Friday, February 28, 2014

Matthew 21, 14-17 + CSDC and CV

Matthew 21, 14-17 + CSDC and CV    

(CV 32c) It should be remembered that the reduction of cultures to the technological dimension, even if it favours short-term profits, in the long term impedes reciprocal enrichment and the dynamics of cooperation. It is important to distinguish between short- and long-term economic or sociological considerations. Lowering the level of protection accorded to the rights of workers, or abandoning mechanisms of wealth redistribution in order to increase the country's international competitiveness, hinder the achievement of lasting development. Moreover, the human consequences of current tendencies towards a short-term economy — sometimes very short-term — need to be carefully evaluated. This requires further and deeper reflection on the meaning of the economy and its goals [84], as well as a profound and far-sighted revision of the current model of development, so as to correct its dysfunctions and deviations. This is demanded, in any case, by the earth's state of ecological health; above all it is required by the cultural and moral crisis of man, the symptoms of which have been evident for some time all over the world.

Notes: [84] Cf. John Paul II, Message for the 2000 World Day of Peace, 15: AAS 92 (2000), 366.

Dignitatis Humanae: the right to religious freedom clearly proclaimed

CSDC 97. Another very important document of the Second Vatican Council in the corpus of the Church's social doctrine is the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae [179], in which the right to religious freedom is clearly proclaimed. The document presents the theme in two chapters. The first, of a general character, affirms that religious freedom is based on the dignity of the human person and that it must be sanctioned as a civil right in the legal order of society. The second chapter deals with the theme in the light of Revelation and clarifies its pastoral implications, pointing out that it is a right that concerns not only people as individuals but also the different communities of people. 

Notes:  [179] Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Declaration Dignitatis Humanae: AAS 58 (1966), 929-946.

(Mt 21, 14-17) Combating the disfigurement of sin

[14] The blind and the lame approached him in the temple area, and he cured them. [15] When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wondrous things he was doing, and the children crying out in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant [16] and said to him, "Do you hear what they are saying?" Jesus said to them, "Yes; and have you never read the text, 'Out of the mouths of infants and nurslings you have brought forth praise'?" [17] And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany, and there he spent the night.

CSDC 263. Work represents a fundamental dimension of human existence as participation not only in the act of creation but also in that of redemption. Those who put up with the difficult rigours of work in union with Jesus cooperate, in a certain sense, with the Son of God in his work of redemption and show that they are disciples of Christ bearing his cross, every day, in the activity they are called to do. In this perspective, work can be considered a means of sanctification and an enlivening of earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ.[576] Understood in this way, work is an expression of man's full humanity, in his historical condition and his eschatological orientation. Man's free and responsible action reveals his intimate relationship with the Creator and his creative power. At the same time, it is a daily aid in combating the disfigurement of sin, even when it is by the sweat of his brow that man earns his bread. 

  Notes: [576] Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2427; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Laborem Exercens, 27: AAS 73 (1981), 644-647.

[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)]

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Matthew 21, 12-13 + CSDC and CV

Matthew 21, 12-13 + CSDC and CV    

 (CV 32b) Through the systemic increase of social inequality, both within a single country and between the populations of different countries (i.e. the massive increase in relative poverty), not only does social cohesion suffer, thereby placing democracy at risk, but so too does the economy, through the progressive erosion of “social capital”: the network of relationships of trust, dependability, and respect for rules, all of which are indispensable for any form of civil coexistence. Economic science tells us that structural insecurity generates anti-productive attitudes wasteful of human resources, inasmuch as workers tend to adapt passively to automatic mechanisms, rather than to release creativity. On this point too, there is a convergence between economic science and moral evaluation. Human costs always include economic costs, and economic dysfunctions always involve human costs.

God freely confers being and life on everything that exists

CSDC 26. 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 1:26-27), 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.

(Mt 21, 12-13) universal destination of goods and the preferential option for the poor

[12] Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those engaged in selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. [13] And he said to them, "It is written: 'My house shall be a house of prayer,' but you are making it a den of thieves." 

CSDC 328. Goods, even when legitimately owned, always have a universal destination; any type of improper accumulation is immoral, because it openly contradicts the universal destination assigned to all goods by the Creator. Christian salvation is an integral liberation of man, which means being freed not only from need but also in respect to possessions. “For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith” (1 Tim 6:10). The Fathers of the Church insist more on the need for the conversion and transformation of the consciences of believers than on the need to change the social and political structures of their day. They call on those who work in the economic sphere and who possess goods to consider themselves administrators of the goods that God has entrusted to them. CSDC 182. The principle of the universal destination of goods requires that the poor, the marginalized and in all cases those whose living conditions interfere with their proper growth should be the focus of particular concern. To this end, the preferential option for the poor should be reaffirmed in all its force[384]. “This is an option, or a special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity, to which the whole tradition of the Church bears witness. It affects the life of each Christian inasmuch as he or she seeks to imitate the life of Christ, but it applies equally to our social responsibilities and hence to our manner of living, and to the logical decisions to be made concerning the ownership and use of goods. Today, furthermore, given the worldwide dimension which the social question has assumed, this love of preference for the poor, and the decisions which it inspires in us, cannot but embrace the immense multitudes of the hungry, the needy, the homeless, those without health care and, above all, those without hope of a better future”[385].

Notes: [384] Cf. John Paul II, Address to the Third General Conference of Latin American Bishops, Puebla, Mexico (28 January 1979), I/8: AAS 71 (1979), 194-195. [385] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 42: AAS 80 (1988), 572- 573; cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, 32: AAS 87 (1995), 436-437; John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 51: AAS 87 (1995), 36; John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, 49-50: AAS 93 (2001), 302-303.

[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)]

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Matthew 21, 1-11 + CSDC and CV

Matthew 21, 1-11 + CSDC and CV    

 (CV 32a) The significant new elements in the picture of the development of peoples today in many cases demand new solutions. These need to be found together, respecting the laws proper to each element and in the light of an integral vision of man, reflecting the different aspects of the human person, contemplated through a lens purified by charity. Remarkable convergences and possible solutions will then come to light, without any fundamental component of human life being obscured. The dignity of the individual and the demands of justice require, particularly today, that economic choices do not cause disparities in wealth to increase in an excessive and morally unacceptable manner [83], and that we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone. All things considered, this is also required by “economic logic”.

Notes: [83] Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter  Populorum Progressio, 33: loc. cit., 273-274.

Gaudium et Spes: the light of a Christian anthropological outlook

96c Gaudium et Spes presents in a systematic manner the themes of culture, of economic and social life, of marriage and the family, of the political community, of peace and the community of peoples, in the light of a Christian anthropological outlook and of the Church's mission. Everything is considered from the starting point of the person and with a view to the person, “the only creature that God willed for its own sake”[176].

Notes: [176] Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 24: AAS 58 (1966), 1045.

(Mt 21, 1-11) Jesus and political authority

[1] When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, [2] saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me. [3] And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, 'The master has need of them.' Then he will send them at once." [4] This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: [5] "Say to daughter Zion, 'Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'" [6] The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. [7] They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. [8] The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. [9] The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest." [10] And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, "Who is this?" [11] And the crowds replied, "This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee."  

CSDC 379. Jesus refuses the oppressive and despotic power wielded by the rulers of the nations (cf. Mk 10:42) and rejects their pretension in having themselves called benefactors (cf. Lk 22:25), but he does not directly oppose the authorities of his time. In his pronouncement on the paying of taxes to Caesar (cf. Mk 12:13-17; Mt 22:15-22; Lk 20:20-26), he affirms that we must give to God what is God's, implicitly condemning every attempt at making temporal power divine or absolute: God alone can demand everything from man. At the same time, temporal power has the right to its due: Jesus does not consider it unjust to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus, the promised Messiah, fought against and overcame the temptation of a political messianism, characterized by the subjection of the nations (cf. Mt 4:8-11; Lk 4:5-8). He is the Son of Man who came “to serve, and to give his life” (Mk 10:45; cf. Mt 20:24-28: Lk 22:24-27). As his disciples are discussing with one another who is the greatest, Jesus teaches them that they must make themselves least and the servants of all (cf. Mk 9:33- 35), showing to the sons of Zebedee, James and John, who wish to sit at His right hand, the path of the cross (cf. Mk 10:35-40; Mt 20:20-23).

[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)]

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Matthew 20, 29-34 + CSDC and CV

Matthew 20, 29-34 + CSDC and CV     

(CV 31b) The excessive segmentation of knowledge [80], the rejection of metaphysics by the human sciences [81], the difficulties encountered by dialogue between science and theology are damaging not only to the development of knowledge, but also to the development of peoples, because these things make it harder to see the integral good of man in its various dimensions. The “broadening [of] our concept of reason and its application”[82] is indispensable if we are to succeed in adequately weighing all the elements involved in the question of development and in the solution of socio-economic problems. 

Notes: [80] Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter  Fides et Ratio (14 September 1998), 85: AAS 91 (1999), 72-73. [81] Cf. ibid., 83: loc. cit., 70-71. [82] Benedict XVI, Address at the University of Regensburg, 12 September 2006. 

Gaudium et Spes a feeling of deep solidarity with the human race

CSDC 96b.  Gaudium et Spes presents the face of a Church that “cherishes a feeling of deep solidarity with the human race and its history”[174], that travels the same journey as all mankind and shares the same earthly lot with the world, but which at the same time “is to be a leaven and, as it were, the soul of human society in its renewal by Christ and transformation into the family of God”[175].

Notes: [174] Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 1: AAS 58 (1966), 1026. [175] Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 40: AAS 58 (1966), 1058.

(Mt 20, 29-34) Accomplishing powerful deeds to free men and women

[29] As they left Jericho, a great crowd followed him. [30] Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, "[Lord,] Son of David, have pity on us!" [31] The crowd warned them to be silent, but they called out all the more, "Lord, Son of David, have pity on us!" [32] Jesus stopped and called them and said, "What do you want me to do for you?" [33] They answered him, "Lord, let our eyes be opened." [34] Moved with pity, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight, and followed him.

CSDC 261. During his earthly ministry Jesus works tirelessly, accomplishing powerful deeds to free men and women from sickness, suffering and death. The Sabbath — which the Old Testament had put forth as a day of liberation and which, when observed only formally, lost its authentic significance — is reaffirmed by Jesus in its original meaning: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mk 2:27). By healing people on this day of rest (cf. Mt 12:9-14; Mk 3:1-6; Lk 6:6-11, 13:10-17, 14:1-6), he wishes to show that the Sabbath is his, because he is truly the Son of God, and that it is the day on which men should dedicate themselves to God and to others. Freeing people from evil, practising brotherhood and sharing: these give to work its noblest meaning, that which allows humanity to set out on the path to the eternal Sabbath, when rest will become the festive celebration to which men and women inwardly aspire. It is precisely in orienting humanity towards this experience of God's Sabbath and of his fellowship of life that work is the inauguration on earth of the new creation.

[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)]