The Listening Heart as a Principle of Legislation

Prof. Dr. Christiaan Alting von Geusau gave a lecture entitled “The Listening Heart as a Principle of Legislation: Benedict XVI on Democracy and Politics” at the International Conference on Pope Benedict XVI's Social Criticism and Vision for Europe "Self-Identity and Life-Giving Source”. The conference was held by the Christian Democratic Institute and the Szent István Institute on June 9, 2023 in Budapest.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his famous speech on September 22, 2011 at the German Bundestag in Berlin, points to the relationship between nature and reason as the true source of justice and argues that this virtue ought to be recognized in the process of lawmaking. These ideas inspired Dr. Geusau to reflect on this remarkable document by showing why just legislation, just politics, and just government always presuppose a sincere listening heart and proceeding to discuss how such a heart may be formed. 

Summarizing the strong message of Pope Benedict to the German Parliament and conveying it to the Christian politicians of Hungary, Dr. Geusau concluded: Europe is an encounter between the faith of the people of Israel/Jerusalem, the philosophical reasoning of Athens, and the legal thinking of Rome. And it is in the encounter of these three that Christianity is constituted in its full strength. This inner identity of Europe must be defended and cultivated, which requires each one of us, but especially political leaders and those who are active in education, to foster a listening heart in order to be able to distinguish between good and evil, to set true law, and to serve justice. Then peace would not be a mere dream, but rather the task of Europe at this very hour.