“The Church’s Social Concern”

“The Church’s Social Concern”

by Fr. Desmond De’Sousa CSsR – Former Executive Secretary of FABC-OHD

Twenty years after being thrown out from teaching, supposedly for teaching revolution when teaching Progressio Populorum, during my tenure as Executive secretary to the FABC Office of Human Development, my superiors called me
back to teach the new encyclical. I agreed, but modified the late Jesuit Bernard Lonergan’s snide remark about the Church, by commenting, “[Superiors] often arrive on the scene a little late and breathless!!” Based on these two social encyclicals, the Church envisions social transformation of society as the step-by-step process of development of “the whole person and all the people… from less human conditions to more human conditions”.

The implication of “the whole person” is that it is not just the economic dimension or ‘more- money’ aspect of the person that must be catered to; but also the social dimension or ‘participation’ aspect of the persons in society, their freedom for political involvement, as well as their cultural and spiritual growth that has to be fostered and encouraged. As the Popes have emphasized, it is not ‘having more’ things available and acquiring them, but ‘being more,’ [as better human persons], that is primary in genuine human development.

Further, the implication of “all the people” is that if any group of people is left out of the development process, no human development has occurred !! “ Collaboration in the development of the whole person and of every human being is in fact a duty of all towards all, and must be shared by the four parts of the world: East and West, North and South; or, as we say today, by the different “worlds.” If, on the contrary, people try to achieve it in only one part, precisely because the others are ignored, their own development becomes exaggerated and misdirected.” (Church’s Social Concern, Pope John Paul II, n.32)

The Church’s Social Concern (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis) provided the guidelines on how the Church should actually get involved in human development in order to make her specific contribution to the transformation of the world.

The encyclical’s framework on human development takes seriously Pope Paul Vl’s prosaic sentence in Populorum Progressio, “that the social question has become worldwide” (n.3). The core section of the encyclical on authentic human development (n.27-34) is placed between two valuable sections: survey of the contemporary world (n.11-26) and a theological or faith reflection on the contemporary world. (n.35-40).

The world offers a rather negative picture of development in 1987 as compared to 1967, as evident in the widening gap between the socalled developed North and the developing South. Wealth & Genuine Human Development in Catholic Social Teachings poverty intersect within societies themselves, whether developed or developing. Side by side with the “miseries of underdevelopment” is a form of “super-development” i.e. “an excessive availability of every kind of material goods”.

Both underdevelopment and super-development degrade the transcendent reality of the human being. The former are “deprived of hope” and tempted to violence; while the latter easily become slaves of possession and immediate gratifications, producing the “civilization of consumption or consumerism,” warns the Pope.

In the context of “having” (having possessions) and “being” (being happy), the Pope states: “There are some people — the few who posses much — who do not really succeed in ‘being’ because they are hindered by the cult of ‘having’; and there are others, the many, who have little or nothing — who do not succeed in realizing their basic human vocation because they “are deprived of essential goods” (n.28). The challenge to the Church according to her social teaching is, “to relieve the misery of the suffering not only out of her abundance, but also out of her necessities.”(n.31) Then comes a sentence from the Church Fathers, – both John Chrysostom and Ambrose – that would have gladdened the heart of Fredric Ozanam even though it will never be implemented! “Faced by cases of need [the poor], one cannot ignore them in favor of superfluous church ornaments and costly furnishings for divine worship; on the contrary it could be obligatory to sell these goods in order to provide food, drink, clothing and shelter for those who lack these things”(n.31)

Pope John Paul II then goes on to use a powerful image already used by Pope Paul VI. “On the international level, that is, the level of relations between States or, in present-day usage, between the different “worlds,” there must be complete respect for the identity of each people, with its own historical and cultural characteristics. It is likewise essential, as the Encyclical Populorum Progressio already asked, to recognize each people’s equal right “to be seated at the table of the common banquet”, instead of lying outside the door like Lazarus, while “the dogs come and lick his sores” (cf. Lk 16:21)(n.33).

Two different global analyses try to explain the growing gap between the developed North and the under-developed South, both at global and national levels. One analysis considers that the pace of progress differs and therefore widens the distance between nations and within nations. The other analysis, which appears more often, is that one group of countries develops ‘at the expense of the other’ (n.9, 32)

Whatever the analysis one uses, the end product of widespread poverty created by organized injustice, is unacceptable, according to the Pope. “One must denounce the existence of economic, f i n a n c i a l , a n d s o c i a l m e c h a n i s m w h i c h , accentuate the situation of wealth for some and poverty for the rest. These mechanisms, which are maneuvered directly or indirectly by the more developed countries, favor the interests of the people manipulating them, but in the end they suffocate or condition the economies of the less developed countries”.

The Pope identifies some of these mechanisms: “The international trade system which is mortgaged to protectionism and increasing bilateralism”; “the world monetary and financial system, today recognized as inadequate”; “technological exchanges and their proper use”; “the structure of existing Internal Organizational. Organization need Genuine Human Development in Catholic Social Teachings review in the framework of an international juridical order.” He says however, that to overcome and replace these mechanisms with new ones which will be more just and for the common good, “an effective political will is needed. Unfortunately after analyzing the situation we have to conclude that this political will has been insufficient”(n.43)


“Church Reform”: From BEC as a Unit for Church Administration to a Neighbour-involved Basic Human Community (BHC)

“Church Reform”: From BEC as a Unit for Church Administration to a Neighbour-involved Basic Human Community (BHC)

By John Mansford Prior

The Dream:
Basic Ecclesial Communities/Small Christian Communities are a way of releasing faith to inspire the whole of life, no longer a faith enclosed in ritual, but the light that enlightens our daily path. Faith can be lived in its entirety when the joys and the pain of society are the joys and the pain of the BECs/SCCs. If that be the case, then we can describe a neighborhood involved basic community as: An ever-developing community, which is ever on the road growing more faithful. It is not static, and its arrangements and organization are never final.

Nevertheless, while its takes on a whole variety of forms, for Christians the biblical images that underline it remain constant. The BEC/SCC consists of persons who are united in Christ and let themselves be guided by the Spirit in the
journey towards the Reign of the Abba. (see, Gaudium et spes, 1)

To achieve this ongoing aim, to take on the joys
and the pain of society as our very own, in the famous words of Bishop Francis to “smell like the sheep” (and not just the few perfumed sheep!), at the very least we need to see the needs of our BEC/SCC members, and those of the surrounding
society; judge and evaluate how we have reached this point and how come these are our concerns (and not others); act to take up a stance and do something locally and quite possibly more widely through social networking. We can therefore understand the “ideal” BEC/SCC as 1) at the base of the local Church, 2) at the base of society, 3) at the base of our apostolic outreach and activism, and 4) at the base of the empowerment of its members and members of the surrounding
society.

The Reality: The BEC/SCC as an Administrative Unit of a Parish

The “dream” outlined briefly above presupposes a prophetic vision, areas of professionalism, and deep personal motivation. The vision comes from the Scriptures which inspires and motivates daily life. The professionalism comes from learning specific skills either through experience or through training programmes. This is often motivated by local, felt-needs – such as the need to accompany children to school or to right a specific injustice. Prayer and Bible sharing/study integrate when there are at least some key members who are active Christians and are willingly and have the time to practise the necessary skills.

The problem is, many BECs/SCCs, so called, have not risen from the grassroots due to felt-needs but have been formed from above as part of parish or diocesan policy. Virtually all Asian Conferences of Bishops, as also the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), have officially prioritised the
formation of BECs/SCCs.

Further, most parishes remain structured as a stable (rural) organisation although its members have long lived a much more complex (majority urban) and fluid life. At the top is the priest and “his” Pastoral Council who oversees the geographical area of “his” parish which, for practical reasons, is divided into small units. These small units, although called BECs or SCCs, in practice are administrative units for disseminating parochial news, gathering money, and assist in arranging the liturgy and the sacramental life of the parish.

Some of the elements of the “dream” may well also be present, but fundamentally, we are talking about a sub-unit of the parochial organisation. Not much to inspire, and certainly not the “participatory Church” envisioned by the FABC. In practice, the clerical, static organisational structure of the traditional Catholic parish absorbs the BEC/SCC.

The NGO as our Social Network of Choice
The contrast here is with our involvement in social activism. Here the prophetic vision and personal motivation (always) come first; we are not informed that we are a member of a group, we make that personal choice ourselves. Thus, we have the motivation to learn the necessary skills and willingly join – or form – a network to carry the vision forward. And we are totally engaged. The contrast with the traditional top-down parish could not be more stark. However, as committed Christians we are also active to some extent in our parish community, at least liturgically at weekends, and quite possibly more so. The question arises: How should our experience of social activism in inter-faith networks interact with our local
parochial BEC/SCC? More fundamentally, should we attempt (should we bother) to bring these two diverse experiences together?

Ideally the prophetic vision of the Bible would inspire not just our social activism but also our presence within the local Christian community (parish/diocese). The problem is, these are two different types of organisation (the one top-down, static and institutional, the other a dynamic network with local, regional and international social engagement). They also have diverse membership (in the one all are baptised into a specific Christian community, in the other we find adherents from two or more faith communities). Allow me to make the following suggestions.

Two Key Principles
1] The principle that “the Church is for mission not mission for Church” must be upheld. The centre of the parish is the household and its social networks and outreach. Our key Christian witness is not expressed in internal engagement within the parish, but rather with our social witness outside. As Bishop Francis of Rome emphasises time and time again, this priority must remain clear. Rather than a clean, neat, tidy Church suffocating in the sacristy, Bishop Francis calls for a Church out in the streets and by-ways of society, where it will surely get dirty and “smell like the sheep”.
2] Authentic, integral and prophetic faith drives our wish to transform our local BEC/SCC from being a sub-unit within a traditional top-down parish into becoming a vibrant faith-inspired, mission-motivated community. By bringing the BEC/SCC and our NGO experience together we can live more authentic lives.

Widening the Horizon
3] Based on these two principles (the Church-inmission and thus for mission, and the desire to live an authentic, prophetic, integral life of faith), I do not think that we should spend too much time or energy “battling” with a conservative, ritualcentred priest and “his” parish council to the detriment of our faith-inspired, social activism
with like-minded and prophetic colleagues of other faith communities. By all means let us make our voice heard at
BEC/SCC and parish levels, but let our energy be focused on social engagement. That is what Church community is all about: mission in society.
4] When we participate in our local BEC/SCC, possibly not every week but probably at key moments in the Church’s life such as during Advent and Lent or during the Bible month, then we can allow our experience of social activism inform and shape our Bible sharing and indeed the general conversation. Our social concerns, our experience and our learned skills can assist the BEC/SCC to “think outside the parochial box”, and possibly take up a key social issue.
5] If our local BEC/SCC is focused on internal parish issues (administration and liturgy), then our engagement with the wider society can be utilised to open up our fellow Christians to key social issues which as a matter of fact are impinging on our common life, such as migration that splits families, the rapid though quiet spread of HIV, opencast mining. Our function, then, is to open eyes to the wider social horizon of faith.
6] When occasion arises and it is seen as nonthreatening, we can introduce Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim friends and colleagues to the BEC/SCC, such as when their specific experience or skills would contribute to a social issue that is to be taken up by the BEC/SCC. Also, when an inter-faith “incident” arises, and their presence would help to dissipate harmful prejudice.

Faith Inspiring Social Activism
7] The prophetic “dream” of the BEC/SCC can also inspire our involvement in our social network. As committed Christians we learn to read the Bible with social eyes, picking out the social background and assumptions of each biblical character. We also learn to read the Bible with “the eyes of the other” – with the eyes of the poor, the discarded, the stigmatised. We also listen to our Buddhist/Hindu/Muslim colleagues as they talk of their faith commitment, and perhaps engage in
inter-scriptural sharing.

What of the Parish?
The above suggestions are all for grassroots transformation. If (by a miracle!) the local priest is like-minded and socially-engaged, and sees the parish as a community-in-mission and not as a religious/ritual-organisation over against society, then the “dream” of the BEC/SCC and our NGO activist experience may also assist in a wider transformation of the local Catholic community at parish and diocesan levels.

In this case the rather static, top-down traditional parish organisation divided into many small administrative sub-units would be transformed into a loose network of a whole kaleidoscope of possible small communities: some of the baptised only, others inter-faith, all in some crucial way involved in mission in society. Here the Pastoral Council with its various committees would not “control” let along “instruct” the “sub-units”, but would rather facilitate open and sincere communication between the more devotional and sacramental minded communites and the more socially-engaged, between those focused on “charity” and those more focused on “justice”, between the poor and the rich, between the young and the old, between the physically and socially disabled and the “healthy”. And so forth.

The parish would not be at the centre, but would facilitate open communication between all the various social networks and commitments in which we are involved: the household, the family, the neighbourhood, work colleagues, giving support through prophetic inspiration, through liturgical celebration of life, through engaging in what it is to be truly human. The parish as a network of a whole variety of communities would be as open to inter-faith communities as it is to
communities of the baptised only. Boundaries would not blur, but they would be open to mutual enrichment, mutual conversion, mutual advance towards what the Gospel calls the Reign of God.



Asian Christian perspectives on Harmony

Asian Christian perspectives on Harmony

by FABC, FOR ALL People of ASIA Vol.2

An Active Commitment to Harmony

Every Christian has a mission to help restore harmony in this world of tension and conflict. We have not only been given peace. We are called to be peacemakers. Having experienced what it means to be a new creation, what it is to enter into harmonious relationship within ourselves, with God, with our fellow human beings and with the rest of creation, we are empowered to proclaim and share the harmony we have experienced. We can fulfil this as individuals, as a Church-community and in collaboration with others.

A Call for Self-Examination

There is an urgent need for the Churches in Asia to make self-examination of their world-view, their faith-vision, their inner life, their attitudes, their relationships, their structures and programs of pastoral action. The Second Vatican Council sets us an example in this direction. The council was primarily a selfexamination by the Church of its mystery in relation to God and his world. It gave a radical description of the Church as a sacrament of intimate union with God and of the unity of the humankind; it is a sign and instrument of such union and unity (LG, no. l). The Church must first embody and realize itself this union and unity of which it is a sign. Then it must radiate this harmony in its relationship with the world.

The Need for a New Self-Understanding of the Church

Institutionalization has made the Churches in Asia insular and self-serving structures, rendering it almost impossible for them to enter into the mainstream of history, culture and the national life of the people. The Church has to go through a fresh process of understanding itself and reidentifying it self in relation to the concrete communities – ethnic, religious – whose life and struggle we share.

Focus on the Formation of Christian Community

The Christian community has to appreciate this new vision of harmony and manifest it in the way it lives its daily life. The mission of the community is in a way a communication of its own inner life of harmony. A community that is beset with continual tensions and conflicts cannot fulfil its mission of bringing harmony to the world.

Formation for a life of harmony in the Christian com munity can take different forms, depending on the circumstances. One of the most effective ways is perhaps to make the parish a communion of communities wherein the faith vision can be meaningfully lived and translated into action. In the small communities within the parish, prayerful reflection over the word of God, against the background of multireligious, multi-ethnic community we share with others, will make the members more sensitive to the problems of social injustice, discrimination, conflicts, etc. The members will thus be enabled to forge ties with other groups of other religious traditions, and collaborate with them matters of justice and peace.

A Prophet Leadership of the Community

Every disciple of Jesus and the whole Christian community has also to play a prophetic role, i.e., a liberative leadership in the spirit of the Gospel and the praxis of Jesus. Different groups, such as men, women, youth, etc., need to be formed in this kind of leadership; and it has to be an ongoing process in the parish community through prayer sessions, discussions, seminars, etc. The liturgical life of the parish can be an effective instrument to instil in the people the vision of harmony and develop in them leadership with a true ecumenical spirit.

Prophetic Leaders

We must develop prophetic leaders among both the clergy and laity who can spread this broader vision. Such training in leadership must become part of the seminary training of priests. The formation of lay leaders in this vision of harmony should take place in different levels in the Church. A systematic training with regular courses, seminars, etc., is an urgent need. The model and inspiration for Chris tian leadership is Jesus himself in praxis; it was a liberating leadership in the sense that it was contextual, prophetic, ready to face conflicts in solidarity with the oppressed.

Teams of resource persons, or task forces, need to be developed to effectively conduct the training programs, be they in the diocese or the region or the country.

Formation in the Family

The disharmony in our society often has its roots in the disharmony in the home. When there is harmony in every home, the nation will be peaceful. In a family centered on God suffused with love, the primacy of relationships over things, as well as the correct relationship with things will be fostered. The family should be the first school of a dialogic way of life. Respect for the faith of our brethren of other religious traditions, and concern for issues of social justice, need to be initiated in the family. Religious and social contacts, participation and involvement of brotherhood need to be encouraged.

Training for Conflict

Dealing effectively with conflictual situations is a social skill which must be learned. If we as Christians and promoters of harmony want to be effective in our work, we must acquire the skills needed for this delicate task. Training programs for leaders, clergy and laity, must be devised by the experts in the field and made use of by all who wish to engage in the task.

A Discourse on Laity and Participatory Church

A Discourse on Laity and Participatory Church

by Hamid Henry

The Church Teachings on the Laity

Paul Lakeland in his The lay theologian in the Church observes that since the end of the Vatican Council there have been many changes in the church, whether in the spirit of the Council or in reaction to it. He adds: ‘since Vatican II , the laity have been understood to be as integral to the Church as the clergy. Anticipated in Pius XII’s remark that ‘the lay faithful… ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging to the Church but of being the Church, Lumen Gentium went to considerable lengths to rehabilitate the laity as full members of the Church, sharing a true equality with regard to the dignity and to the activity common to all the faithful for the building up of the Body of Christ. (LG 32)

The active role of the laity in the mission of the Church is the subject of the Council’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem. The genuine apostolate they exercise is one of bringing the gospel and holiness to men… penetrating and perfecting the temporal sphere of things through the spirit of the gospel (AA2). In this apostolate the Holy Spirit distributes charismata to the laity, from which arise for each believer the right and duty to use them in the Church and in the world for the good of mankind and for the up building of the Church’ (AA 3). To focus our overriding concern in the language of Vatican, we might ask whether theological learning is an appropriate charisma of the lay apostolate. Indeed, the question of whether theology is an ecclesial charisma or an official function in the church is itself highly germane. The identification of the lay apostolate with ‘witness in the world’ has usually gone along with a commitment to what Gustavo Gutierrez calls the ‘separation of planes ‘, that is, he relegation of the laity to teaching by example what they have learned from the clergy. Too frequently this simply mirrors and disguises clericalism.

There are, for example, one or two passages in recent documents where it seems that the Church might recognize a lay role even in theology. Discussing the lay apostolate, Lumen Gentium adds that ‘the laity can also be called in various ways to a more direct form of cooperation in the apostolate of the hierarchy’, and even that lay people ‘have the capacity to be deputed by the hierarchy to exercise certain church functions for spiritual purpose’ (LG 33).

Apostolicam Actuositatem sees the laity in the parish ‘bringing to the Church community their own and the world’s problems as well as questions concerning human salvation, all of which should be examined and resolved by common deliberation’ (AA 10). It is difficult to imagine this being done effectively without some theological reflection, it should be reassuring that the bishops go on in the same document to call for theological training where appropriate. Those laypeople whose apostolate ‘is one of making the gospel known and men holy’ must ‘learn doctrine more carefully’ (AA 30). And to that end there should be more ‘centers of documentation and study… for the better development of natural capacities of laymen and laywomen’.

The Participatory Church

What exactly is meant when a term such as ‘participatory church’ is used? We need to be clear that organizationally speaking, this is in fact, something new. It is much more than simply doing what we are already doing now; but doing it more effectively. New hockey sticks will not make for a better football team! Moreover, it is not just one more new project like a school or a dispensary, where one searches for the funding, completes the job and then carries on as before. Building participatory church is a process: it is the very process of creating participative structures that brings about a participatory church. Because of deeply embedded non participatory habits, fostered by both cultural and ecclesial practice, it is not something that will come about quickly or easily.

Inevitably, it is a project that will meet with resistance and rationalization. This will be especially the case among those who mistakenly fear that they have much to lose by facilitating more participative structures. There will be a tendency to borrow the terminology but not change the reality. Some may well wish to make of it a participatory church in the sense of many of the lay faithful busily involved in carrying out what the priest tells them to do. For others, what seems to be on offer is a kind of participatory church ‘by decree.’ A meeting decides it is a desirable goal and this goal is decreed and a participative church is then deemed to have come into existence, though in reality, nothing has changed. Yet again, for others it means developing the life of the church even more around festivals, prayer conventions, visits of holy shrines, as if a participatory church were to be equated with fanfare. Sometimes it seems as if it is a kind of subterfuge: we repaint the shop front, re work the advertising, invest a new logo but continue to trade in exactly the same product and with the same management structure.

By contrast, a truly participatory church is a spelling out of the theological truth-reemphasized in Lumen Gentium, that the mystical reality of church is made visibly firstly in the People of God. It seems to tease out the full implications of the vocation to communion, drawing deeply on the Pauline theology of the variety of the gifts and the unity of the body.
To this way of thinking, Christ calls each of the baptized to be a friend and not just a servant and, as a friend, brings them into his confidence and shares his project and the means of its accomplishment. It is a theology that sees the full active and conscious participation in the sacred liturgy called for in Sacrosanctum Concilium, as something pertaining not only to the laity’s participation in the priestly office of Christ, but also in his office of prophet and king and thus calling for free, active and conscious participation in the process of evangelizing cultures, and the decision-making processes at the service of this evangelization. In short, its point of departure is the re-discovery of the baptismal vocation as the foundation for active and responsible participation in the life and organization of the church.

Conclusion

The different ministries which are being practiced in the Church must be community centered. They must be used for the betterment of the people without discrimination. Through them, the Church should move along with the people especially with the poor. Through them she is called to live in communion as human family in order to help strengthen and support each other. Unless the Church inserts herself in the day to day existing realities, it cannot claim to be a “participatory church.” Therefore in order to be the true Church of the poor, she must stand with the poor, downtrodden, oppressed and homeless. She has to play a prophetic role in the Asian context.

Overview of Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers)

Overview of Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers)

By Dr. Paul Hwang Director of ALL Forum

On 4th October 2020, Pope Francis signed the third encyclical letter, Fratelli Tutti, at the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi. This document was prepared before the Covid-19, but was announced when all mankind around the world suffered from the pandemic and were skeptical about human dignity and loosing hope.

Composed of eight chapters and a total of 287 articles, the encyclical earnestly appeals that all mankind should restore brotherhood and social fraternity because humans cannot be saved alone. The miserable reality of violating human dignity, damage of neo-liberalism, structural poverty and the difficulties of refugees and migrants, is prevalent in the world. The cries of those in pain are increasing. Pope Francis reminds us that we should live as brothers and sisters pursuing a culture of world peace and dialogue and sharing friendship with each other through this social document.

Dark clouds (chapter 1) are spreading everywhere in the closed world, and injured people are driven out and abandoned on the side of the road. The shadow causes humanity to fall into chaos, isolation, and devastation. Like the story of a good Samaritan, when we encounter a stranger on the road (Chapter 2), we can pass by or stop to help him. What kind of people we are and what kind of political, social, and religious groups we follow are defined as whether we include or exclude injured travelers.

God’s love is universal. As long as we are part of that love and participate in it, we are called to universal brotherhood and to be open to all. We want an open world (Chapter 3) in God and with God. In order to achieve a world where there are no barriers, no borders, and people who are not rejected, one must have an open heart (Chapter 4). We must experience social friendship, pursue moral goodness, and practice social ethics. We are called to solidarity, encounter, and to give without expecting anything in return because we know that we are a part of all brothers and sisters in the universe.

In order to create an open world with an open mind, it is necessary to participate in politics, and it is essential to pursue a better kind of politics (Chapter 5). Politics is for common good and universal interest. Politics is ‘popular’ because it is with people and for people. The pursuit of human dignity is the politics of social charity. It is the politics of people who practice political love by integrating economic and sociocultural structures into consistent and life-giving human projects.

Knowing how to communicate is a way to open the world and build social fraternity (Chapter 6) by expressing an open heart and providing a better foundation for politics. Dialogue seeks and respects truth. It also creates a culture of encountering, becoming a way of life and passionate longing. The person who is in dialogue is generous, and acknowledges and respects the other person.

But just encountering is not enough. We have to face the reality of the hurt caused by the wrong meeting in the past, and we have to make a path of renewed encounter (Chapter 7). We must seek forgiveness and forgive, and heal wounds.

To forgive is to never forget. We must begin with the truth that acknowledges the historical truth, an inseparable companion to justice and mercy. All of this is essential to move towards peace. Conflicts are inevitable on the way to peace, but violence is not acceptable. Therefore, war is to be rejected and death penalty is a practice to be eliminated.

Many religions around the world recognize humans as creatures of God. As creatures, we are in a brotherly relationship. Religions have been called to be at the service of fraternity in the world (Chapter 8). We can build social friendship and brotherhood with dialogue and an open heart in the world. For Christians, the source of human dignity and brotherhood lies in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which inspires our actions and dedication. Mary, our mother, is with us in this path of brotherhood.

Pope Francis invites us to make the world’s longing for human fraternity our own, starting with the perception that we are all brothers and sisters, facing people injured in the dark clouds of a closed world.

Download full Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti here

Re-conceptualization of Christian Anthropology

Re-conceptualization of Christian Anthropology

by Felix Wilfred

A programme of ecological reform may not prove to be effective unless more basic things are set right. In the case of ecology, it is a question of right anthropology. In his widely discussed article, The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis, Lynn White laid squarely at the door of Judeo-Christian tradition the culpability for the present day ecological mess. For him, it is the anthropocentrism of this tradition that is to blame.

In his words, Especially in its Western form, Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen. As early as 2nd century both Tertullian and Saint Irenaeus of Lyons were insisting that when God shaped Adam he was foreshadowing the image of the incarnate Christ, the Second Adam. Man shares, in great measure God’s transcendence of nature. Christianity, in absolute contrast to ancient paganism and Asia’s religions (except, perhaps, Zoroastrianism) not only established a dualism of man and nature but also insisted that it is God’s will that man exploit nature for his proper ends1.

Let me not enter into the details of Lynn White’s thesis here. Even without his thesis, common sense tells us that with traditionally interpreted Christian anthropocentrism we may not be able to come to terms with the present ecological crisis. There is the need, so to say, for a “sanatio in radice “ – a healing in the root – of this anthropology. It is this pope Francis has tried to do in his Laudato Si. He has introduced a welcome corrective to a misguided Christian anthropology which saw the human beings as the crown of creation. It chimed with the anthropocentrism of Western philosophy,

Renaissance culture and the Enlightenment. From a philosophical point of view, as René Descartes expressed, human beings are “masters and possessors of nature”2. European Renaissance and Enlightenment were the secular versions of Christian anthropocentrism. They fed on mutually. I have been struck by the fact that in Renaissance art, nature figures little. Great Renaissance masters like Michael Angelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian and Caravaggio tried to study the human anatomy, emotions and behaviour very closely and created great works, but not the rhythm of nature and how it works. If at all, landscapes were used only as backgrounds to highlight the human figures. The male dominated art of the time paid scant attention to nature in itself. Like women, nature was viewed as a subjugated object (natura naturata) and not a creative force (natura naturans).

This Western Christian, Renaissance and Enlightenment tradition stands in contrast to the larger Asian vision and its understanding of the world of the humans as intertwined with nature. The life of the humans in Asian tradition is one with the elements of nature. Therefore, when Pope Francis attempts to correct a deeply embedded Western theological and anthropological tradition and speaks of integral anthropology, Asians can understand him immediately without difficulty. For, what he says, reverberates with the Asian experience; reflects the vision of Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist traditions; and the way Asian tribals and indigenous people see the reality as interconnected and bonded together. One of the thoughts running through Laudato si is the interconnection of the entire reality.

In the encyclical, there is an effort to move from a hierarchical ordering of creatures, to a more teleological understanding in which both human beings and other creatures journey together. We appreciate the novelty of this approach, if we set it against the Western understanding of “chain of beings” (scala naturae), of Aristotelian vintage. We could further differentiate it from the Neoplatonist frame of hierarchy of beings that moulded the Christian thought of the Middle Ages, including that of Thomas Aquinas.

According to this philosophy, the less perfect is contained eminently in the more perfect; the less perfect is in service of the more perfect. To put it more concretely in terms of our present day experience, the local superior of a religious house is eminently contained in the provincial; and the provincial is eminently included in the general! So, also the vegetable life is contained in the animal life, and the animal life in the human. Hence, all of nature in a less perfect state is in service of human beings, the crown of creation. This understanding of nature through the hierarchical lens fails to capture the value of each reality in its uniqueness; nor is it able to appreciate the richness of plurality and diversity.

Pope Francis seems to challenge this kind of philosophy and theology and draws our attention to the truth that the value of anything in nature is not to be judged in hierarchical fashion of high and low (secundum sub et supra) , but rather from a mystical perspective of unity of all in God. In his words, “The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God.” (LS 83). These words of Pope Francis evoke the symbol of pilgrimage, so dear to Asians. The thought of Francis cannot but strike the Asian readers who are accustomed to see and deal with nature not from a hierarchical perspective but from a mystical perspective of unity of all reality. The sense of bondedness and cosmic solidarity with nature brings forth the spirit of non-violence (ahiṃsā) and compassion (karuṇā).

Ref:

  1. Lynn White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”, in Science, (March 10, 1967):189.
  2. René Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, translated by Elizabeth S. Haldane (Stilwell: Digireads.com Publishing, 2005):28.

Beyond the Reasonable Announcement of the Good News

Beyond the Reasonable Announcement of the Good News—is Fraternity in Solidarity Represented by our Closeness to the Poor

by Rafael Velasco, S.J.

It was this way at the beginning, as many saints, theologians, and martyrs have reminded us. One of the consequences of our faith in the Incarnation is the place from which theology is made. If God incarnated, nothing human is alien to him. And if God incarnated among the poor, living in the margins, the action of the church and its theology cannot be neutral. We cannot be neutral before injustice. If God was made flesh in the margins of history, we must read history from that place. God does not see history from above, but from the margins, from those who suffer exclusion, those who are often absent in the official liturgy, those who feel they are sinners and needy, those who have no access to central power. From that place the gospel is read differently.

The theological question: “Who is God?” is inseparable from the ethical question: “What to do?” (“What have you done with your brother?”) If the first question takes us to the God announced by Jesus of Nazareth, Father of all, the God of Life who establishes in Jesus a Kingdom of Justice in which the poor come first, the answer to “What to do?” also has consequences. A theology that tries to assume as central the category of fraternity must have at its center the poorer and more vulnerable brothers and sisters. From our faith in the Incarnation it is impossible to think theology decontextualized; we must think and do it historically rooted in reality. And reality in Latin America is still strongly marked by exclusion and poverty. To make theology from this reality implies adopting a perspective from the poor: from the poor person’s life while committed and in dialogue with other types of knowledge.

In Latin America—our context—life is menaced by exclusion, violence, and poverty. This means lack of access to health services, decent housing, justice, drinkable water, and human rights. Theology in Latin America would then imply to think life from the reality that the poor suffer. It will mean to make theology from the reverse of history written by victors, but from the defeated ones, from those who cannot get quality education, those who see their green spaces transformed into a dump. Why is this so? Because they are poor and they only count at election times.

We must reflect from those who are not the main characters and so are not present in headlines. It will also mean to make theology from the outskirts of society: where the victims live, those whose faces show the “suffering features of Christ, the Lord” as the Puebla Document states.1

It then means to make theology from the suffering majority since most of the population in Latin America is poor and suffers. The love of God here and now should be called liberation, commitment to the transformation of reality. The Kingdom of God, which is grace, historically begins when we share our bread. This theology of sharing, of incarnated fraternity, should have a prophetic character. It needs to call it somehow, because it should disturb, ask uncomfortable questions, and look for the necessary answers and commit to them. A theology that goes beyond dogmatic and notional elaborations, that goes beyond the question of “How can we be good in society?” to wonder about “How can we be good at making this society good?”

A theology that helps us live more humanly in this world, that encourages us to make the world more human, that aspires to something more than good behaviour, must in some way be spiritual wisdom rationally articulated. Wisdom that helps us live with taste and sense. Wisdom related to our own daily life. Such a theology emerges from the New Commandment the Lord left us. It is about that commandment lived in fraternity that Chiara Lubich beautifully says: “When it is radically lived, it generates unity and brings with itself an extraordinary consequence: Jesus, the Resurrected one, is present among us.”2

Ref:
Claritas: Journal of Dialogue and Culture, Vol. 2, No. 2 (October 2013) 77–81 © 2013 The Church, Dialogue, and Fraternity Doing Theology from the Place of the Poor

  1. Puebla Document, August 6, 1979, no. 31.
  2. ZENIT Interview with Chiara Lubich.

Religious Teachings on Ecological and Human Sustainability

Religious Teachings on Ecological and Human Sustainability
(Indigenous Religion)

Norma M. Gonos
2018 Asian Youth Academy/Asian Theology Forum
Mary Ridge Retreat House. August 4, 2018

Introduction

Ing kabisibus aw kadayudu ng al-law!
A Blissful and peaceful day!

I come from one of the most colonized indigenous communities in the Philippines, where foreign religion, is a major imprint left by the colonizers. They arrived at the time the faith and spirituality of our ancestors, was strongly and deeply rooted in our connection to land, nature and environment. But their influences, the presence of the dominant and oppressive cultures subverted indigenous knowledge and caused intense cultural disintegration and desolation of indigenous communities.

Their large economic “wants” had wantonly disturbed the forests and its ecology, that some of us cannot anymore tell the cosmic relationship of our economic needs, from our traditional lifeways. All these had also resulted to remarkable loss of our religious leaders, the Balyans, whose task is to transmit and nurture this traditional environmental knowledge, and the rituals accompanying the said knowledge. This is not to mention the continuing loss and diminishing ecological diversity, that has deeply affected our interconnectedness with the environment and Magbabaya, the God of the universe, and the giver of life. But to this day, despite the fact, that some had embraced the religion of the colonizers, the indigenous peoples have remained rooted to our beliefs systems.

Affirming our indigenous faith and Ecology

We continue to strongly affirm, that not all our traditional or indigenous knowledge, have gone with the continuing disregard of our forests and ecology, or that, our environmentalism and ecological homelands are extinguished or vanished. That even with our wounded environment, our communities remained connected with our beliefs, our indigenous faith. These are as varied as the number of ethno-linguistic groups, yet, we have one accord that bound us all together and that is–we all are stewards of God’s creations, whatever name we call our God, in our case, the Magababaya. These beliefs are entwined with our relationship with environment and ecology.

So that, we care for it so much as part of our life. For how could we not? It sustains life of the entire race to thrive, and live on to this day, albeit the failure of the forerunners of development aggressions, to recognize, or that they continue to humiliate, the sustainable interactions of indigenous people and the forests, the land, the ecology and the environment. Yes, we may survive outside the environment, but part of our life will be meaningless and empty. Our cultural integrity will no longer be intact and whole, it will be disconcerted, will be disconnected, and life will fall apart. So our beliefs systems and interconnectedness with the environment and its ecology, is not simply for conservationist’s point of view, but rather, it is our traditional and indigenous lifeways, because these are essential to our cultural integrity, and it makes us whole and intact as community.

Teachings of our Faith and spirituality As a respectful race, we ask permission even of unseen creatures. We recognize two good spirits—Mansilatan and Badla (father and son), and two bad spirits Pundaognon and Malimbong (man and wife); and the bad and evil one below the earth is tal’lagbusaw. So we are taught not to destroy their dwelling in the forests, in the rivers, in the sacred and ritual grounds, and below the earth just beyond the depth of a graveyard. So that bad spirits will not disturb us. For them to shun away from us, we should respect these dwellings and economic activities must not disturb them. We always ask permission from the spirits based on “needs” or when we use the grounds we believe they live. Anything that is beyond the depth of the graveyard belongs to tal’lagbusaw, who will castigate the transgressors.

We are taught that humans do not transgress the grounds below the depth of the graveyard, and respect where spirits on earth dwell, so we do not suffer castigation. That even gold is watched by the spirits in the core of the earth.
We ask gamawgamaw, the spirit who watches the river when we do fishing, so we get only what we need, to allow the water bounties to flourish. We ask puwanak, for good hunt but hunters must share with the community and other families in a form of andog, that is a way of conserving the bounties of the forest. We ask dagaw, the spirit that dwells and watches the farm, and offer tamo to the kuwaaw, the bird spirit, not to send famine and food scarcity. We call on the goddess of art, the tagamaling, to give the weaver the intelligence to reflect the designs in their luwang–a dagmay design serving as insignia of the clan.

The role that my faith play in the sustainability of life

We believe we do not own the land because it outlives us. We care for the forests, nature and environment because we nurture being stewards of these God’s beautiful creations. And as such, we only get what we need to survive. Anything taken out of need leads lead us to gaba (bad karma). Caring for the earth and the environment helps us maintain our cosmic relations, which is vital for cultural and economic activities.

Our ancestors taught us that good and bad spirits relate and respect human beings, based on how we relate with the land, the trees, the rivers and the forests. And respect means proper use and conservation—that way we would able to sustain them for the present and future generations. Our race will thus vanish if we do not care for them or properly use what the earth could offer. It is thus, our responsibility to take care of them, to conserve them, as the only way to sustain each other, so that the race shall continue to thrive and flourish.

Nurturing the teachings of my faith

We have highest regard for the teachings of our kaompowan (ancestors). We nurture the teachings of the balyan and kal’lal’laysan (religious or spiritual leaders). We heed the signs of spirits and deities, and we look up to one Supreme Being, our Magbabaya. Whatever our kaompowan told us remains in our hearts and are followed, even if some of us have embraced Christian faith. Our Balyans may have slowly diminished in number, but we remain with our inevitably special connection with the environment.

We continue to heed and be mindful of the teachings that we must replace what we get from the earth. Replacement is best expressed by allowing the earth to rest and regenerate, by having cycles of crops and farm areas. Our interconnectedness with all forms of life in the forest, the land, the rivers, the entire environment, the cosmic energy, the ecology– all these emanate from our faith and spirituality. This sustains our role and responsibility to preserve, develop, conserve and protect the land, nature, and environment.

We believe what befalls the earth, befalls the race. The earth and everything in it also defines man’s relationship with Magbabaya, the giver of life, the Almighty (Yagbaya), the One who rainbows the sky (yagbal’langaw sang pagawanan), the One that look upon us from heaven (yanguob sang tiwayan). We believe that Magababaya watches over the pagawanan (heaven), the mandal’luman the earth, and those below it, the sal-ladan. No one escapes from Magbabaya.

Dagdagu na pasalamat!

The Cry of Jesus Abandoned on the Cross

The Cry of Jesus Abandoned on the Cross (Mt. 27:46):
Toward a Theology of Mission
on the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor

By Andrew G.Recepcion

Introduction

After the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, many commentators have discussed quite extensively the vision of an integral ecology. In fact, going through articles and write-ups, one can have the impression that nothing more could be discussed or written about integral ecology for much of the themes have been extensively treated in many publications.

The issue on the environment particularly on caring for the earth and its consequences to humanity today and to the future human generations has been sustaining opposing poles of arguments and discourses in the on-going ecological debate. On many occasions, the ecological debate all over the world are fought on ideological platforms and action plans that have nothing to do with faith in Jesus Christ. The transforming power of Jesus Christ through the Gospel has never been adequately given space to influence not only ecological awareness but also ecological conscience thus bring about a genuine ecological revolution from within and not simply from a superficial “fashionable” advocacies. The crux of the matter is a Christian’s ecological conversion as a fundamental orientation of Christian identity and mission in the context of the earth’s and the poor’s cry for eco-justice.

We can explore profoundly in this presentation the significance of the paschal mystery especially in the setting of the passion narrative, the missiological interpretation of the relationship between the cry of Jesus on the cross and the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. Allow me just to point out in broad strokes the key elements of mission and the ecological implications of the cry.

The Cry of Jesus Abandoned in the Cross: A Christological Foundation of Mission for Integral Ecology

For many Christians, Jesus Christ suffered most at the garden of Gethsemane. Others locate the suffering of Jesus from the horizon of the total paschal mystery thus a particular attention is given to the question: “When did Jesus suffer most?”

It is from the perspective of the total paschal mystery of Christ that we can affirm that Jesus suffered most not only when he was crucified on the cross but at that very moment when he cried: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Mt. 27:46/Psalm 22)4 The cry of abandonment was the moment of Christ’s deepest suffering when he felt in his human nature the separation of sinful humanity and of creation from God. It was not, however, a cry of anger, hopelessness, discouragement and despair but instead it was a cry of immense hope in and surrender to God’s love. It was in that cry of Jesus that he became the “bridge” between God and humanity, between God and all of creation, between humanity and all of creation thus restoring creation and humanity to their original Trinitarian design, and in the language of the youth today, one may well speak of “restoring to original settings”, to “default settings” that only Jesus Christ, our savior, could carry out on the cross through his paschal mystery.

Some commentators on the cry of Jesus, that is, on his abandonment on the cross, indicate the profound and intimate relationship between Jesus Christ and his Father, his Abba, as the very essence and foundation of Jesus Christ’s work of salvation–the wellspring of his mission.

When Jesus experienced in his humanity the separation between God and human beings and creation, it was a tremendous, unfathomable, and unexplainable mystery that can only be understood in the language of Trinitarian love. In other words, the cry of Jesus on the cross reveals to all human beings and the community of creation that the fundamental DNA of all creation and of humanity is harmony of relationships rooted in unity between God and humanity, between God, humanity, and creation. The break down of relationship and the absence of unity due to selfishness continues, from the optic of faith, the cry of Jesus on the cross that calls for an existential response, not by occasional individual action of solidarity with the poor and a superficial initiative to attenuate the destruction of the earth but by a collective chorus of unity in the diversity of creation.

Christian mission is not about going out to solve all the separation, problems and brokenness that we, Christians, find in the world. From the standpoint of Jesus’ abandonment of the cross, however, mission is being a bridge of love, unity and harmonious relationship in our world. Crucial to mission today in the context of ecological destruction is to recognize in any form of the exploitation of the poor and of the earth’s creatures the face of Jesus crucified and abandoned calling out for liberation, justice and wholeness.

The response of Christian mission to the cry of Jesus in the cry of the poor and in the cry of the earth’s creatures echoes Samuel’s attentive, vigilant and audacious answer (1 Sam 3:4): “Here, we are” ready to embrace you, Jesus crucified and abandoned in all situations of the poor and of earth’s creatures that echo your cry on the cross.

The Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor: The Ecological Context of the Cry of Jesus Today

Pope Francis has affirmed in Laudato Si’ that the ecological crisis we are facing in the world today does not consist of two crises but only of a single crisis that affects both the earth and the poor. In fact, we find in Laudato Si’ a clear description of the roots of this crisis: “the analysis of environmental problems cannot be separated from the analysis of human, family, work-related and urban contexts, and of how individuals relate to themselves” (141). “We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental” (139). Furthermore, Pope Francis’ vision of integral ecology points out more than before that we need to affirm our interdependence and interconnectedness with the community of creation “which respects our unique place as human beings in this world and our relationship to our surroundings” (15). In fact, “nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live” (139).

The cry of the poor and the cry of the earth constitute a single yet complex ecological crisis because we live in one common home. Mission considers integral ecology as a context for understanding the different pathways of mission today. Ecological crisis is mission in crisis. In what way do the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth’s creatures impact on the meaning and practice of mission? Allow me to highlight a few shifts in missiological thinking.

  1. In the past mission was associated with colonization of territories, exploitation of peoples and resources, and subjugation of the “godless or damned” in the name of Christ. Today, mission speaks of a radical Gospel-based transformation, stewardship, and full realization of human dignity. Today it is more adequate to speak of mission in the language of being as subjects and not as objects of missionary activities. When Jesus Christ made his cry on the cross, he showed us that mission is about the primacy of being before doing; the primacy of fidelity to God’s will before success; and the power of selfless love before the power of domination, human force, and strategy.
  2. In the past the images of the tower, wall and fence as architectural metaphors do indicate a defensive stance that is always alert to any possible invasion with a constant sense of alarm and danger. Our contemporary global world more than a determined geographical territory with fixed boundaries is about human space which entails “an open structure, an agora, a park or piazza, and in economic sense a marketplace.”5 Mission today means “creating new structures that facilitate global interaction, opening doors”,6 reaching out to the peripheries, especially the least, the last and the lost7 , investing in community and not in buildings, and in facilitating life-nourishing relationships8 among creatures that is rooted in the Gospel’s way of life.
  3. In the past mission has been identified with the boundaries of nation-states and mission territories where missionaries have been sent to carry out specific mission works according to different circumstances or situations. The permanent validity of territorial boundaries remains. But it is necessary to indicate that the global world has a new map where boundaries are re-interpreted as human frontiers that need the saving mission of Christ. Mission today encompasses all of humanity and creation that resemble the face of Jesus Christ crucified and abandoned. Mission can either be understood as ad altera9 or inter gentes10 for mission takes seriously not only peoples in distant lands of Asia and Africa but also people who live in the jungles of skyscrapers in urban metropolises that are multi-cultural, multi-polar, pragmatic, materialistic, and even atheistic. Mission is ad altera because it considers the rest of creation as partners in the search for the fullness of life in Jesus Christ (cf. John 10:10) who continues to cry in the groaning of creation, in the midst of the destruction of the earth as our common home and the lamentation of the poor. Mission today enters different human frontiers of the global world as the new Areopagus of mission.

Toward a Theology of Mission in the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor and
its Implications to Integral Ecology

The cry of the earth’s creatures and the cry of the poor are two foundational elements of Christ’s missionary mandate. In other words, a theology of mission today cannot simply be reduced to the nuances of ad gentes which continues to be necessary in other contexts. The mission of the Trinity is at the heart of our missioning. In the light of the Trinitarian relationship as the setting of the cry of abandonment of Jesus on the cross, in the drama of the paschal mystery, we can highlight in a rather cursory way the elements of a theology of mission in the context of the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor and we shall attempt to propose some implications to integral ecology with a special focus on the ecology of daily life, that is, on a missionary spirituality as “attentive listening” to the many voices of the cry of the earth’s creatures and of the poor.

Mission is seeing the new creation and redeemed humanity in harmony through the eyes of Jesus crucified and abandoned.

When Jesus cried out on the cross, it was a movement from lamentation to praise. In other words, Jesus Christ’s cry was an affirmation that reality is upside down when seen from the pupil of the eyes of Jesus crying on the cross. What seemed from the outside as complaint and utter desolation, turned out to be a powerful Word of new creation renewing all creatures and humanity from within. Jesus crucified and abandoned is the creative Word per excellence of the new creation. Thus, when seen from the cry of Jesus on the cross, mission is bringing about a new creation, a new humanity in the image of the Trinity.

Mission is going beyond the wound of disharmony, disease, destruction, and division through the absolute and total surrender of Jesus crucified and abandoned.

The struggle for human domination and control of the earth and the poor has created many wounds that continue to reflect the cry of Jesus for reconciliation, harmony and unity. Only when humans learn to see creation not as a resource to be used and abused but as a gift that eco-justice and harmony can be realized; only when the poor do not become faceless numbers that a life-nourishing relationship of solidarity can begin. When the earth is abused and exploited, the poor become even poorer. When the poor are exploited to serve the greed of a powerful few, the earth cries with the poor for it feels that everyone has the right to receive the gift of the earth. Thus, when seen from the cry of Jesus on the cross, mission heals the wounds of the earth and the poor; mission restores the balance of creation and humanity.

Mission is reaching out to the least, the last and the lost through selfless and humble service and through a witness of powerlessness.

The world’s poor have become more numerous and only a few control the wealth of the earth. The poor can be the least that barely have enough food to survive daily. The poor can be the last that have no voice to fight for their rights as human beings. The poor can be the last that can hardly improve their situation because of violence, persecution, gender and social marginalization and so on. Thus, when seen from the cry of Jesus on the cross mission is reaching out to those who are the human and existential margins of our communities. Mission is knowing the name of a poor person and making him or her feel that we belong to God’s family.

Conclusion

We may never totally respond always to the cry of Jesus crucified and abandoned in the ongoing cry of the earth and cry of the poor. What counts is to start with what we can do in the sphere of our influence and not to remain indifferent to the voices that challenge us to get out of our comfort zones in order to cry with Jesus on the cross. The cry of Jesus, however, is not sentimentalism but a powerful Word that renews and builds up, that reconciles and heals, that restores and uplifts, that transforms and nourishes, that empowers humanity and creation to walk together toward the fullness of life in Jesus Christ. The cry of Jesus crucified and abandoned gives us a new missionary spirituality in which

God sees the world through the
pupil of the wound of the abandonment,
which also unfold for us a totally
different vision of things. It is a vision that
goes to the root of the issues and
sheds light on how to read and deal with
challenges, creating a new style, a
new mentality, a new way of acting.
Because the Spirit of God was
poured out on humankind from the wound
of Jesus Forsaken, it is from him,
that an innovative intelligence can spring
forth, able to “flood” with light the
various fields of culture, from politics to
psychology, from philosophy to
sociology, and renew them from within.11


4 This verse from Matthew quotes Psalm 22
5 Ferrara, 6.
6 Ibid.
7 See Antonio Spadaro, “Svegliate il mondo!”, Colloqui di Papa Francesco con i Superiori Generali, in La Civilta’ Cattolica 165/1 (2014); 5-6.
8 Cf. Luigino Bruni, The Wound and the Blessing: Economy relationships and happiness (Manila: NEw City Press, 2013), 1-115. Also see Fabio Ciardi, OMI on “Reciprocity, The Hallmark of Christianity” in Charisms in Unity 23/1 (January-March 2015): 3-6.
9 Schreiter, 6.
10 Alfred Maravilla, “Missio Inter Gentes: Asia’s Gift to the Universal Church,” in Excelling in Mission (Shillong, India: Don Bosco Press, 2014), 51-2
11 Hubertus Blaumeiser, ed., in Chiara Lubich, Jesus Forsaken (Manila, Philippines: New City Press, 2016), 128.