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Benedict XVI writes letter about Jesus to an atheist

2013-09-24

Once again, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI has picked up a pen and paper.  In an eleven-page letter addressed to atheist Piergiorgio Odifreddi, Ratzinger defends Jesus as a historic figure, explaining that the Jesus of the Gospel existed in real life.

In his letter, Benedict XVI addresses a reference Odifreddi made about Ratzinger's book 'Introduction to Christianity.' In fact, the atheist describes Theology as science fiction.  

Ratzinger objects to Odifreddi's statements, arguing that when he speaks about Jesus, he does so with low accuracy. He then advises the Italian atheist to read Martin Hengel's four-volume writings about Jesus. 

In his response letter, Benedict XVI says that just like mathematics, Theology has its own method, which includes both reason and religion.  He adds that if separated, each one of these can be dangerous.

Odifreddi also criticizes cases of sexual abuse in the Church. Benedict XVI acknowledges that those cases are a dark chapter, but he adds that he never tried to conceal them. He then adds that people should also recognize the good works the Church has carried out for the past 20 centuries.

Benedict XVI then thanks Odiffreddi for a book he wrote back in 2011 called "Dear Pope, I Write to You.” In that book, the atheist poses many questions to Benedict XVI, who back then of course, still served as Pope. He apologizes if his response was perhaps too harsh, but he claims he's just making an effort to engage in dialogue. 


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