Dives in Misericordiae 1d: Linking Anthropocentrism and Theocentrism

Divine_Mercy_Sanctuary_in_Vilnius4I read a lot of hand-wringing online about the Church, and liturgy in particular regarding our focus. Too much or not enough on people? Is God missing? Pope John Paul II would seem to reject the notion that our authentic mission would find them in conflict. They are linked:

The more the Church’s mission is centered upon (people)-the more it is, so to speak, anthropocentric-the more it must be confirmed and actualized theocentrically, that is to say, be directed in Jesus Christ to the Father. While the various currents of human thought both in the past and at the present have tended and still tend to separate theocentrism and anthropocentrism, and even to set them in opposition to each other, the Church, following Christ, seeks to link them up in human history, in a deep and organic way.

John Paul sees this as a vital development of Vatican II. It certainly was close to his heart in his development of Christian personalism and how he lived that philosophy in his long ministry to the Church.

And this is also one of the basic principles, perhaps the most important one, of the teaching of the last Council. Since, therefore, in the present phase of the Church’s history we put before ourselves as our primary task the implementation of the doctrine of the great Council, we must act upon this principle with faith, with an open mind and with all our heart.

Linking our focus on both Jesus and on the people who surround us requires faith. And sometimes, the intellect may have doubts. The challenge to give all out heart (totally yours?) in this endeavor is not at all a surprise.

The context is clear, Redemptor Hominis again:

In the encyclical already referred to, I have tried to show that the deepening and the many-faceted enrichment of the Church’s consciousness resulting from the Council must open our minds and our hearts more widely to Christ. Today I wish to say that openness to Christ, who as the Redeemer of the world fully reveals man himself, can only be achieved through an ever more mature reference to the Father and His love.

And so we conclude section 1 of Dives in Misericordia, the second encyclical of Pope John Paul II. Remember, it is available online here, and is copyright © 1980 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

About catholicsensibility

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