The Ratzinger fan-club blog has an excellent round-up of responses to the first papal Encyclical of Benedict XVI. They take a few pot-shots at yours truly, but what's new? One passage from Benedict's work struck me, reading it on the blog:

"Faith is not a theory that one can take up or lay aside. It is something very concrete: It is the criterion that decides our lifestyle. In an age in which hostility and greed have become superpowers, an age in which we witness the abuse of religion to the point of culminating in hatred, neutral rationality on its own is unable to protect us."

This attack on reason as a neutral way of understanding the world is what makes Benedict an ally of the fundamentalisms we see colliding and resurging around us. As humans, we only have reason to temper the passions and the demands of religion. By submitting reason to the imperatives of faith - imperatives Benedict alone has ultimate authority over - we see this Pope's essential position with respect to the Enlightenment. Opposed.

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