Enlightenment Cancelled by Engelbert Recktenwald


Enlightenment Cancelled

on How the Naturalists Refute Themselves

In 1990 a memorial ceremony took place in Munich in memory of the student resistance group White Rose, whose members Hans and Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell, and Willi Graf were sentenced to death under Hitler for distributing protest flyers. At this ceremony, Arthur Kaufmann spoke about "bravery of the heart." He explained how these students had put this bravery, which consists in exposing oneself to mortal danger for the sake of the good, into practice. And then he quoted a line from the novel Die schöne Frau Seidemann by the Polish author Andrzej Szczypiorski, who himself was imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp: "What is this greatest and most mysterious wisdom of man, other than to call Good good and Evil evil? In this respect he, the common tailor, surpassed . . . many . . . philosophers and prophets."

Indeed, there are, unfortunately, many philosophers who do not possess this wisdom and who make every effort to show that good and evil do not actually exist. One example is Michael Schmidt-Salomon, the chief ideologue of the new atheists in Germany. In his view, one can no more speak of good and evil people than of good and evil mice. Moral concepts such as guilt and sin have no right to exist, according to him.


Engelbert Recktenwald is a German Catholic priest in the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) who studied philosophy under Robert Spaemann. Among his publications is a book about St. Anselm (Die ethische Struktur des Denkens von Anselm von Canterbury).

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