Monday 25 February 2013

The two Kingdoms.

I said in my last post that the secular world no longer wants a relationship with the Church and that this is mainly an implicit reality at present, but there is an inevitablity to it soon becoming an explicit state of affairs.
There will be pros and cons to this lack of relationship. On the "cons" side there will be a lack of common ground upon which to discuss human affairs. The two Kingdoms, that of man and that of God, have radically different understandings of who man is. Metaphysics has long been eschewed by the secular vision, but now it is clear that the way in which the two Kingdoms approach morality, anthropology and freedom are utterly distinct. Christianity has an integral vision in which these three foundational dimensions of our life are clearly understood. But along with rejecting the Christian life, these building bricks are also rejected by the secular world. This will make communication between the Church and the world difficult.
In the Kingdom of man, there is a refusal to claim any foundational basis for morality. Secular morality can be summed up in the phrase, "seek success in whatever you attempt". A very dangerous principle!
Likewise, an integral and adequate anthropology is neither present in, nor required by, the secular world, and the riches of the Christian vision of man are regarded as mere opinion. It is very reckless to abandon milennia of acquired wisdom.
When we look at freedom, the most interior and personal dimension of man's life, we find a immediate problem. Bl John Paul II spoke frequently about this, describing freedom as the great dilemma for contemporary man: is it a terrible burden or is it a great gift? We have seen in history that human beings cannot live for long with an internal division. The secular world has yet to end its wrestling with this dilemma, and in what way will it bring its wrestling to an end? 
On the "pros" side the two Kingdoms will increasingly be seen for what they are. Christianity will be seen again in its radical truth: a human life marked, transformed and living by grace, which is the person and the power of the Risen Lord Jesus. In Christianity man's most intimate possession, his freedom, is not a burden, but is his radical surrender to the person of Jesus Christ.
The radical distinction between the two Kingdoms will be a moment of great power in the new evangelisation and will give great glory to God.
The above photo was taken when I was being vested at my ordination is St Anne's Cathedral, Leeds, in 1988.

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