Dear friends

“Dear friends, may no adversity paralyze you. Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness. The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history, so that by your faith, his name will continue to resound.”

This snippet was of course from the late Pope Benedict XVI, and comes to me courtesy of the new Musk Twitter, where it has been put in a decorative panel and re-posted by several nostalgic Catholics. I have tried to edit it, slightly, by cutting short the concluding cliché, but otherwise can find no objection. “B-16” was not only gentle, in his otherworldly way, but marvellously eloquent, as will be discovered in any attempt to read him more comprehensively than in a single, isolated tweet. On the other hand, I have yet to find a single passage in his works, which I would judge to be contemptible. (This puts him slightly ahead of Shakespeare.)

The remark in question appealed to me as an answer when I was asking the “internal rhetorical” question, “Why don’t we just give up?” — on the Church and Public Life in general, or on human biological existence specifically, as formal environmentalism finally demands. The official “green” answer is Canada’s, for instance (or at least Justin Trudeau’s) to our catastrophically overfunded health care system: it is Medical Assistance In Dying. If you are no longer in a position to pay taxes, the state will graciously see you off. Papa Ratzinger’s recommendation was (and is) the exact opposite. It is, so to say, “pro-life.”

Curiously, it is the only answer, that is fully rational, as opposed to an hypothetical answer, i.e. one based on a theory. Any other would be compatible with the condition of entropy, that is “rationally” (but falsely) said to describe the universe. We were all born to die, according to this limited view of physics. That we were born at all makes a first contradiction. That there is something instead of nothing takes this reasoning back to the first conceivable moment.

We are stuck with life, and very probably with eternal life, according to my information. It is a profound nudge to realize that we should make something of it, and that this is possible so long as life exists, i.e. always.