Excerpts taken from the book entitled, "Europe Today and Tomorrow," by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI). Reprinted with permission.
Today we find ourselves in the midst of a second Enlightenment, which has not only left behind the motto Deus Sive Natura but has also unmasked as irrational the Marxist ideology of hope. In its place it has proposed a rational goal for the future, which is entitled the New World Order and is now supposed to become in its turn the essential ethical norm. It still shares with Marxism the evolutionary idea of a universe brought forth by an irrational event and formed by its intrinsic rules, which however – unlike the provisions of the ancient idea of nature – cannot contain within themselves any ethical direction.
The attempt to derive from the rules of the evolutionary game the rules for the game of human life as well, and hence a sort of new ethics, is in reality rather widespread but not very convincing. There are more and more voices of philosophers such as Singer, Rorty, and Sloterdijk telling us that man now has the right and the duty to construct a new world on a rational basis. The new world order, the necessity of which cannot be doubted, they say, ought to be a world order of rationality.
Thus far they are all in agreement. But what is rational? The criterion of rationality is drawn exclusively from experiences of technological production on scientific foundations. Such rationality exists in the sense of functionality, efficiency, increase in the quality of life. The exploitation of nature that is connected with it increasingly becomes a problem because of environmental hazards, which are becoming dramatic.
Meanwhile, the manipulation of man by man is proceeding apace with even greater impudence. The visions of Huxley are definitely becoming a reality: the human being must be no longer begotten irrationally but rather produced rationally. But man as a product is at the disposal of man. The imperfect specimens are discarded, so as to develop the perfect man by way of planning and production. Suffering must disappear; life must be nothing but pleasant.
Such radical visions are still isolated instances, for the most part attenuated in many ways, but more and more often the principle of behaviour is affirmed that states that it is permissible for man to do everything he is capable of doing. Possibility as such becomes a criterion that is sufficient unto itself. In a world that is understood in an evolutionary way, it is also self-evident that there cannot be any absolute values, things that are always bad or things that are always good; instead, the weighing of goods is the only way to discern moral norms. This, however, means that higher purposes, for example, presumed experimental results for the cure of diseases, justify even the exploitation of man, provided that the anticipated good appears sufficiently great.
But in this way new forms of oppression are born, and a new ruling class arises. Ultimately the destiny of other men is decided by those who have scientific power at their disposal and those who manage the finances. Not remaining behind in research becomes an obligation from which there is no escape and which itself determines the direction of it. What advice can be given to Europe and the world in this situation?
A specifically European feature in this situation today appears to be precisely the separation from all ethical traditions and the exclusive reliance on technological reasoning and its possibilities. But will not a world order with these foundations become in reality a horrific utopia? Does not Europe perhaps need, does not the world perhaps need precisely some corrective elements derived from its great tradition and from the great ethical traditions of mankind? The inviolable nature of human dignity ought to become the fundamental, untouchable pillar of ethical regulations. Only if man recognizes that he is an end (and not a means), only if the human being is sacred and inviolable, can we have confidence in one another and live together in peace. There is no weighing of goods that can justify treating man as experimental material for higher ends.
Only if we see here something absolute, situated above all attempts to weigh goods, do we act in a truly ethical manner and not by means of calculations. The inviolability of human dignity means also that this dignity is valid for everyone, that it has a human face and belongs biologically to the human race. Criteria of functionality cannot have any validity here. Even the human being who is suffering, who is disabled, or not yet born is a human being. I would like to add that this must be joined also to respect for the origin of the human being from the communion of a man and a woman.
The human being cannot become a product. He cannot be a product; he can only be begotten. And for this reason protection for the special dignity of the communion between man and woman, on which the future of mankind is based, must be numbered among the ethical constants of every human society.
But all this is possible only if we acquire also a new sense of the dignity of suffering. Learning to live also means learning to suffer. Therefore respect for the sacred is demanded, too. Faith in God the Creator is the surest guarantee of man’s dignity. It cannot be imposed on anyone; but since it is a great good for the community, it can make the claim to respect on the part of nonbelievers.
It is true: rationality is an essential hallmark of European culture. With it, from a certain perspective, it has conquered the world, because the form of rationality developed first of all in Europe informs the life of every continent today. Yet this rationality can become devastating if it becomes detached from its roots and exalts technological feasibility as the sole criterion. The bond between the two great sources of knowledge – nature and history – is necessary. These two areas do not simply speak on their own, but the two together can provide some indication of what path to take.
The exploitation of nature, which rebels against an indiscriminate use, has prompted new reflections on the signposts provided by nature itself. Having dominion over nature, in the sense of the biblical story of creation, does not mean the violent utilization of nature and nature at the service of man. The very origin of man is a process that is both natural and human: in the relation between a man and a woman the natural element and the spiritual element are united in what is specifically human, which cannot be despised without causing harm. And so the historical experiences of man, too, which are reflected in the great religions, are permanent sources of knowledge, of directions provided by reason, which are of interest even to someone who cannot identify with any of these traditions. To deliberate while bracketing them off and to live without taking them into consideration would be a presumption that would ultimately leave man disorientated and empty.
All this gives no conclusive answer to the question about the foundations of Europe. We simply wanted to sketch the contours of the task that lies ahead. It is urgent that we get to work.
In the light of Cardinal Ratzinger’s (Pope Benedict XVI) reflections on the New World Order and his urgent call to "get to work", we, the Pilgrims of St. Michael and the regular readers of the "Michael Journal", agree with Pope Benedict XVI that the New World Order would be a horrific utopia and we have written extensively on the issues opposing the New World Order, the Illuminati and Freemasonry. Through the works and writings of our founder Louis Even, we promote a positive solution of Social Credit based on the beautiful and prophetic Social Teachings of the Catholic Church. Social Credit would put the financial system to the service of every man, woman and child from the moment of conception until natural death acknowledging the sanctity of life. Let us put all our efforts to change the course of history and put ourselves at the service of the Queen of Heaven and Our Mother. She has already assured us the Victory!