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The hierarchy of things

· 11 February reinterpreted by international commentators ·

"In the foundations of Catholicism", Julia Kristeva – a naturalized French semiologist and psychoanalyst, originally from Bulgaria – said to the Italian newspaper Avvenire, "Benedict XVI has sought what is open and asks questions, symbolically linking St Augustine with Freud and Heidegger. Life and thought, therefore, as a question and a journey".

A Pope deeply in tune with St Augustine, who has had at heart above all the fight against nihilism and moral relativism, Henri Tincq comments in Une th éologie de la foi face aux torments du siècle , published in a dossier in the 13 February issue that the French Le Monde is dedicating to the Pope's resignation. In her article A humble pope, which came out in The New York Times, Carol Zaleski, a teacher of religions at Smith College, in ascribing to the Pope “humility and wisdom” also implicates the Saint from Hippo: “for the intellectuals of many faiths who admire him, Benedict XVI is a profound religious thinker in St Augustine's tradition".

Il seme fertile di una rinuncia is the title of Ernesto Galli della Loggia's editorial in Corriere della Sera : “As the hours pass it seems ever clearer that the action with which Benedict XVI has put an end to his pontificate, far from being an act of 'renunciation' was in fact the opposite: a far-reaching act and, at the same time, a highly spiritual magisterial act". It was an act, the contemporary, non-believing historian concludes, that "resonates like an invitation to redefine the hierarchy of things, to establish more authentic priorities, to distinguish between what counts and what does not; and thus to change in comparison with who we are. It is an invitation that goes far beyond the confines of Catholicism. In the face of the overwhelming epochal changes and pressure from all sides, the Head of the most ancient and venerable Institution in the West gives a spiritual lesson that is making a very deep mark, changing himself first, through his renunciation. Our societies, we ourselves, he seems to be telling us, can no longer be what we have been to this day. The signs of the times oblige us to find other rules, to immagine other goals, other ideals for being together. With more intimate, more modest and truer features. Such a renewal is what we need".

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