Catholic Social Doctrine: To Restore All Things in Christ
freedom." (Compendium, No. 432)
The unity of all mankind, as the Church understands it, is a fruit of the Gospel, and not of any other religious, philosophical, or political tradition.
"The Christian message has been decisive for making humanity understand that peoples tend to unite not only because of various forms of organization, politics, economic plans or in the name of an abstract ideological internationalism, but because they freely seek to cooperate, aware 'that they are living members of the whole human family.'" (Compendium, No. 432) (quoting J XXIII, Pacem in terris, 296)
This is part and parcel of the mandate given to the Church by her Lord to preach to all nations, and bring them into her fold. The unity of men in nature, the nature of the Old Adam, is to be made real in the supernatural unity promised them in Christ.
"The world community must be presented, over and over again and with ever increasing clarity, as the concrete figure of the unity willed by the Creator." (Compendium, No. 432) The "figure of unity" is, of course, the new Adam, Christ.
Grace, one may recall, supposes, builds upon, and does not destroy nature. Hence it is that the unity willed by God as reflected in the expressed will of Christ, the new Adam, recognizes a pre-existing unity of all men upon which this supernatural unity in Grace is to be achieved. It is with this understanding that the Compendium closes the introduction to its handling of the international community by quoting John XXIII's encyclical, Pacem in terris (292):
"The unity of the human family has always existed, because its members are human beings all equal by virtue of their natural dignity. Hence there will always exist the objective need to promote, in sufficient measure, the universal common good, which is the common good of the entire human family." (Compendium, No. 432)
Why does the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church spend its opening paragraphs on the international community on the Biblical narrative? Why this sort of excursus?
Because the Compendium wants to communicate the fact that the Church's vision of the international community is not a secular humanistic vision, but is a Biblical vision, indeed a Christological vision, where "God may be all in all." (1 Cor. 15:28)
The Church is not interested in building a "tower of unbelief," but she is interested in building the City of God. She looks to the Lord on the Cross, who uttered the words, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani (Matt. 27:46), a reference to the opening words of Psalm 22. By referring to these words while on the Cross, Jesus was invoking the entire Psalm, a Psalm which itself contains the intendment of the Church's teaching on the international community:
All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the LORD;
All the families of nations
will bow low before him.
For kingship belongs to the LORD,
the ruler over the nations. (Psalm 22:27-28 [21:28-29])
These are the words of the New Adam, the Son of Man. Jesus on the Cross is the centerpiece of the Church's social doctrine as it relates to the communion of nations.
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Compendium, Social Doctrine, new man, new Adam, international relations, Christ the King, social order, Andrew Greenwell, Esq.
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