Sunday, March 2, 2014
Matthew 21, 23-27 + CSDC and CV
(CV 33b) Other causes, however, mentioned only in passing in the Encyclical, have since emerged with greater clarity. A case in point would be the evaluation of the process of decolonization, then at its height. Paul VI hoped to see the journey towards autonomy unfold freely and in peace. More than forty years later, we must acknowledge how difficult this journey has been, both because of new forms of colonialism and continued dependence on old and new foreign powers, and because of grave irresponsibility within the very countries that have achieved independence.
CSDC 98b. “These two topics are to be considered the axes around which the Encyclical is structured. In wishing to convince its receivers of the urgent need for action in solidarity, the Pope presents development as ‘the transition from less humane conditions to those which are more humane' and indicates its characteristics”. This transition is not limited to merely economic or technological dimensions, but implies for each person the acquisition of culture, the respect of the dignity of others, the acknowledgment of “the highest good, the recognition of God Himself, the author and end of these blessings”.
Notes:  Congregation for Catholic Education, Guidelines for the Study and Teaching of the Church's Social Doctrine in the Formation of Priests, 25, Vatican Polyglot Press, Rome 1988, p. 29.  Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 21: AAS 59 (1967), 267.
 When he had come into the temple area, the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him as he was teaching and said, "By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?"  Jesus said to them in reply, "I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me, then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things.  Where was John's baptism from? Was it of heavenly or of human origin?" They discussed this among themselves and said, "If we say 'Of heavenly origin,' he will say to us, 'Then why did you not believe him?'  But if we say, 'Of human origin,' we fear the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet."  So they said to Jesus in reply, "We do not know." He himself said to them, "Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.
CSDC 383. The Church proclaims that Christ, the conqueror of death, reigns over the universe that he himself has redeemed. His kingdom includes even the present times and will end only when everything is handed over to the Father and human history is brought to completion in the final judgment (cf. 1 Cor 15:20-28). Christ reveals to human authority, always tempted by the desire to dominate, its authentic and complete meaning as service. God is the one Father, and Christ the one Teacher, of all mankind, and all people are brothers and sisters. Sovereignty belongs to God. The Lord, however, “has not willed to reserve to himself all exercise of power. He entrusts to every creature the functions it is capable of performing, according to the capacities of its own nature. This mode of governance ought to be followed in social life. The way God acts in governing the world, which bears witness to such great regard for human freedom, should inspire the wisdom of those who govern human communities. They should behave as ministers of divine providence”. The biblical message provides endless inspiration for Christian reflection on political power, recalling that it comes from God and is an integral part of the order that he created. This order is perceived by the human conscience and, in social life, finds its fulfilment in the truth, justice, freedom and solidarity that bring peace.
Notes:  Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1884.  Cf. John XXIII, Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris: AAS 55 (1963), 266-267, 281-291, 301-302; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 39: AAS 80 (1988), 566-568.
[Initials and Abbreviations.- CSDC: Pontifical Council for Justice And Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church; - SDC: Social Doctrine of the Church; - CV: Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in truth)]