Thursday, February 11, 2016

Church for the World

On the opinion page of the Catholic Times, a priest recalls the speech the late Cardinal Kim gave in the Philippines. He stressed the Church should be for the world (Ecclesia pro vita mundi) one of the great teaching gifts from the Second Vatican Council. This statement to  Asians at that time came as a surprise, for many understood  the Church as concerned for itself: growth in numbers and size. (Eccleisa pro se ipsa).

Most of the organizations and groups in society are interested in preserving, and expanding their lives.   This is also true with the individual. Consequently, we have the ever-present  competition to deal with in  society, and  Pope Francis sees this unfettered competition as a social evil: success is succeeding in competition with your competitor at all costs.

Church is not immune from these market and worldly values, instead of evangelizing the world we are being changed by the world. We hear often, instead of the Church worrying about the world; the world worries about the church.

“Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.” (Pope Francis)

Church is the bride of Christ, disciples of Christ, and exists for the world. In Scripture, it is described as salt, yeast, light. In an ancient  document, a letter sent to Diognetus the Church was described as:  “What the soul is in the body,  Christians are to the world.”

Externally the Church enters the world but internally remains different from the world if it is to succeed in doing its work.  "They are not of the world, any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them by  truth- Your word is truth. As you have sent me into  the world, so I have sent them into the world...John (17: 15-17). 

This is the attitude the Church needs. Holiness of the Church is prerequisite if it is to do its mission correctly in the world, and not be compromised, and mission jeopardized.