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The Roots of Evangelicals’ Political Fervor - Retro Report

At other times, the authors and signers seem to argue as if yes, these structural issues are, in fact, sinful, but eradicating them should not be an emphasis of Christians because we can never be fully healed of sin. So one supporter of the statement argues in the Resources page:. This is a difficult argument for which to find evidence. For example, most in America consider human slavery, just to pick one example, to have been a grave evil—and it is quite obvious that it is a grave evil that has been ameliorated by some strange combination of the Holy Spirit brooding over history and outlawing a particular expression of a particular sin.

Those evangelicals who signed this letter who also consider themselves to be compelled to abolish abortion in America operate under the same logic: it is, in fact, possible for human laws to restrain the sinfulness of evildoers. Martin Luther King, Jr. At other points the authors argue as if to say that critical theory is not diagnosing disunity among people, but causing it. Our union with Christ and therefore with one another is an eternal spiritual reality that must be embraced, carefully maintained, and guarded against any possible threat. The jargon is borrowed from secular culture, and it is being employed purposely, irresponsibly in order to segment the church into competing groups—the oppressed and disenfranchised vs.

But notice the logic of this claim: the Bible says that Christians are truly, now, at every moment since the writing of the Bible, united in Christ. Therefore, anyone who claims otherwise is sowing division. But if this argument holds for , then it holds for as well—two years before women were allowed to vote in America, and it holds for just as equally—when white Americans bought, sold, and owned their Black brothers and sisters in Christ. Was there ever a moment when there were real failings to live up to the unity of the body?

The long history of slavery, colonialism, racism, misogyny in all there forms, demand that we answer yes. But if there was some historical moment where the real divisions within the body of Christ failed to approximate the unity demanded in scripture, then the arguments of the statement writers must be false. The subsequent question becomes: have conditions changed so dramatically as to change that answer?

To this we have ample reason to say no. It must also be added as a point of history that Black churches did not come to exist because Black people sought to separate themselves out of some conception of anti-Gospel ethnic solidarity. Many Black Christians in the nineteenth century, of whom Richard Allen is an excellent representative, found their worship to be actively restricted and their well-being actively threatened in white churches and so they sought to build their own communities.

White church leaders, instead of repenting of the ways that they restricted the worship of their members, took the easy way out, supporting the exodus of their Black brothers and sisters. But if we see the argument in this light, then it is clearly mistaken. The unity of the body in Christ is a real spiritual reality, but it is only occasionally recognized socially and politically. But here again the historical argument from above applies: if it is true that there are no true victims or oppressors, it is either true necessarily—which is to say, it is true of all moments in history equally, or it is true by virtue of some historical development.

To be oppressed is to have justice denied to one.

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A generation of young evangelicals is arising who hold to historic Christian orthodoxy orthodoxy and do not see that orthodoxy as at all incompatible with the recognition that structural, systemic injustices exist. We, the authors, count ourselves as among their number. We have argued that many of the resources of critical theory are, in fact, powerful diagnostic tools for understanding how sin functions in social ways. We consider this a hopeful sign.

Nathan Söderblom - Nobel Lecture: The Role of the Church in Promoting Peace -

It is in this spirit of public consideration that we have written this response. If the signers of this statement are truly fearful that their opponents—especially among the millennial generation of evangelicals—will slide down the slippery slope of theological liberalism, then it is our hope that they may have the grace to realize also that sometimes people fall down slopes not because they are slippery, but because they are pushed. Would they be willing to entertain for a moment the possibility that they might be complicit in doing precisely this: At the moment when American evangelicalism is realizing the fact that we have failed to think through the social implications of our gospel, they are content to push millennial evangelicals down this slope by asserting that any recognition of the fact that Christ came to save bodies as well as souls which the church has always believed demands that we abandon our evangelicalism and embrace theological liberalism?

We refuse to acknowledge this false dichotomy. Evangelicalism has always, at its best, been both a movement of personal holiness in the style of Jonathan Edwards and of social transformation in the style of William Wilberforce. We see no need now to demand that these two strands of our movement diverge.

They are united in the gospel, and they can be united in the movement of American evangelicalism. It must be noted, also, that for many Black evangelicals like myself, who still take the name, to reach out and attempt this cross-conversation is difficult. It has been attempted for centuries. But the most frustrating aspect of studying African American religious history is the deafness of the White pastors that are constantly cried out to. If I ever choose to disengage from reaching out, it is not because I have acquiesced to some heresy of racial supremacy.

It is because I, like many of my Black brothers and sisters, am tired of constantly trying to plead with deaf ears. I am tired of reading about my brothers and sisters during the Civil Rights Movement who were constantly told to wait because there were issues more pressing than their livelihoods. I am tired of reading about my brothers and sisters under the invisible terror regime of lynching who cried out to white pulpits to join them in denunciation of evil and who were met with accusation and diminution.

I am tired of hearing my brothers and sisters now crying out about mass incarceration and police brutality and receiving the same responses. This is our national history. And it is tiring. To demand that I engage with you is to demand something that I and many others have already done…and in many cases, you have not listened. We ask that you do. But even if you do not, we will continue to battle the growth of sin and sorrow, both individually and corporately, personally and systemically.

Because we affirm with the songwriter that Christ has come to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found. And as those united to Him by the Holy Spirit, we will be messengers of His grace, ministers of His blessings, and servants of His people…as far as the curse is found. His dissertation investigates African American Christian responses to lynching from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. Last Name. Thank you for writing this. Your shock is your own fault for not being more aware of the unbiblical nature of social justice with its Marxist and neo-Marxist roots.

Justice is fine. The bible talks about it a lot. Social justice is a fraud. Your sadness should be at the widespread lack of discernment about how completely the secular left is seducing the church with these various frauds. Also, can you throttle back on the condescension in this comment? The whole Marxist meme is nothing new. Those who fought for an end to Jim Crow were also accused of being Marxists. Within white evangelicalism, it was once enough merely to label something as Marxist or as representing a Jewish conspiracy.

But, as Cal and I have noted above, such arguments are wholly specious. White evangelicals in the s claimed that they rejected MLK because he was promoting Marxism. But this specious allegation of Marxism was simply a cover for their underlying racism. We see much the same thing with abortion. After all, have you ever noticed that the most vocal opponents of abortion are also the most vocal promoters of misogyny.

Is this just a coincidence? Are guys like Tim Bayly and Denny Burk really opposed to abortion, or do they merely recognize that denying access to abortion is a means of placing social disabilities onto women relative to men? Excellent and well thought out piece! As Scott mentioned correctly, historic evangelicalism has been both a movement shaped by the commitment to personal holiness and corporate holiness. Even so, I wonder, at times, whether that can be said of neo-evangelicalism, the movement that grew out of fundamentalism in the years following WWII.

Consider that most historic evangelicalism was tied to abolitionism and supported Reconstruction, but modern-day evangelicalism was co-founded by Nelson Bell, a committed white supremacist. As Molly Worthen notes in her excellent book analyzing modern-day evangelicalism, it has always been a movement that admixed elements of historic evangelicalism with a belief in the cultural hegemony of straight, white, Christian men.

And what about women and non-heterosexuals? Even so, they are often not so willing to let go of analogous social hierarchies concerning sex and gender role. I gladly embrace the evangelicalism of Edwards and Wilberforce, and for that reason I still find myself attending an evangelical church on Sundays, albeit one that has non-whites, females, and gays in leadership roles. What a crock. More Revoice propaganda.

The Bible is heteronormative all the way through. Your apostasy is so obvious but highly selective. What next? Christian Pedophiles? Thank you for this. It is nice to see this refuted within their own tradition and understanding. This entire article is disingenuous because you utterly fail to discuss the Marxist roots of social justice ideology which has been set up as a moral counterfeit to Christianity.

Use a different term. How about biblical morality or moral justice or divine providential justice or something like that. The godless atheistic Marxists use this term because they deny that God exists and that he is the source of all ultimate justice. Liberation theology, in this sense, was far more honest in what it sought. It was steeped in Marxist economics and social theory and cared nothing for the eternal souls of people who were lost to their sins. But they did succeed in overthrowing right wing dictatorships and replacing them with Communists.

Spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ was the last thing on their minds. Talking about sin and redemption through Jesus Christ to non-Christian people groups is considered by social justice theory to be cultural imperialism and religious intolerance. Again I repeat. That sounded really good when the founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Let me guess? It is a fine demonstration, however, of the gross collectivist mentality that Mitch is speaking against.

As Cal noted aptly above, neither you nor Mitch seem even to know what Marxism is. So, I gave his comment the response it merited. My philosophical sympathies lie somewhere at the intersection of the classical liberalism of Bentham, the pragmatism of Pierce and Mead, and the ideas of the Vienna Circle. Marxism does involve a particular method of conducting such analysis, but it is not a proxy for such analysis on the whole. And that seems to be how you and Mitch are using the term. In my experience within white evangelicalism, the term Marxism is often used in an effort to dismiss any kind of sociological analysis whatsoever.

By that measure, George Herbert Mead would be a Marxist. As Tim Keller notes in his Saturday editorial in the NYT, silence on these sorts of political questions is never just silence. Your tactic is simply to dismiss any male who disagrees with you as non-standard and therefore unworthy of an opinion. The audience was largely Christian and evangelical.

One person asked him what Christians could do to have more productive dialogue on these issues. He went on to note that cultural change is largely inevitable because of changes in technology and the economy. By disguising socio-political preferences as theological concerns, white evangelicals often lock themselves out of the negotiation process due to a lack of transparency.

So, until you take charge of the political platforms, we are still going to have Republicans acting like basic Republicans and Democrats acting like basic Democrats. I have reservations concerning certain means proposed by friends on the left to remedy this situation. Things have improved in recent decades for non-whites, non-heterosexuals, non-Christians, and women, but we have a long ways to go. To suggest that the church ignore this injustice is to suggest that somehow Christianity teaches that straight, white, Christian men have more value in the eyes of God than others.

And, we are saying that Christ has called his church to be his hands of mercy and charity, not a hackneyed redistributionary economic system. I, like the authors of this piece, am merely acknowledging the existence of systemic social injustice in our society and the need for Christians to grapple with how to improve that situation. By contrast, MacArthur et al. But the proper response to such unwise proposals is to proffer wiser proposals, not to ignore the injustice and lend it implicit credence.

This, of course, leaves one to wonder why someone would oppose the mere acknowledgement of injustice and the need for Christians to grapple with how to improve the situation for its victims. Racism, misogyny, and homophobia provide obvious explanations, especially in a country where such views are common.

But there may be other cogent explanations. But neither you nor Mitch has proffered anything of the sort. Jesus has already given us the process to deal with injustice and charity: We are to engage in personal and collective acts of mercy as the Christ-instituted church. Now, if we are talking about government involvement in alleviating poverty, the discussion takes on a different shape about political solutions of which there is much discussion and debate.

In addition, I give other monthly contributions to charities and sponsoring impoverished children overseas. Through the condescension, arrogance, and hypocrisy demonstrated here, I have a hard time believing that you actually give much a damn about human beings. No and no again. I would argue that it is a concoction of Marxism and is now re-packaged as Neo-Marxist in that it is no longer just focused on economic transformation in the original Marxist idea of dialectical materialism. Neo-Marxism is an artificial framework superimposed on reality that itself is not real. Who is the perpetrator of this injustice?

Who is the victim? And what method of inquiry is used to identify who is who? Can the victims count the cost? Can the perpetrators measure the benefit? Are these people even consciously aware that what they do is even violating these unseen invisible standards of abstract justice? Of course not. The motive is love and compassion and Christ-likeness. But social justice says, force the rich to become less rich and use the coercive power of the state to punish the haves in the name of the have-nots.

Divine justice is about God loving us and us loving others as an act of worship to him. It is about the glory and majesty of the creator. Social justice is about retribution. It is about punishing and shaming the haves and using coercive government power to take from one and give to the other.

It is not motivated by love but by hate. After all, as Joel McDurmon, of all people, points out, white supremacists in the post-Reconstruction South rarely wore their white supremacy on their sleeves. Instead, they hid behind flowery principles, which, upon closer examination were little more than self-serving BS. As Cal and I have noted above, the Marxist argument is wholly specious. And, as the authors note, Christianity is nowhere opposed to social justice generally. It may be opposed to certain means of achieving social justice, but it is not opposed to the concept as a whole.

To the contrary, any reasonable reading of Scripture suggests that social justice indeed is something that should concern Christians. One has to infer it. Amen, Mitch. Your thoughts will now be deemed worthless and bigoted. You will now be dismissed as the oppressor you are. Ahhh…Social Justice intertwined with the Gospel…tearing us apart.

John Owen: Learned Puritan

Seems consistent with the teachings of our Lord and Savior. Or maybe not. I have 1 intersectionality point — I wonder if I can repeat your thoughts and get them the creditability they deserve. What if we found someone with 3 intersectionality points? Would they listen to reason then or dismiss them? If you lived in the Soviet Union, communism was the conservative position, and advocating perestroika was outside of the standard thinking.

These positions are constantly changing; 50 years ago it would be a political norm to argue for segregation, abolishing social security, financial regulation along Glass-Steagall terms,, etc. But not anymore. If talking about social bodies as organizing powers that frame and determine individual action, then Burke is a Marxist. And every country has practiced redistribution. The question is what gets distributed, to whom, and how much. I certainly fall far short of the love that Christ calls me to, but I am eternally thankful that he has paid for my sins, every one…including my theological inaccuracies, impatience, and hypocrisies.

The revelation of Trinitarian love. Trinitarian love, the origin and goal of the human person b. Christian salvation: for all people and the whole person c. The disciple of Christ as a new creation d. The transcendence of salvation and the autonomy of earthly realities. The Church, sign and defender of the transcendence of the human person b.

The Church, the Kingdom of God and the renewal of social relations c. New heavens and a new earth d. The Church, God's dwelling place with men and women b. Enriching and permeating society with the Gospel c. Social doctrine, evangelization and human promotion d. The rights and duties of the Church. Knowledge illuminated by faith b.

In friendly dialogue with all branches of knowledge c. An expression of the Church's ministry of teaching d. For a society reconciled in justice and love e. A message for the sons and daughters of the Church and for humanity f. Under the sign of continuity and renewal. The beginning of a new path b.

From Rerum Novarum to our own day c. In the light and under the impulse of the Gospel. Creatures in the image of God b. The tragedy of sin c. The universality of sin and the universality of salvation. The unity of the person B. Openness to transcendence and uniqueness of the person.

Open to transcendence b. Unique and unrepeatable c. Respect for human dignity. The value and limits of freedom b. The bond uniting freedom with truth and the natural law. The equal dignity of all people E. The social nature of human beings. The value of human rights b.

The specification of rights c. Rights and duties d. Rights of peoples and nations e. Filling in the gap between the letter and the spirit. Meaning and primary implications b. Responsibility of everyone for the common good c. Tasks of the political community. Origin and meaning b. The universal destination of goods and private property c. The universal destination of goods and the preferential option for the poor.

Concrete indications. Meaning and value b. Participation and democracy. Solidarity as a social principle and a moral virtue c. Solidarity and the common growth of mankind d. Solidarity in the life and message of Jesus Christ. The relationship between principles and values b. Truth c. Freedom d. Importance of the family for the person b. Importance of the family for society. The value of marriage b. The sacrament of marriage. Love and the formation of a community of persons b. The family is the sanctuary of life c.

The task of educating d. The dignity and rights of children. Solidarity in the family b. The family, economic life and work. The duty to cultivate and care for the earth b. Jesus, a man of work c. The duty to work. The subjective and objective dimensions of work b. The relationship between labour and capital c. Work, the right to participate d. The relationship between labour and private property e.

Rest from work. Work is necessary b. The role of the State and civil society in promoting the right to work c. The family and the right to work d. Women and the right to work e. Child labour f. Immigration and work g. The world of agriculture and the right to work. The dignity of workers and the respect for their rights b.

The right to fair remuneration and income distribution c. The right to strike. The importance of unions b. New forms of solidarity. An epoch-making phase of transition b. Man, poverty and riches b. Wealth exists to be shared. Business and its goals b. Role of business owners and management. Role of the free market b. Action of the State c. Role of intermediate bodies d. Savings and consumer goods. Globalization: opportunities and risks b. The international financial system c.

Role of the international community in an era of a global economy d. An integral development in solidarity e. Need for more educational and cultural formation. God's dominion b. Jesus and political authority c. The early Christian communities. Political community, the human person and a people b. Defending and promoting human rights c.

Social life based on civil friendship. The foundation of political authority b. Authority as moral force c. The right to conscientious objection d. The right to resist e. Inflicting punishment. Values and democracy b. Institutions and democracy c. Moral components of political representation d. Instruments for political participation e. Information and democracy.

1. Life and Works

Value of civil society b. Priority of civil society c. Application of the principle of subsidiarity. Religious freedom, a fundamental human right B. The Catholic Church and the political community. Autonomy and independence b. Unity of the human family b. Jesus Christ, prototype and foundation of the new humanity c. The universal vocation of Christianity. The international community and values b.

Relations based on harmony between the juridical and moral orders. The value of international organizations b. The juridical personality of the Holy See. Cooperation to guarantee the right to development b. The fight against poverty c. Foreign debt. The environment, a collective good b. The use of biotechnology c. The environment and the sharing of goods d. New lifestyles. Legitimate defence b. Defending peace c. The duty to protect the innocent d.

Measures against those who threaten peace e. Disarmament f. The condemnation of terrorism. Social doctrine and the inculturation of faith b. Social doctrine and social pastoral activity c. Social doctrine and formation d. Promoting dialogue e. The subjects of social pastoral activity. The lay faithful b.

Spirituality of the lay faithful c. Acting with prudence d. Social doctrine and lay associations e. Service in the various sectors of social life. Service to the human person 2. Service in culture 3. Service in the economy 4. Service in politics. The help that the Church offers to modern man b. Starting afresh from faith in Christ c.

A solid hope d. Index of references Analytical index. Apostolic Exhortation Ap. Letter Apostolic Letter c. Denzinger - A. Letter Encyclical Letter ibid. Migne q. Continuing to expound and update the rich patrimony of Catholic social doctrine, Pope John Paul II has for his part published three great Encyclicals — Laborem Exercens , Sollicitudo Rei Socialis and Centesimus Annus — that represent fundamental stages of Catholic thought in this area. For their part, numerous Bishops in every part of the world have contributed in recent times to a deeper understanding of the Church's social doctrine.

Numerous scholars on every continent have done the same. It was therefore hoped that a compendium of all this material should be compiled, systematically presenting the foundations of Catholic social doctrine. It is commendable that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has taken up this task, devoting intense efforts to this initiative in recent years.

This work also shows the value of Catholic social doctrine as an instrument of evangelization cf. Centesimus Annus , 54 , because it places the human person and society in relationship with the light of the Gospel. The principles of the Church's social doctrine, which are based on the natural law, are then seen to be confirmed and strengthened, in the faith of the Church, by the Gospel of Christ. In this light, men and women are invited above all to discover themselves as transcendent beings, in every dimension of their lives, including those related to social, economic and political contexts.

Faith brings to fullness the meaning of the family, which, founded on marriage between one man and one woman, constitutes the first and vital cell of society. It moreover sheds light on the dignity of work, which, as human activity destined to bring human beings to fulfilment, has priority over capital and confirms their rightful claim to share in the fruits that result from work.

In the present text we can see the importance of moral values, founded on the natural law written on every human conscience; every human conscience is hence obliged to recognize and respect this law. Humanity today seeks greater justice in dealing with the vast phenomenon of globalization; it has a keen concern for ecology and a correct management of public affairs; it senses the need to safeguard national consciences, without losing sight however of the path of law and the awareness of the unity of the human family.

The world of work, profoundly changed by the advances of modern technology, reveals extraordinary levels of quality, but unfortunately it must also acknowledge new forms of instability, exploitation and even slavery within the very societies that are considered affluent. In different areas of the planet the level of well-being continues to grow, but there is also a dangerous increase in the numbers of those who are becoming poor, and, for various reasons, the gap between less developed and rich countries is widening.

The free market, an economic process with positive aspects, is nonetheless showing its limitations. On the other hand, the preferential love for the poor represents a fundamental choice for the Church, and she proposes it to all people of good will. Contemporary cultural and social issues involve above all the lay faithful, who are called, as the Second Vatican Council reminds us, to deal with temporal affairs and order them according to God's will cf.

Lumen Gentium , We can therefore easily understand the fundamental importance of the formation of the laity, so that the holiness of their lives and the strength of their witness will contribute to human progress. This document intends to help them in this daily mission. Moreover, it is interesting to note how the many elements brought together here are shared by other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, as well as by other Religions. The text has been presented in such a way as to be useful not only from within ab intra , that is among Catholics, but also from outside ab extra.

In fact, those who share the same Baptism with us, as well as the followers of other Religions and all people of good will, can find herein fruitful occasions for reflection and a common motivation for the integral development of every person and the whole person. The Holy Father, while hoping that the present document will help humanity in its active quest for the common good, invokes God's blessings on those who will take the time to reflect on the teachings of this publication.

In expressing my own personal good wishes for the success of this endeavour, I congratulate Your Eminence and your collaborators at the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace for the important work carried out, and with sentiments of respect I remain. I am pleased to present the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church , which, according to the request received from the Holy Father, has been drawn up in order to give a concise but complete overview of the Church's social teaching.

Transforming social realities with the power of the Gospel, to which witness is borne by women and men faithful to Jesus Christ, has always been a challenge and it remains so today at the beginning of the third millennium of the Christian era. For this very reason the men and women of our day have greater need than ever of the Gospel: of the faith that saves, of the hope that enlightens, of the charity that loves. The reading of these pages is suggested above all in order to sustain and foster the activity of Christians in the social sector, especially the activity of the lay faithful to whom this area belongs in a particular way; the whole of their lives must be seen as a work of evangelization that produces fruit.

This work, entrusted to me and now offered to those who will read it, carries therefore the seal of a great witness to the Cross who remained strong in faith in the dark and terrible years of Vietnam. This witness will know of our gratitude for all his precious labour, undertaken with love and dedication, and he will bless those who stop to reflect on these pages.

I invoke the intercession of Saint Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer and Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patron of the Universal Church and of Work, so that this text will bear abundant fruit in the life of society as an instrument for the proclamation of the Gospel, for justice and for peace. At the dawn of the Third Millennium. Jn through which we passed during the Great Jubilee of the year [1]. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life cf. Jn : contemplating the Lord's face, we confirm our faith and our hope in him, the one Saviour and goal of history.

The Church continues to speak to all people and all nations, for it is only in the name of Christ that salvation is given to men and women. At the dawn of this Third Millennium, the Church does not tire of proclaiming the Gospel that brings salvation and genuine freedom also to temporal realities. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.

To the people of our time, her travelling companions, the Church also offers her social doctrine. Discovering that they are loved by God, people come to understand their own transcendent dignity, they learn not to be satisfied with only themselves but to encounter their neighbour in a network of relationships that are ever more authentically human. They are people capable of bringing peace where there is conflict, of building and nurturing fraternal relationships where there is hatred, of seeking justice where there prevails the exploitation of man by man.

Only love is capable of radically transforming the relationships that men maintain among themselves. This is the perspective that allows every person of good will to perceive the broad horizons of justice and human development in truth and goodness. Love faces a vast field of work and the Church is eager to make her contribution with her social doctrine, which concerns the whole person and is addressed to all people.

So many needy brothers and sisters are waiting for help, so many who are oppressed are waiting for justice, so many who are unemployed are waiting for a job, so many peoples are waiting for respect. Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their head? The scenario of poverty can extend indefinitely, if in addition to its traditional forms we think of its newer patterns.

These latter often affect financially affluent sectors and groups which are nevertheless threatened by despair at the lack of meaning in their lives, by drug addiction, by fear of abandonment in old age or sickness, by marginalization or social discrimination And how can we remain indifferent to the prospect of an ecological crisis which is making vast areas of our planet uninhabitable and hostile to humanity? Or by the problems of peace, so often threatened by the spectre of catastrophic wars? Or by contempt for the fundamental human rights of so many people, especially children?

Christian love leads to denunciation, proposals and a commitment to cultural and social projects; it prompts positive activity that inspires all who sincerely have the good of man at heart to make their contribution. Humanity is coming to understand ever more clearly that it is linked by one sole destiny that requires joint acceptance of responsibility, a responsibility inspired by an integral and shared humanism.

It sees that this mutual destiny is often conditioned and even imposed by technological and economic factors, and it senses the need for a greater moral awareness that will guide its common journey. Marvelling at the many innovations of technology, the men and women of our day strongly desire that progress be directed towards the true good of the humanity, both of today and tomorrow. The significance of this document. The Christian knows that in the social doctrine of the Church can be found the principles for reflection, the criteria for judgment and the directives for action which are the starting point for the promotion of an integral and solidary humanism.

It is in this light that the publication of a document providing the fundamental elements of the social doctrine of the Church, showing the relationship between this doctrine and the new evangelization [6], appeared to be so useful. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which has drawn up the present document and is fully responsible for its content, prepared the text in a broad-based consultation with its own Members and Consulters, with different Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, with the Bishops' Conferences of various countries, with individual Bishops and with experts on the issues addressed.

This document intends to present in a complete and systematic manner, even if by means of an overview, the Church's social teaching, which is the fruit of careful Magisterial reflection and an expression of the Church's constant commitment in fidelity to the grace of salvation wrought in Christ and in loving concern for humanity's destiny.

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  3. Index of Cults and Religions?
  4. Herein the most relevant theological, philosophical, moral, cultural and pastoral considerations of this teaching are systematically presented as they relate to social questions. In this way, witness is borne to the fruitfulness of the encounter between the Gospel and the problems that mankind encounters on its journey through history. In studying this Compendium, it is good to keep in mind that the citations of Magisterial texts are taken from documents of differing authority.

    Alongside council documents and encyclicals there are also papal addresses and documents drafted by offices of the Holy See. As one knows, but it seems to bear repeating, the reader should be aware that different levels of teaching authority are involved. The document limits itself to putting forth the fundamental elements of the Church's social doctrine, leaving to Episcopal Conferences the task of making the appropriate applications as required by the different local situations[7].

    This document offers a complete overview of the fundamental framework of the doctrinal corpus of Catholic social teaching. This overview allows us to address appropriately the social issues of our day, which must be considered as a whole, since they are characterized by an ever greater interconnectedness, influencing one another mutually and becoming increasingly a matter of concern for the entire human family. The exposition of the Church's social doctrine is meant to suggest a systematic approach for finding solutions to problems, so that discernment, judgment and decisions will correspond to reality, and so that solidarity and hope will have a greater impact on the complexities of current situations.

    These principles, in fact, are interrelated and shed light on one another mutually, insofar as they are an expression of Christian anthropology[8], fruits of the revelation of God's love for the human person. However, it must not be forgotten that the passing of time and the changing of social circumstances will require a constant updating of the reflections on the various issues raised here, in order to interpret the new signs of the times.

    The document is presented as an instrument for the moral and pastoral discernment of the complex events that mark our time; as a guide to inspire, at the individual and collective levels, attitudes and choices that will permit all people to look to the future with greater trust and hope ; as an aid for the faithful concerning the Church's teaching in the area of social morality.

    From this there can spring new strategies suited to the demands of our time and in keeping with human needs and resources. In short, the text is proposed as an incentive for dialogue with all who sincerely desire the good of mankind. This document is intended first of all for Bishops, who will determine the most suitable methods for making it known and for interpreting it correctly. Priests, men and women religious , and, in general, those responsible for formation will find herein a guide for their teaching and a tool for their pastoral service.

    Christian communities will be able to look to this document for assistance in analyzing situations objectively, in clarifying them in the light of the unchanging words of the Gospel, in drawing principles for reflection, criteria for judgment and guidelines for action[12]. This document is proposed also to the brethren of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, to the followers of other religions, as well as to all people of good will who are committed to serving the common good : may they receive it as the fruit of a universal human experience marked by countless signs of the presence of God's Spirit.

    It is a treasury of things old and new cf. It is a sign of hope in the fact that religions and cultures today show openness to dialogue and sense the urgent need to join forces in promoting justice, fraternity, peace and the growth of the human person. The Catholic Church joins her own commitment to that made in the social field by other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, whether at the level of doctrinal reflection or at the practical level.

    Together with them, the Catholic Church is convinced that from the common heritage of social teachings preserved by the living tradition of the people of God there will come motivations and orientations for an ever closer cooperation in the promotion of justice and peace[13]. At the service of the full truth about man. Ex ; Jn and moves among them cf. By means of the present document, the Church intends to offer a contribution of truth to the question of man's place in nature and in human society, a question faced by civilizations and cultures in which expressions of human wisdom are found.

    Rooted in a past that is often thousands of years old and manifesting themselves in forms of religion, philosophy and poetic genius of every time and of every people, these civilizations and cultures offer their own interpretation of the universe and of human society, and seek an understanding of existence and of the mystery that surrounds it. Who am I? Why is there pain, evil, death, despite all the progress that has been made? What is the value of so many accomplishments if the cost has been unbearable?

    What will there be after this life? These are the basic questions that characterize the course of human life[17]. The direction that human existence, society and history will take depends largely on the answers given to the questions of man's place in nature and society; the purpose of the present document is to make a contribution to these answers. The deepest meaning of human existence, in fact, is revealed in the free quest for that truth capable of giving direction and fullness to life. The aforementioned questions incessantly draw human intelligence and the human will to this quest.

    They are the highest expression of human nature, since they require a response that measures the depth of an individual's commitment to his own existence. The fundamental questions accompanying the human journey from the very beginning take on even greater significance in our own day, because of the enormity of the challenges, the novelty of the situations and the importance of the decisions facing modern generations.

    The first of the great challenges facing humanity today is that of the truth itself of the being who is man. The boundary and relation between nature, technology and morality are issues that decisively summon personal and collective responsibility with regard to the attitudes to adopt concerning what human beings are, what they are able to accomplish and what they should be. A second challenge is found in the understanding and management of pluralism and differences at every level: in ways of thinking, moral choices, culture, religious affiliation, philosophy of human and social development.

    The third challenge is globalization , the significance of which is much wider and more profound than simple economic globalization, since history has witnessed the opening of a new era that concerns humanity's destiny. The disciples of Jesus Christ feel that they are involved with these questions; they too carry them within their hearts and wish to commit themselves, together with all men and women, to the quest for the truth and the meaning of life lived both as individual persons and as a society.

    They contribute to this quest by their generous witness to the free and extraordinary gift that humanity has received : God has spoken his Word to men and women throughout history; indeed he himself has entered history in order to enter into dialogue with humanity and to reveal to mankind his plan of salvation, justice and brotherhood. In Jesus Christ, his Son made man, God has freed us from sin and has shown us the path we are to walk and the goal towards which we are to strive. The Church journeys along the roads of history together with all of humanity.

    She lives in the world, and although not of the world cf. Jn she is called to serve the world according to her innermost vocation. This attitude, found also in the present document, is based on the deep conviction that just as it is important for the world to recognize the Church as a reality of history and a leaven in history, so too is it important for the Church to recognize what she has received from history and from the development of the human race[19].

    The Church, the sign in history of God's love for mankind and of the vocation of the whole human race to unity as children of the one Father [21], intends with this document on her social doctrine to propose to all men and women a humanism that is up to the standards of God's plan of love in history, an integral and solidary humanism capable of creating a new social, economic and political order, founded on the dignity and freedom of every human person, to be brought about in peace, justice and solidarity.

    This humanism can become a reality if individual men and women and their communities are able to cultivate moral and social virtues in themselves and spread them in society. Centesimus Annus , God's gratuitous presence. Every authentic religious experience, in all cultural traditions, leads to an intuition of the Mystery that, not infrequently, is able to recognize some aspect of God's face. On the one hand, God is seen as the origin of what exists , as the presence that guarantees to men and women organized in a society the basic conditions of life, placing at their disposal the goods that are necessary.

    On the other hand, he appears as the measure of what should be , as the presence that challenges human action — both at the personal and at the social levels — regarding the use of those very goods in relation to other people. In every religious experience, therefore, importance attaches to the dimension of gift and gratuitousness , which is seen as an underlying element of the experience that the human beings have of their existence together with others in the world, as well as to the repercussions of this dimension on the human conscience, which senses that it is called to manage responsibly and together with others the gift received.

    Against the background of universal religious experience, in which humanity shares in different ways, God's progressive revelation of himself to the people of Israel stands out. This revelation responds to the human quest for the divine in an unexpected and surprising way, thanks to the historical manner — striking and penetrating — in which God's love for man is made concrete. These become historical action, which is the origin of the manner in which the Lord's people collectively identify themselves, through the acquisition of freedom and the land that the Lord gives them.

    The gratuitousness of this historically efficacious divine action is constantly accompanied by the commitment to the covenant, proposed by God and accepted by Israel. On Mount Sinai, God's initiative becomes concrete in the covenant with his people, to whom is given the Decalogue of the commandments revealed by the Lord cf. Ex Moral existence is a response to the Lord's loving initiative. It is the acknowledgment and homage given to God and a worship of thanksgiving. The Ten Commandments, which constitute an extraordinary path of life and indicate the surest way for living in freedom from slavery to sin, contain a privileged expression of the natural law.

    They describe universal human morality. In the Gospel, Jesus reminds the rich young man that the Ten Commandments cf. There comes from the Decalogue a commitment that concerns not only fidelity to the one true God, but also the social relations among the people of the Covenant. The gift of freedom and the Promised Land, and the gift of the Covenant on Sinai and the Ten Commandments are therefore intimately linked to the practices which must regulate, in justice and solidarity, the development of Israelite society. Among the many norms which tend to give concrete expression to the style of gratuitousness and sharing in justice which God inspires, the law of the sabbatical year celebrated every seven years and that of the jubilee year celebrated every fifty years [27] stand out as important guidelines — unfortunately never fully put into effect historically — for the social and economic life of the people of Israel.

    Besides requiring fields to lie fallow, these laws call for the cancellation of debts and a general release of persons and goods: everyone is free to return to his family of origin and to regain possession of his birthright. This legislation is designed to ensure that the salvific event of the Exodus and fidelity to the Covenant represents not only the founding principle of Israel's social, political and economic life, but also the principle for dealing with questions concerning economic poverty and social injustices.

    This principle is invoked in order to transform, continuously and from within, the life of the people of the Covenant, so that this life will correspond to God's plan. To eliminate the discrimination and economic inequalities caused by socio-economic changes, every seven years the memory of the Exodus and the Covenant are translated into social and juridical terms, in order to bring the concepts of property, debts, loans and goods back to their deepest meaning. The precepts of the sabbatical and jubilee years constitute a kind of social doctrine in miniature [28].

    They show how the principles of justice and social solidarity are inspired by the gratuitousness of the salvific event wrought by God, and that they do not have a merely corrective value for practices dominated by selfish interests and objectives, but must rather become, as a prophecy of the future, the normative points of reference to which every generation in Israel must conform if it wishes to be faithful to its God. These principles become the focus of the Prophets' preaching, which seeks to internalize them.

    God's Spirit, poured into the human heart — the Prophets proclaim — will make these same sentiments of justice and solidarity, which reside in the Lord's heart, take root in you cf. Jer and Ezek Then God's will, articulated in the Decalogue given on Sinai, will be able to take root creatively in man's innermost being. This process of internalization gives rise to greater depth and realism in social action, making possible the progressive universalization of attitudes of justice and solidarity , which the people of the Covenant are called to have towards all men and women of every people and nation.

    The reflection of the Prophets and that found in the Wisdom Literature, in coming to the formulation of the principle that all things were created by God, touch on the first manifestation and the source itself of God's plan for the whole of humanity. In Israel's profession of faith, to affirm that God is Creator does not mean merely expressing a theoretical conviction, but also grasping the original extent of the Lord's gratuitous and merciful action on behalf of man. In fact, God freely confers being and life on everything that exists.

    Man and woman, created in his image and likeness cf. Gen , are for that very reason called to be the visible sign and the effective instrument of divine gratuitousness in the garden where God has placed them as cultivators and custodians of the goods of creation. It is in the free action of God the Creator that we find the very meaning of creation, even if it has been distorted by the experience of sin.

    In fact, the narrative of the first sin cf. Gen describes the permanent temptation and the disordered situation in which humanity comes to find itself after the fall of its progenitors. Disobedience to God means hiding from his loving countenance and seeking to control one's life and action in the world.

    Breaking the relation of communion with God causes a rupture in the internal unity of the human person, in the relations of communion between man and woman and of the harmonious relations between mankind and other creatures[29]. It is in this original estrangement that are to be sought the deepest roots of all the evils that afflict social relations between people, of all the situations in economic and political life that attack the dignity of the person, that assail justice and solidarity.

    In Jesus Christ the decisive event of the history of God with mankind is fulfilled. The benevolence and mercy that inspire God's actions and provide the key for understanding them become so very much closer to man that they take on the traits of the man Jesus, the Word made flesh. Is Jesus therefore places himself on the frontline of fulfilment, not only because he fulfils what was promised and what was awaited by Israel, but also in the deeper sense that in him the decisive event of the history of God with mankind is fulfilled.

    Jesus, in other words, is the tangible and definitive manifestation of how God acts towards men and women. The love that inspires Jesus' ministry among men is the love that he has experienced in his intimate union with the Father.

    Muslim-Christian Relations: Historical and Contemporary Realities

    Jesus announces the liberating mercy of God to those whom he meets on his way, beginning with the poor, the marginalized, the sinners. He invites all to follow him because he is the first to obey God's plan of love, and he does so in a most singular way, as God's envoy in the world. Jesus' self-awareness of being the Son is an expression of this primordial experience.

    For Jesus, recognizing the Father's love means modelling his actions on God's gratuitousness and mercy; it is these that generate new life. It means becoming — by his very existence — the example and pattern of this for his disciples. Jesus' followers are called to live like him and, after his Passover of death and resurrection, to live also in him and by him , thanks to the superabundant gift of the Holy Spirit, the Consoler, who internalizes Christ's own style of life in human hearts.

    With the unceasing amazement of those who have experienced the inexpressible love of God cf. Rom , the New Testament grasps, in the light of the full revelation of Trinitarian love offered by the Passover of Jesus Christ, the ultimate meaning of the Incarnation of the Son and his mission among men and women. He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? The Face of God, progressively revealed in the history of salvation, shines in its fullness in the Face of Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead.

    God is Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; truly distinct and truly one, because God is an infinite communion of love. God's gratuitous love for humanity is revealed, before anything else, as love springing from the Father, from whom everything draws its source; as the free communication that the Son makes of this love, giving himself anew to the Father and giving himself to mankind; as the ever new fruitfulness of divine love that the Holy Spirit pours forth into the hearts of men cf.

    Rom By his words and deeds, and fully and definitively by his death and resurrection [30], Jesus reveals to humanity that God is Father and that we are all called by grace to become his children in the Spirit cf. Rom ; Gal , and therefore brothers and sisters among ourselves. Meditating on the gratuitousness and superabundance of the Father's divine gift of the Son, which Jesus taught and bore witness to by giving his life for us, the Apostle John grasps its profound meaning and its most logical consequence.

    The commandment of mutual love shows how to live in Christ the Trinitarian life within the Church, the Body of Christ, and how to transform history until it reaches its fulfilment in the heavenly Jerusalem. The commandment of mutual love, which represents the law of life for God's people [32], must inspire, purify and elevate all human relationships in society and in politics. Trinitarian love, the origin and goal of the human person. The revelation in Christ of the mystery of God as Trinitarian love is at the same time the revelation of the vocation of the human person to love.

    This revelation sheds light on every aspect of the personal dignity and freedom of men and women, and on the depths of their social nature. In the communion of love that is God, and in which the Three Divine Persons mutually love one another and are the One God, the human person is called to discover the origin and goal of his existence and of history.

    It follows, then, that if man is the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake, man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself cf. Christian revelation shines a new light on the identity, the vocation and the ultimate destiny of the human person and the human race. Every person is created by God, loved and saved in Jesus Christ, and fulfils himself by creating a network of multiple relationships of love, justice and solidarity with other persons while he goes about his various activities in the world.

    Human activity, when it aims at promoting the integral dignity and vocation of the person, the quality of living conditions and the meeting in solidarity of peoples and nations, is in accordance with the plan of God, who does not fail to show his love and providence to his children.

    The pages of the first book of Sacred Scripture, which describe the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God cf. Gen , contain a fundamental teaching with regard to the identity and the vocation of the human person. Gen This vision of the human person, of society and of history is rooted in God and is ever more clearly seen when his plan of salvation becomes a reality. Christian salvation: for all people and the whole person. The salvation offered in its fullness to men in Jesus Christ by God the Father's initiative, and brought about and transmitted by the work of the Holy Spirit, is salvation for all people and of the whole person: it is universal and integral salvation.

    It concerns the human person in all his dimensions: personal and social, spiritual and corporeal, historical and transcendent. It begins to be made a reality already in history, because what is created is good and willed by God, and because the Son of God became one of us[39]. Its completion, however, is in the future, when we shall be called, together with all creation cf. Rom 8 , to share in Christ's resurrection and in the eternal communion of life with the Father in the joy of the Holy Spirit.

    This outlook shows quite clearly the error and deception of purely immanentistic visions of the meaning of history and in humanity's claims to self-salvation. The salvation offered by God to his children requires their free response and acceptance. In fact, the divine plan of salvation does not consign human creatures to a state of mere passivity or of lesser status in relation to their Creator, because their relationship to God, whom Jesus Christ reveals to us and in whom he freely makes us sharers by the working of the Holy Spirit, is that of a child to its parent: the very relationship that Jesus lives with the Father cf.

    Jn ; Gal The universality and integrality of the salvation wrought by Christ makes indissoluble the link between the relationship that the person is called to have with God and the responsibility he has towards his neighbour in the concrete circumstances of history. This is sensed, though not always without some confusion or misunderstanding, in humanity's universal quest for truth and meaning, and it becomes the cornerstone of God's covenant with Israel, as attested by the tablets of the Law and the preaching of the Prophets.

    This link finds a clear and precise expression in the teaching of Jesus Christ and is definitively confirmed by the supreme witness of the giving of his life, in obedience to the Father's will and out of love for his brothers and sisters. Inextricably linked in the human heart are the relationship with God — recognized as Creator and Father, the source and fulfilment of life and of salvation — and openness in concrete love towards man, who must be treated as another self, even if he is an enemy cf.

    Mt In man's inner dimension are rooted, in the final analysis, the commitment to justice and solidarity, to the building up of a social, economic and political life that corresponds to God's plan. The disciple of Christ as a new creation. Personal and social life, as well as human action in the world, is always threatened by sin.

    Christ's disciple adheres, in faith and through the sacraments, to Jesus' Paschal Mystery, so that his old self , with its evil inclinations, is crucified with Christ.