BXVI: The Narrative of the Inclusive Kingdom

I thought I’d share this tidbit from Pope Benedict’s first volume of Jesus of Nazareth that I read this morning, regarding the secularist reinterpretation of the Kingdom (p. 53)(paraphrased). It tells the narrative of how the evolution of the notions of “tolerance”, “unity” and “inclusiveness”, given ever-wider definitions, have led to the climate of religious and political ideas that we see today amongst certain academic circles in Catholic Theology specifically, but that obviously coincides a great deal with ideas prevalent in wider society as well.

It was claimed that prior to Vatican II the dominant position was “Ecclesiocentrism“, where the Church was presented as the centre of Christianity, interpreted as being somehow in place of Christ, or Christ and His Church as being in competition. This kept us separate from other Christians, for as long as we claim to be the True Church, it implies others are not, and thus is divisive.

Then post-Vatican II there was a shift to “Christocentrism“, yet this did not solve the question of division, for Christ belongs exclusively to Christians.

‘Jesus of Nazareth’ by Pope Benedict XVI

Hence the next transition to “Theocentrism“, which allegedly brought us closer to other religions (which is apparently our goal). However, even God can be a cause of division between religions and people.

Therefore, the move was made (or is in the process of being made) to “Regnocentrism“, the centrality of the Kingdom. Apparently we have finally gotten to the heart of Christ’s message, and it is this position that will help us finally harness mankind’s positive energies and direct them toward the world’s future. Here the “Kingdom” simply means a world governed by peace, justice and the conservation of creation. Working together to attain such a world is the true goal of religions. They are free to live in their respective traditions, each bringing them to bear on the common task of building the “Kingdom”, where peace, justice and respect for creation are the dominant values.

This sounds good, but it leaves a number of questions: how do we figure out what justice actually means, and how we acheive it?

Furthermore, in this “Kingdom”, God has disappeared. “Man is the only actor left on stage.” Religion now matters only insofar as it can be directed towards to political goals of the organisation of the world.

Sound familiar?



From Rome to Home: The Church in my Backyard

My friend wrote this! Go Anna!
“When I reflected on this, I could see that I was missing the point. If the Pope were to say something to me now, it would surely run along the lines of “Go home and share the gospel with your friends! I cannot do it. You have been inspired and equipped, now go!” I realise I have a new backyard, new neighbours; it’s the surrounding community. It is my call as a Catholic to bring the heart and message of the Church everywhere, I do not want it to stay in the Vatican.”

Evangelise Australia (NOE)

It’s been a month since I returned from a year in the Eternal City.  Let’s be honest, Sydney is not Rome.  No St Peter’s, rather than a Catholic Church every few metres, it’s every few kilometres and the Pope is not in my backyard.  So, with Pope Francis on the other side of the world, I am back home with my Parish Priest celebrating Mass in my humble parish church.  So I hope you will forgive me when at Mass I had this dispirited thought, “I could be in the Vatican with the Pope!  What am I going to do away from the heart of the Church?”

When I reflected on this, I could see that I was missing the point.  If the Pope were to say something to me now, it would surely run along the lines of “Go home and share the gospel with your friends!  I cannot…

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