MondayVatican.com - The Eclipse of God. Ratzinger’s Students to Address How to Overcome it.
«The question of God against the background of secularization.» Pope B16 chose the guest speaker: Remi Brague, a French theologian awarded last year with the Ratzinger Prize for Theology... Remi Brague should be well placed, however, to give the discussion the required historical-critical-rational background.Zenit - Benedict XVI Celebrates Mass for Former Students
Historian, medievalist and an expert on the history of Religions, Brague was the first to contrast secularity with secularism. «The advocates of secularity – he stated in an interview posted at the digital commons OpenDemocracy – specifically want to, or pretend, ignore that it appeared in the Middle Ages, a period that was emphatically not secularist.» Brague added: «The dividing line drawn between the Church and the State is a Christian invention that began among the Church Fathers, as a reaction against Constantine’s claim to control the Church and further culminated in medieval times.» Moreover, Brague asserts – «this line was drawn by the Church, not by the State. The Holy See’s constant policy from the Investiture Controversy in the late 11th century consisted in sending the State (i.e. the Emperor or the Kings) back to its own merely this worldly—“secular” if you want—task: enforcing peace, justice, good social order. The State, on the other hand, was not “secular”, but claimed its share in sacrality. Secularity was a conquest of the Church.»
Brague turns to etymology to explain the difference between secularity and secularism. «Secular comes from saeculum, the Latin for “century”, which originally meant the longest duration of human life. Secularity is the attitude of people who think that human hopes can’t exceed one century and therefore—perhaps unwittingly and unwillingly—act so that mankind will last exactly as long… Secularists are unable to explain why it is good that there should be human beings on earth. Since they contend that human life is the product of chance, they can’t tell us why it should be good for us, who can decide consciously to carry on with the experience, to do so.»