Monday, May 18, 2009

Are you not ashamed, Cardinal?

Are you not ashamed, Cardinal?
By Martin Mosebach

I have still a few questions: Martin Mosebach
For the writer Martin Mosebach, further clarification is needed in the affair of the Hessen Culture Prize. Can the Islamic doctrine on the Cross be something new for a theologian? Was the procedure fair? Twelve questions to Cardinal Lehmann.

Eminence! Did you believe that you could reckon that the Hessen State Chancellery would respond to your notice that you would turn down the prize if Navid Kermani received it at the same time, taking away from the German-Iranian writer the already announced prize? When the high ranking Professor Fuat Sezgin turned down the prize because he does not wish to appear with his political opponents Dr. Salomon Korn a different procedure took place - they accepted the withdrawal and sought another candidate. Is the reverse procedure in the Kermani case to the one of Professor Sezgin not a little embarrassing for you?

Was the Islamic doctrine on the cross and suffering and resurrection of the Son of God something new for you as a theologian? Were you surprised by hearing from a devout Muslim something other than a fundamental rejection of the Cross?

Do you share the conviction of the apostle Paul, the message of the Cross is "a folly to Gentiles and to the Jews a stumbling block"? The question of which of two groups from the view of Christianity Islam should be assigned to, is deliberately omitted here.


Does the courtesy of the court tea ceremony apply, not to raise religious differences very clearly, even in your long sought dialogue between the religions? Is the avoidance of stating unambiguously what divides, perhaps another reason for the disappointment at the failure of ecumenism between Catholics and Protestants?

You have entered church history with the phrase "I've learned to deal with texts”, as when the the German bishops were commanded by the Pope to leave the government sponsored pregnancy advice service, it was reinterpreted as a support for remaining. Did this versatility not help you to interpret the abuse of the Cross in Kermani’s Guido Reni essay as a tribute to the Cross?

Are you really unaware that such a reinterpretation was not needed because Kermani’s Guido Reni text actually calls out the way from an abuse to a homage of the Cross? Are you interested that this text is not derived from Kermani’s work, but stands in a series of meditations on Christian art? Kermani, for example, has written in the context of the description of an early Christian icon of the Virgin Mary as far as I know the only Marian text of modern German literature has been written? Cannot his entire work - from the highly publicized investigation "God is beautiful" to "Attar, or the horrors of God" –occupied with the repulsion and attraction of Christianity which be seen as unique in the Islamic world?

More soon
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