Seeking Justice in the World (Summaries of Papal Justice Encyclicals) by James Patrick Hynes
"No one lights a lamp to cover it with a bowl or put it under a bed: No, he puts it on a lamp-stand so that people may see the light when they come in." Luke Ch.8v16. When it comes to social teaching we have partially, at least, failed the light test. James Patrick Hynes in this excellent publication, reminds us how 'Catholic Social Teaching' became known as the ' Church's Best Kept Secret'. I would use more pungent metaphors from the sporting world- a dropped catch or a missed penalty.
If one studies that inspired seminal encyclical of Pope Leo X111..'Rerum Novarum' (Of things new), it is evident that his teaching was about the sacredness of all humanity and indeed all creation. All subsequent ' Catholic Social Teaching' is about that. One of the causes accepted for lost opportunity was the fact that such vital documents were written in Latin and remained at the level of scholars and never really reached 'the pews'.
But as James Patrick reminds us things got much better with Vatican II. He draws our attention to in particular to ' Gaudium et Spes ' (Joy and Hope). If I might quote from that document..."Therefore, the world which the Council has in mind is the whole human family seen in the context of everything which envelops it." In other words..man and his environment. We Catholics know from our faith and love that all humanity belongs to Christ. We Catholics know from our faith and love that our beautiful planet belongs to Christ. Ecology is in our veins...of course we will save the planet. Pope Francis ' Laudato Si' is a passionate leader in this hope for the future of man and planet.
It is significant that Vatican II named it's Constitution on The Church...'Lumen Gentium'..(A Light to the World).The opening words of it were or are.. " Christ is he Light of humanity." James Patrick Hynes has shone much light on the ' Catholic Social Teaching '. He is scholar who has brought that teaching of faith and love to us and for that he deserves our gratitude.
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