revolutionaries révolutionnaires

Dominicans, revolutionaries of God

The pontificate of Pope Francis is often referred to as of “opening to the world“, indicating a reduction of the gap between the actuality of the problems and the solutions offered by the Church.

This process, indeed, began with the Second Vatican Council, which arose the consciousness of the new historical era it was entering, and the need for progress of theology and pastoral. In fact, although the Revelation is complete and unchanging, the understanding of it is continuously evolving and improving.

Till the twentieth century, the main problem in common to all human societies was the struggle for survival. The man was subject to the events around him (famines, diseases, wars) and all collective and personal efforts were made to protect one’s life. Survival, in peacetime and wartime, was guaranteed by one’s ability to work the land and raise the livestock. A single person, however, could work only a tiny piece of land enough for himself and for his cattle. Several ‘working’ arms were therefore needed, that is, numerous families, to spend up to twelve hours a day, every day, to ensure survival, which remained uncertain, in any case.

Society was rigidly organized to maintain and consolidate bonds and processes, providing for the best conditions for the families’ subsistence. Rejecting them was an attack against life itself. Marriage, for example, was not based on the feeling of love, but on social or political opportunities to ensure the continuity of human existence itself.  Also, inside the family, roles were clearly defined: fathers worked and passed their crafts on to their children, while mothers gave birth to other children and run the household. The Church blessed this painful society as the only possible one to guarantee peace and prosperity, while offering the prospects of Heaven, where all earthly labors would be rewarded by a generous nature “flowing with milk and honey”.

Technological progress, at least in the Western world, has freed man from the constraints of the struggle for survival, giving rise to the affluent society. At the end of the nineteenth century, agriculture accounted for 85% of the population’s activities. In the twenty-first century, thanks to technology, only 4% is employed in agriculture, with an income level high enough to generate waste. Today, an average worker works in one-week time what his colleagues from two centuries ago worked in three-day’s.

These changes have shaken the ordering of society at its roots. The first to benefit were the most oppressed categories, women first among all. Elevating themselves from the role of giving birth to children and provide for the living of men inside the family, they have claimed their dignity and full integration in the productive layers of society.

Men and women, finally dealing with a free and equal counterpart, have begun to worry about their feelings, encouraged by digital media that allowed for continued social connections and the establishment / experimenting of new forms of relationships.

This is the world that the Church has to deal with today.

While in the past the main concern for the Church was to give hope for salvation, to relieve the sufferings of an endlessly threatened existence, to preserve from the moral dangers of compromise to achieve material security, today it has to deal with people whom science and technology have given a sense of confidence and feel free to experiment with their emotions without the constraints of the past times. It seems today that science and technology have given man that Heaven that the Church so far has only prophesied.

Thus, technology becomes a sacrament. If Christ heals a crippled hand it’s called a miracle, a divine intervention, but if technology carries out the same healing…isn’t this also a miracle, a divine intervention?  Aren’t there signs, actions and words in technology as there are in sacraments? Isn’t it also a divine intervention? Here is the challenge Technology vs. Theology.

An example: up to the nineteenth century, due to the high natal mortality rate, the death of the mother was a very possible outcome of childbirth. Medical progress has almost canceled this event and the Church had to reconsider the voluntary sacrifice of mothers to save the child as “heroic virtues”.  And there are other challenges facing our time: genetic engineering, euthanasia, bioethics and family relationships, to mention a few.

With the Second Vatican Council, the Church has discovered the need to renew itself and its approach towards the new problems. It started giving indications to live the new life positively; no more constraints to protect life but signs to live it fully. There have been several arguments, either right or wrong, against or in favour of the Church’s revolution.

The history of the Order counts personalities who were able to interpret the signs of times and lead these revolutions:  Domenico and his preaching friars, at a time when preaching came only from high-ranking bishops covered with gold as much as emperors were; Alberto Magno and Tommaso d’Aquino, who took a “pagan” philosopher used by misbelieving arabs and raised him to a theological foundation rank; Caterina, a lay-woman who used to scold popes, cardinals and royals, something that even today would be considered a scandal; Montesinos: who knows how many would still consider him a communist, a son of the liberation theology, he that defended the indigenous populations against the rogue conquistadores;  Beato Angelico, who opened the gates of faith to the Renaissance, through is all-new painting techniques. All of them were “revolutionaries”: they were able to see the signs of crisis in their times and offered a solution.  Sometimes we tend to see them as a static basis of our own speculations: by so doing we forget the dynamic and creative nature of their ideas.  Maybe we should study more their courage and less their deeds

In our time, in the Church or in the Order, who is trying to understand the signs of times? If it’s not us – or if we only propose a theology inspired by a liquid society – it will be those fascinating theories of gender and sweet death who will eventually take over. People today are being flooded with emotions, and just like teenagers in spring, are unable to control the feelings and drives unleashed by social needs.

Therefore “opening to the world” is the awareness that our analysing ways and means are obsolete and unfit for the time we are living in. We need to perceive the signs of the new times through a new, positive, assertive and creative lens, discovering new opportunities to preach of the Paschal Mistery (passion, death and resurrection) as a joyful source of inspiration of life, as a learning process towards the fullness of a free life based on true feelings and emotions.  We need to bring our studies and speculations in the streets, among the people, in the Universities and in radio and TV broadcasts.

Instead of building up a fence to protect ourselves against the moral dangers coming from the world, we should map a route, we should guide and lead in a process of liberation, education and learning on how to deal with the   emotional flood pouring out every day from the contemporary world.

Our time needs revolutionaries able to trace a path in the desert. These revolutionaries are us; you are one of them. And the Creation is waiting for our “revelation”.

 

 

Dominicans, revolutionaries of Godhttp://www.fraternitiesop.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/santi-domenicani.jpghttp://www.fraternitiesop.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/santi-domenicani-150x150.jpgEdoardo MatteiEnglishSign of our timesSlider,
The pontificate of Pope Francis is often referred to as of “opening to the world', indicating a reduction of the gap between the actuality of the problems and the solutions offered by the Church. This process, indeed, began with the Second Vatican Council, which arose the consciousness of the new...
The pontificate of Pope Francis is often referred to as of “<em>opening to the world</em>", indicating a reduction of the gap between the actuality of the problems and the solutions offered by the Church. This process, indeed, began with the Second Vatican Council, which arose the consciousness of the new historical era it was entering, and the need for progress of theology and pastoral. In fact, although the Revelation is complete and unchanging, the understanding of it is continuously evolving and improving. Till the twentieth century, the main problem in common to all human societies was the struggle for survival. The man was subject to the events around him (famines, diseases, wars) and all collective and personal efforts were made to protect one’s life. Survival, in peacetime and wartime, was guaranteed by one’s ability to work the land and raise the livestock. A single person, however, could work only a tiny piece of land enough for himself and for his cattle. Several ‘working’ arms were therefore needed, that is, numerous families, to spend up to twelve hours a day, every day, to ensure survival, which remained uncertain, in any case. Society was rigidly organized to maintain and consolidate bonds and processes, providing for the best conditions for the families’ subsistence. Rejecting them was an attack against life itself. Marriage, for example, was not based on the feeling of love, but on social or political opportunities to ensure the continuity of human existence itself.  Also, inside the family, roles were clearly defined: fathers worked and passed their crafts on to their children, while mothers gave birth to other children and run the household. The Church blessed this painful society as the only possible one to guarantee peace and prosperity, while offering the prospects of Heaven, where all earthly labors would be rewarded by a generous nature "<em>flowing with milk and honey</em><em>”.</em> Technological progress, at least in the Western world, has freed man from the constraints of the struggle for survival, giving rise to the <em>affluent society</em>. At the end of the nineteenth century, agriculture accounted for 85% of the population’s activities. In the twenty-first century, thanks to technology, only 4% is employed in agriculture, with an income level high enough to generate waste. Today, an average worker works in one-week time what his colleagues from two centuries ago worked in three-day’s. These changes have shaken the ordering of society at its roots. The first to benefit were the most oppressed categories, women first among all. Elevating themselves from the role of giving birth to children and provide for the living of men inside the family, they have claimed their dignity and full integration in the productive layers of society. Men and women, finally dealing with a free and equal counterpart, have begun to worry about their feelings, encouraged by digital media that allowed for continued social connections and the establishment / experimenting of new forms of relationships. This is the world that the Church has to deal with today. While in the past the main concern for the Church was to give hope for salvation, to relieve the sufferings of an endlessly threatened existence, to preserve from the moral dangers of compromise to achieve material security, today it has to deal with people whom science and technology have given a sense of confidence and feel free to experiment with their emotions without the constraints of the past times. It seems today that science and technology have given man that Heaven that the Church so far has only prophesied. Thus, technology becomes a sacrament. If Christ heals a crippled hand it’s called a miracle, a divine intervention, but if technology carries out the same healing…isn’t this also a miracle, a divine intervention?  Aren’t there signs, actions and words in technology as there are in sacraments? Isn’t it also a divine intervention? Here is the challenge Technology vs. Theology. An example: up to the nineteenth century, due to the high natal mortality rate, the death of the mother was a very possible outcome of childbirth. Medical progress has almost canceled this event and the Church had to reconsider the voluntary sacrifice of mothers to save the child as “heroic virtues".  And there are other challenges facing our time: genetic engineering, euthanasia, bioethics and family relationships, to mention a few. With the Second Vatican Council, the Church has discovered the need to renew itself and its approach towards the new problems. It started giving indications to live the <em>new life</em> positively; no more constraints to protect life but signs to live it fully. There have been several arguments, either right or wrong, against or in favour of the <em>Church's revolution</em>. The history of the Order counts personalities who were able to interpret the signs of times and lead these <em>revolutions</em>:  Domenico and his preaching friars, at a time when preaching came only from high-ranking bishops covered with gold as much as emperors were; Alberto Magno and Tommaso d'Aquino, who took a “pagan” philosopher used by misbelieving arabs and raised him to a theological foundation rank; Caterina, a lay-woman who used to scold popes, cardinals and royals, something that even today would be considered a scandal; Montesinos: who knows how many would still consider him a communist, a son of the liberation theology, he that defended the indigenous populations against the rogue <em>conquistadores</em>;  Beato Angelico, who opened the gates of faith to the Renaissance, through is all-new painting techniques. All of them were “<em>revolutionaries</em>”: they were able to see the signs of crisis in their times and offered a solution.  Sometimes we tend to see them as a static basis of our own speculations: by so doing we forget the dynamic and creative nature of their ideas.  Maybe we should study more their courage and less their deeds In our time, in the Church or in the Order, who is trying to understand the signs of times? If it’s not us - or if we only propose a theology inspired by a liquid society - it will be those fascinating theories of <em>gender</em> and <em>sweet death</em> who will eventually take over. People today are being flooded with emotions, and just like teenagers in spring, are unable to control the feelings and drives unleashed by social needs. Therefore "<em>opening to the world</em>” is the awareness that our analysing ways and means are obsolete and unfit for the time we are living in. We need to perceive the signs of the new times through a new, positive, assertive and creative lens, discovering new opportunities to preach of the Paschal Mistery (passion, death and resurrection) as a joyful source of inspiration of life, as a learning process towards the fullness of a free life based on true feelings and emotions.  We need to bring our studies and speculations in the streets, among the people, in the Universities and in radio and TV broadcasts. Instead of building up a fence to protect ourselves against the moral dangers coming from the world, we should map a route, we should guide and lead in a process of liberation, education and learning on how to deal with the   emotional flood pouring out every day from the contemporary world. Our time needs <em>revolutionaries</em> able to trace a <em>path in the desert. </em>These <em>revolutionaries</em> are us; you are one of them. And the Creation is waiting for our “revelation”.    

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