Evangelii Nuntiandi 31: Charity and Justice

Because human beings exist in both the anthropological and the theological realms–it is how we were created after all, liberation and evangelization are linked. Pope Paul cites the connection as “profound.” Do you find that stated too strongly? It is suggested that human beings are made to be social. And part of our current existence is an inherent avoidance of justice, that we do not treat each other the way God intends. Baptism does not change that. Christians still behave badly, even as they give exemplary witness. So we must be truthful about who and what we are.

31. Between evangelization and human advancement- development and liberation- there are in fact profound links. These include links of an anthropological order, because the (person) who is to be evangelized is not an abstract being but is subject to social and economic questions. They also include links in the theological order, since one cannot dissociate the plan of creation from the plan of Redemption. The latter plan touches the very concrete situations of injustice to be combated and of justice to be restored. They include links of the eminently evangelical order, which is that of charity: how in fact can one proclaim the new commandment without promoting in justice and in peace the true, authentic advancement of (humankind)? We ourself have taken care to point this out, by recalling that it is impossible to accept “that in evangelization one could or should ignore the importance of the problems so much discussed today, concerning justice, liberation, development and peace in the world. This would be to forget the lesson which comes to us from the Gospel concerning love of our neighbor who is suffering and in need.”[Paul VI, Address for the opening of the Third General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (27 September 1974): AAS 66 (1974), p. 562]

The same voices which during the Synod touched on this burning theme with zeal, intelligence and courage have, to our great joy, furnished the enlightening principles for a proper understanding of the importance and profound meaning of liberation, such as it was proclaimed and achieved by Jesus of Nazareth and such as it is preached by the Church.

This suggests that Christian faith must address the aspects of redemption that Christ chose to confront. Jesus himself addressed issues of liberation, and as hos followers, can we do no less?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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