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Tucho, however, takes a drastically different approach.
“Some have even claimed that all Church teachings depend and are based on non negotiable principles. This certainly is heresy! To claim that Jesus Christ, his resurrection, fraternal love and all that the Gospel teaches us depends on ethical principles is a distortion of Christianity.” ("Pope's Theologian Discusses the Distortion of Non-Negotiable Principles," La Stampa, Mar. 3, 2014).
"...if we look at each case [of an ideological battle] individually, there are other aspects that are not negotiable: loving one’s neighbour, seeking justice for the oppressed, being honest in business dealings.”
These are the essential non-negotiables behind the Gospel message, not any "dated philosophical arguments" or "natural-law" related matters.
One answer was already worked out some time ago, as the scientific view of the world was gradually crystallizing; many of you probably came across it in your religious instruction. It says that the Bible is not a natural science textbook, nor does it intend to be such. It is a religious book, and consequently one cannot obtain information about the natural sciences from it. One cannot get from it a scientific explanation of how the world arose; one can only glean religious experience from it. Anything else is an image and a way of describing things whose aim is to make profound realities graspable to human beings. One must distinguish between the form of portrayal and the content that is portrayed. The form would have been chosen from what was understandable at the time—from the images which surrounded the people who lived then, which they used in speaking and in thinking, and thanks to which they were able to understand the greater realities. And only the reality that shines through these images would be what was intended and what was truly enduring...(In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of the Creation and Fall, pg. 8).
Ratzinger says that this hermeneutic enables us to "only glean religious experience" from the Bible; "anything else is an image." A disappointing approach to the Bible indeed! We never pierce the heavens to grasp God's objective revelation. All we can ever touch is our own human experience. Ratzinger is keenly aware of the dangers of this approach, not merely to the import of any given text, but to the credibility of theology itself. In a remarkable statement, Ratzinger goes on to say:
I believe that this view is correct, but it is not enough. For when we are told that we have to distinguish between the images themselves and what those images mean, then we can ask in turn: Why wasn’t that said earlier? Evidently it must have been taught differently at one time or else Galileo would never have been put on trial. And so the suspicion grows that ultimately perhaps this way of viewing things is only a trick of the church and of theologians who have run out of solutions but do not want to admit it, and now they are looking for something to hide behind. And on the whole the impression is given that the history of Christianity in the last four hundred years has been a constant rearguard action as the assertions of the faith and of theology have been dismantled piece by piece. People have, it is true, always found tricks as a way of getting out of difficulties. But there is an almost ineluctable fear that we will gradually end up in emptiness and that the time will come when there will be nothing left to defend and hide behind, that the whole landscape of Scripture and of the faith will be overrun by a kind of “reason” that will no longer be able to take any of this seriously.Along with this there is another disquieting consideration. For one can ask: If theologians or even the church can shift the boundaries here between image and intention, between what lies buried in the past and what is of enduring value, why can they not do so elsewhere – as, for instance with respect to Jesus’ miracles? And if there, why not also with respect to what is absolutely central—the cross and the resurrection of the Lord?...As far as theological views of this sort are concerned, finally, quite a number of people have the abiding impression that the church’s faith is like a jellyfish: no one can get a grip on it and it has no firm center. It is on the many halfhearted interpretations of the biblical Word that can be found everywhere that a sickly Christianity takes its stand—a Christianity that is no longer true to itself and that consequently cannot radiate encouragement and enthusiasm. It gives, instead, the impression of being an organization that keeps on talking although it has nothing else to say because twisted words are not convincing and are only concerned to hide their emptiness (In the Beginning, pp. 8–9).