Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hovering Between Hope and Anxiety

I am always amazed at the timelessness of the Second Vatican Council documents. As we teeter on the brink of economic meltdown, endure a brutal presidential campaign, and wonder what the heck is going on in all corners of the globe, we can turn to the Church's teaching. Take, for example, the following.

In no other age has mankind enjoyed such an abundance of wealth, resources and economic well being; and yet a huge proportion of the people of the world is plagued by hunger and extreme need while countless numbers are totally illiterate. At no time have men had such a keen sense of freedom, only to be faced by new forms of slavery in living and thinking. There is on the one hand a lively feeling of unity and of compelling solidarity, of mutual dependence, and on the other a lamentable cleavage of bitterly opposing camps. We have not yet seen the last of bitter political, social, and economic hostility, and racial and ideological antagonism, nor are we free from the spectre of a war of total destruction. If there is a growing exchange of ideas, there is still widespread disagreement about the meaning of the words expressing our key concepts. There is lastly a painstaking search for a better material world, without a parallel spiritual advancement.

Small wonder then that many of our contemporaries are prevented by this complex situation from recognizing permanent values and duly applying them to recent discoveries. As a result they hover between hope and anxiety and wonder uneasily about the present course of events. It is a situation that challenges men to respond; they cannot escape.

- No. 4 from Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

Can you believe that was written over 40 years ago?!?! It is well worth a read. So, with all due respect to Deacon Greg and his colleagues in the mainstream media, I invite you to take some time this weekend to turn off the talking heads on the TV and read how some very forward thinking folks in the Church felt we should live out our Christian vocation.

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