EG 238-239: Social Dialogue As A Contribution To Peace

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneWith this post, we turn to section IV of Chapter Four in Evangelii Gaudium, “Social Dialogue as a Contribution to Peace.” Three partners in dialogue are suggested: politics, culture, and non-Catholics. It’s not a Pope Francis idea here; the originator is Pope Benedict XVI. Let’s read:

238. Evangelization also involves the path of dialogue. For the Church today, three areas of dialogue stand out where she needs to be present in order to promote full human development and to pursue the common good: dialogue with states, dialogue with society – including dialogue with cultures and the sciences – and dialogue with other believers who are not part of the Catholic Church. In each case, “the Church speaks from the light which faith offers”, [Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia (21 December 2012)] contributing her two thousand year experience and keeping ever in mind the life and sufferings of human beings. This light transcends human reason, yet it can also prove meaningful and enriching to those who are not believers and it stimulates reason to broaden its perspectives.

The dialogue from many Evening Prayer settings comes to mind: Light and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord. Is such a prayer sincere? Do we see it as a simple dialogue, or as an actual petition, recognizing that sometimes we desperately need light and peace? And not only for our own personal benefit, but as an offering we can share with the world?

239. The Church proclaims “the Gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15) and she wishes to cooperate with all national and international authorities in safeguarding this immense universal good. By preaching Jesus Christ, who is himself peace (cf. Eph 2:14), the new evangelization calls on every baptized person to be a peacemaker and a credible witness to a reconciled life.[Cf. Propositio 14]

Peacemaker: not the call of a diplomat, or even of a saint. It is part of the baptismal covenant we have been grafted onto.

Take up the modern culture on its stated desire for dialogue:

In a culture which privileges dialogue as a form of encounter, it is time to devise a means for building consensus and agreement while seeking the goal of a just, responsive and inclusive society. The principal author, the historic subject of this process, is the people as a whole and their culture, and not a single class, minority, group or elite. We do not need plans drawn up by a few for the few, or an enlightened or outspoken minority which claims to speak for everyone. It is about agreeing to live together, a social and cultural pact.

Such an agreement begins in our households, extends to friends and neighbors, and from there, when we are well-practiced, to people of politics and persons of the culture and also to non-Catholics (believers and non-believers alike).

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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