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Germany: mgr. Becker (Paderborn), “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you is the beginning of any civilisation and the minimum consensus”

“Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you” is the “universal” “golden rule”, part of “the heritage of mankind”. Mgr. Hans-Josef Becker, archbishop of Paderborn, explained that in his sermon on opening the last workday of the Spring Plenary Assembly of the German Bishops’ Conference in Lingen. This rule, the archbishop went on, is “the beginning of any civilisation, the minimum consensus”, which however “has been repeatedly threatened throughout history” and “it still is, when someone thinks there can be exceptions to such rule”: refugees, disabled people, weak or unborn people, for instance. “No, there can be no exception. It would make no sense”, the archbishop insisted. “Love makes you exist, it is your real identity, the centre of your heart”, mgr. Becker said, paraphrasing Emmanuel Levinas, the philosopher. The specificity of Christian love lies in the fact that “it goes beyond the extent that godless ones could reach”, it is “boundless”, because it comes from God and therefore includes enemies too. The ability to respect other people comes from love, but, the archbishop concluded, “in the daily things, in which respecting other people is crucial, sometimes we have a lot to catch up with”, because “they are more difficult than words and ideas, which are fine but often cheap”.

 

 

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