: «The Church cannot identify itself within the category of “Western”»
*****«The Church cannot substantially identify itself within the category of “Western”. It would be mistaken historically, empirically, theologically. Historically, we know that Christianity was born at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, and this indicates something of its inner essence…
At the start, the expansion of Christianity went equally eastwards, towards China, India, Persia, Arabia, and westwards. Unfortunately, after the rise of Islam, a large part of this eastern Christianity disappeared. But not completely, because historical elements of this Christianity which testify to its universality exist, and European Christianity also divides into western and eastern… Empirically, not only do we have this great historical heritage, but Christianity is present, in minorities of recognized spiritual force, on all the continents.
The axis of Christianity is moving ever more towards the new continents, towards Africa, Asia, Latin America. Europe is still an essential source for the development of Christianity, nevertheless it is beginning to sideline itself through the very discussion of its own identity. Theologically, because the Church, on account of its essence, must transcend cultures, the fact being that it is not tied to a determined culture but helps the exodus from the prison of a culture and the communication of cultures».
Thus Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, during a dialogue-encounter with professor Ernesto Galli della Loggia, which took place in Palazzo Colonna in Rome on 25 October. The debate was refereed by engineer Gaetano Rebecchini, president of the Center for Political Orientation, the foundation which organized the evening.