The Corner

Regensburg: Ten Years Later

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the Regensburg Address. Delivered by a 79-year-old Joseph Ratzinger, then 18 months into his papacy, the lecture is primarily remembered for the garment-rending it occasioned in the Muslim world, and among Christianity’s cultured despisers in Europe and the U.S. But Ratzinger’s “controversial” quotations from a 14th-century dialogue between Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian Muslim were not intended to provoke; they were, rather, the starting point for a meditation on the relationship of faith and reason in the contemporary West, particularly in the university. For Ratzinger, the restoration of theology — i.e., “inquiry into the rationality of faith” — to its traditional place among the sciences is necessary if we seek “that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today.”

Ten years on, Ratzinger’s words seem even more urgent. Read the full address here, then read Samuel Gregg’s reflections.


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