Originally Posted November 9, 2006
I just finished re-reading Gaudium et Spes. As a Baptist, I find reading Catholic works interesting. It is difficult for me to give authority that was written by a bunch of men in pointy hats, but I guess millions of Catholics like what they do (or at least they accept the writings). Every time I read GS, I am stirred to dream about the ideal church and the ideal Christian. We have a picture of a church that works towards the betterment of all humanity, that pushes toward economic justice, family values, and the development of science, art, and reason (all within limits). The Christian is the person who has a family, educates the children, pays taxed, and considers the neighbor, all in a days work. It is a nice idea. Of course I need to remember what a breakthrough this work was in 1965. It is a big deal for the OTC (one true church, as my Catholic friend would claim) to say that it is actually interested and connected with the hopes and joys, grief and sorrow of the world. It was as if the church, after 2000 years finally decided to start interacting with the world… well not quite, but close. I wonder if the church can work with society towards the betterment of the individual without losing its own identity (this is a critique I have of liberalism). In this case, GS continues to state that the truth of Jesus Christ is the driving force and the focus of all progress. I suppose that focus would keep one honest. It is an interesting position to take in interfaith dialogue, but probably an authentic one.