Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Discovering the Council as the vision for the New Evangelisation

The two great documents of the Council are Lumen Gentium, which addresses the question, what is the Church?, and Gaudium et Spes, which addresses the question, who is man? In Lumen Gentium, it is the Mission of the Redeemer which is extended through history - to announce Eternal Life to the whole world. In Gaudium et Spes, the way in which the Church can address humanity is presented. It is not that the Church has the answer to all problems, but that the Church knows where truth can be found. The Council offers to the world the wisdom about man revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
What is the world's view of the Church? First, the world believes that there is only an accidental collaboration between itself and the Church becuase the two have different goals. For the world, human work has no transcendental value and one's relationship with God takes place only in a private 'religious' ambit. Secondly, the world regards human development as the 'coming of the kingdom', and thinks that the Church should (keep quiet, or) put all its efforts into constructing the 'kingdom of man' on earth. The Church however, sees herself right at the heart of the world, but holds a radically different attitude. For the Church, all human actions will be fulfilled in Heaven, and the Kingdom of God is transcendent in history.
How does the Church see human development? By the acquisition of a way of living which is proper to man, in both temporal and spiritual dimensions. Human development does not happen automatically, but by the way in which we contribute to the betterment of this way of living. Not all development can be called good, but must be judged according to the truth about man.

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