by learning a doctrine. And Augustine, by contrast, insists on the type that goes further than doctrine and touches hearts, too, a persuasive grace, then, that requires a real testimony.
Finally, and here I conclude, there is ecumenism, the ultimate expression emerging and one of the reasons for the interest Augustine arouses and his actuality. Some very moving passages at the end of the book taken from several of Augustine’s works insist on the very fact that one must never lose sight of the next person’s intuition of the truth, stopping at criticism of his error. The criticism of error must not stop us from seeing all that there is of truth and one must separate truth and error so that the next person might be led to recognize the full truth. This ecumenical and universal sense is also a theme of great interest and actuality in the contemporary context. Thank you.

NELLO CIPRIANI:
I would first like to applaud and thank the editorial staff of 30DAYS for collating these interviews and essays on St. Augustine’s thinking and for highlighting its actuality, points of which are of great interest still today for Christians, for believers. I refer to the theme of the Church-State relationship, of the attitude of the Christian to the laws of the State. I refer to the question of grace and also of ecumenism. But what I would like to do in my brief intervention is to call your attention to another issue which has not been mentioned. It is a certain reconstruction of Augustinian thinking, still dominant, which sees an initial evolution from a strongly platonizing position to one of maturity which is properly Christian. An essay entitled A Way Adequate for the Senses by Massimo Borghesi addresses an initial Christian idealism on Augustine’s part which then becomes Christian realism. Thus, Augustine’s understanding of Christ is included, of the man, of the Church and in a very different way. I would just like to say that my more recent research is strengthening my conviction that to accentuate this evolution does not completely respect St. Augustine’s thinking. I would say, that is, that from Augustine’s very first works - even if their Platonism is obvious to everyone for no other reason than his explicit proposition to philosophize, drawing his inspiration from the great themes of Neo-Platonism (God and the soul) - pages are hidden in the folds of his dialogue where the Christian faith appears much more realistic as far as the person of Christ man-God is concerned, as far as the Christian faith is concerned. It is not just a propaedeutical attitude to contemplation but a new life dimension in Christ. The understanding of Christ himself that emerges from these pages - whose full value has not, unfortunately, been brought out by scholars - is emerging very clearly from my research. And this was possible because, by applying much more accurate philological methods, one can identify Christian sources unknown to so many scholars of St. Augustine’s first works. In particular, I refer to the influence of Marius Victorinus, of anti-Arian treatise fame also known for his exegesis of the letters of St. Paul. And it is none other than the Pauline letters that allow Augustine, who was still not baptized, to express a much more mature faith in Christ than the type usually attributed to him. Thank you.

I think the temptation to reduce Christianity to the level of a type of moralism is very great indeed even in our own day, and I am very grateful that 30DAYS trains a focus on this problem often. For we are all living in an atmosphere of deism
CLAUDIO PETRUCCIOLI:
Thank you very much for my invitation and I would like thank my friend Senator Andreotti, the editor of the magazine, even though I am a little embarrassed by his insistence that I make this very brief contribution this evening. I think he insisted so much because he felt I might be able to say something from the heart - I can’t think of any other way to put it - on the nucleus of problems which, as you have heard, are addressed in this book in reference to Augustine and it is from him that it draws its forcefulness. I willingly bring my testimony because approaching the writings of Augustine, or writings which speak to us of Augustine, allows us - I won’t say obliges us - to think of the foundations and that is something rather rare. This is why, I think, all of us have something to gain. The intentions of the editors are very clear to my mind and very convincing - and I believe they are well founded philologically but I won’t take the liberty of expressing any opinion on that. I mean that the interpretation of Augustine’s two cities, the city of God and the city of the world, as inseparable stands up and is justified as Professor Borghesi has specified very well. It is very clear that the point being made is that the city of God [Petruccioli’s mobile telephone rings] (sorry, this is the devil’s work), that the city of God, grace, that dimension is indispensable to live - and live freely - in the city of the world and to tackle the diabolical nature of power and its ineliminable contradiction. This seems to me to be a strong argument with a considerable polemical charge compared also with another interpretation - which also exists in Christian thinking - which is founded in contrast on the possibility of rendering power good by means of grace: the quotations from Maritain and von Balthasar as protagonists, interpreters of this vision introduce a very significant commitment to reflection on the political thinking - and not just the political thinking - of the believer, of the Christian. But I won’t, obviously, go into that. My point is this: if grace is necessary, indispensable - I apologize for expressing myself in a very simplistic way - in order to exercise power without becoming slaves to it, then how can one who has no grace manage? It seems to me that this very strong vision is founded on a negative anthropology. For the non-believer, I think there is the possibility of exercising power without surrendering to power, without submitting to it and it must, rather, be founded on a positive anthropology, on the possibility, remote but not excluded, of being able to exercise power, to live in the city of the world. For, one can well have a certain dose of confidence independently of grace. Certainly, if grace is encountered and is deserved then it is very welcome. But there are also people - and I’m one of them - who will tell you, for example, that they have never had grace to date, that they have not deserved it, that they were incapable of recognizing it ... whatever you like. But I’m here, we’re here anyway. So this is the question that comes to my mind. It is also true that a negative anthropology in the mind of someone who does not have the gift of grace could lead to a demiurgical interpretion of power, in such a way that power is raised to the level of God. Professor Esposito is quite right when he says: “The real evil, the radical one born of free choice (true evil is born of the freedom to opt for it and, since freedom is an afferent category to politics then evil, too, the radical kind, is of concern to the politician), at least the one that has been so in history, never presents itself as the opposite of good. Rather, it describes itself as the absolute good and it interiorizes the law. Therefore, true evil is always ... an imitation of good. True evil, the radical kind, never says it wants to destroy good. It always says it wants to incarnate it” and to fulfill it totally. So the reflection arising from that and which I would propose to you is this: using again Niebuhr’s expression quoted here on Augustine, “neither illuded nor cynical” (since this program, “neither illuded nor cynical”, is a program which I feel is very close to me, as human as I would want it to be), I ask: can one be good without grace? At least on a certain dimension? I ask myself this and it is evidently myself who must find the answer. Can one try to live in the best possible way even without grace? The answer to the question doubtless depends on the person asking it because the answer given by someone who fortunately has grace is a coherent, strong answer. And I would say that, of course, there is a rule here: “Don’t do unto others what you would not wish done unto you”, “do unto others what, in their condition, you would expect to obtain from them”. I realize that this is a combination of altruism and egoism that is neutral, I would say. It is a mutualistic notion of living (Dilthey, in short, for the sake of brevity): it is the maximum answer, modestly, which I am able to give to the question I myself posed. But it is an answer that is nevertheless based on the fundamental question that Augustine poses and which cannot be eluded.
GIULIO ANDREOTTI:
Let me again thank Cardinal Ratzinger and all of you, the ambassadors, professors ... all of you. In our monthly efforts we are always striving - I can’t say if we always succeed - to reflect and to encourage reflection on some things that pass away and on others, by contrast, that are there shedding light. I am also very grateful to my colleague Petruccioli because, as you will see in the conclusion of his interview in the book, he launches a strong appeal, which is to say, those who have received the gift of grace and, we can say, the gift of the faith, must seek - without ever forcing the issue, obviously, and on this we are all agreed - to ensure that others may also have the opportunity to explore and the opportunity to receive this gift. For, it is a gift and, therefore, none of us can take glory in it. All we can do is thank God.


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