Excellent and challenging comments from Cardinal Ratzinger from the conference held on April 1, 2005, at the Monastery of St. Scholastica, Subiaco, Italy. The entire text will be published by Cantagalli Editore, Italy. Full text of the extract available from the Seattle Catholic (Italian text at www.chiesa):

The true contrariety which characterizes the world of today is not that among diverse religious cultures, but that between the radical emancipation of man from God, from the roots of life, on the one hand, and the great religious cultures on the other. If there arrives a conflict of cultures, it will not be through a conflict of the great religions — forever one against the others, but, in the end, which have always known how to live one with the other — but it will be through the conflict between this radical emancipation of man and the great historic cultures. Thus, even the refusal of a reference to God is not an expression of tolerance which wants to protect non-theistic religious and the dignity of atheists and agnostics, but rather is an expression of a conscience which would want to see God definitively cancelled out of the public life of man and chained in the subjective ambit of the residues of past cultures. The relativism, which constitutes this point of departure, has become such a dogmatism that it believes itself in possession of the definitive understanding of reason, and that it has the right to consider all other viewpoints as a stage in this history of man which has been superseded and which can be thus reinterpreted. In reality, we have a radical need to survive and not to lose the vision of God, if we want human dignity not to disappear.