From this perspective one can recognize that the contemporary “crisis of truth” is rooted in a “crisis of faith”. Only through faith can we freely give our assent to God’s testimony and acknowledge him as the transcendent guarantor of the truth he reveals. Again, we see why fostering personal intimacy with Jesus Christ and communal witness to his loving truth is indispensable in Catholic institutions of learning. Yet we all know, and observe with concern, the difficulty or reluctance many people have today in entrusting themselves to God. It is a complex phenomenon and one which I ponder continually. While we have sought diligently to engage the intellect of our young, perhaps we have neglected the will. Subsequently we observe, with distress, the notion of freedom being distorted. Freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in – a participation in Being itself. Hence authentic freedom can never be attained by turning away from God. Such a choice would ultimately disregard the very truth we need in order to understand ourselves. A particular responsibility therefore for each of you, and your colleagues, is to evoke among the young the desire for the act of faith, encouraging them to commit themselves to the ecclesial life that follows from this belief. It is here that freedom reaches the certainty of truth. In choosing to live by that truth, we embrace the fullness of the life of faith which is given to us in the Church.
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI, Conference Hall of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Thursday, 17 April 2008
Well, Mr. Holiness. I delightfully disagree. I believe that people should search for truth in themselves before turning to God. If, indeed, they go hand in hand, that is a matter for the individual to decide. But one is not dependent on the other. Faith and truth are beautiful things. But religion is not a requirement in the search for ultimate truth.
Unless, of course, the survival of your institution depends on you saying that it is. Colour me dubious and call me Martin Luther.