Friday, March 03, 2006

In America: Deus Caritas Est

Keep an eye our for the March 13 issue of America, which focuses on Deus Caritas Est.

From Fr. Richard Ryscavage, S.J.:

Self-styled progressive Catholics have, for over a generation, downplayed the role of charity in social action. They might revere Mother Teresa of Calcutta as a saint, but they dismissed her charitable approach as a superficial, Band-Aid response to poverty. Some even considered her approach dangerous, because she seemed to make more tolerable the oppression of an unjust social structure. In the minds of various Catholic social activists, justice should always trump charity. Pope Benedict XVI disagrees. He uses the strongest teaching instrument of the papacy to affirm the intrinsic salience of the Catholic Church’s charitable work.

From Fr. Robert Imbelli:

Benedict is acutely conscious that being Christian is an endless adventure, a growth to maturity of faith and love. The encounter with Jesus Christ summons the disciple to newness of life. For the transformation of eros in agape entails the transformation of the subject, the lover. Encounter with the living Christ, especially in the Eucharist, if it takes place in Spirit and in truth, transforms the disciple so that she or he becomes a new self, a eucharistic self. “The Eucharist draws us into Jesus’ act of self-oblation. More than a merely static reception of the incarnate Logos, we enter into the very movement of his self-giving” (No. 13, translation modified). This is the moto spiritale, the spiritual maturation that moves Dante from the base of Mount Purgatory, through the heavenly spheres, to the ultimate vision of the communion of saints and of all creation transformed in the love of the Triune God

From Fr. Thomas Massaro, S.J.:

The justice orientation of a century of Catholic social teaching has motivated church people to engage in social activism to transform the world by cooperating with God’s benevolent grace. As the World Synod of Bishops in 1971 proclaimed, justice is truly and fully a work of evangelization. While observing all the necessary caveats regarding the relationships between church and world, religion and politics, faith and society, justice and charity, a passion for justice still belongs in the life of our church. May the Catholic community continue to advance this agenda. In order to do so, we will have to read Deus Caritas Est carefully, in a way that is consistently attentive to justice as well as charity.

2 Comments:

Blogger Susan Rose, CSJP said...

I read the encyclical while I was on retreat.

I'll admit, as a progressive social justice type, I read it very carefully.

But he doesn't say only charity work. Or no justice work. He clearly outlines a vision where the two are needed and go hand in hand.

And this is true from my experience. I've worked in government for 10+ years and know that the body politic needs the perspective the church brings to the table. Otherwise it's all about power plays.

But as the Pope says, the church cannot take the place of the state. But we have a definite role to play in framing the issues and bringing the heart into play.

Which is why Charity is so important. Not only are those in need helped, we are transformed.

Charity & Justice ... the two go hand in hand. One without the other is empty.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Gashwin said...

Thanks for that heads up, Mark (I'm kicking myself for letting my subscription to America lapse ... sheesh... ). Will be on the lookout for this one in the library for sure ...

6:31 PM  

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