For any of you who have an interest in interfaith dialogue and the meaning of the “religions”, get a hold of a copy of Ratzinger’s “Truth and Tolerance: Christian belief and World Religions”. It is a ripper.
I was bowled over by this bit, which appears on page 209, and is in reference to JPII’s encyclical “Veritatis Splendor”. Ratzinger begins by quoting Die Zeit’s review of the encyclical by Jan Ross:
“The voice of the Pope, he says, “has given courage to many people and to entire nations and has sounded hard and piercingly in many people’s ears and has even aroused hatred; but when it falls silent, that will be a moment of frightful silence.” And indeed, if no one talks about God and man, about sin and grace, about death and eternal life, any more, then all the shouting and all the noise there is will only be a vain attempt to deceive ourselves about the voice of true humanity falling silent.”
It seems to me that there is perhaps an even more frightful silence: not just the impossible thought that the Bishop of Rome might cease to speak God’s Word to us, but the horrible possibility that God’s own Word itself might be rendered silent in all the earth. Perhaps that is what is meant by Rev 8:1 “When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” May there never be such a silence upon earth!