Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Evening Note for Wednesday, August 8

Thought for the Evening: Catholic Social Teaching and the Notes of the Church

I mentioned recently that the recent official local catechism that I thought most valuable was the catechism for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, a Byzantine rite church in communion with Rome. It is titled Christ Our Pascha; it is now available online in searchable PDF (with a resources page as well). One of the interesting things in how COP is arranged is that it draws a direct link between Catholic Social Teaching and Catholic Ecclesiology, but recognizing an analogy between the first principles of the former and the Notes of the Church.

The primary Notes of the Church are, of course, One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Taking the Church as "the Model for the Human Community", however, raises the question of how the Church as a community transfigures or uplifts human community itself. Every human community is based on some kind of common good -- that's the 'common' in 'community'. The Church is not different in this regard: it has a common good, and the common good, Christ and salvation, is what makes the Church One. This is not some arbitrary or alien common good, however; since human beings have union with God as their natural destination, the common good of the Church completes those of human communities. As the COP says (#920 (p. 288)):

Fulfilling her mission to transfigure society, the Church communicates to society her own experience of communion in the moral principles of Christian life. The principle of the common good, in particular, requires that society create conditions for the free development of the person, who simultaneously works for the good of society.

This mission of transfiguration is found in the other notes, as well. To say that the Church is Holy is to say that it makes saints, or in other words, provides the means for divine life, which is expressed in love of God and neighbor. This is an uplifting of the living-together, or civic friendship (although the COP doesn't use that phrase), that constitutes civil society, which is structured by a sort of general good will to one's neighbors, i.e., fellow citizens.

The Church is Catholic is to say that it has a mission to everyone, each and all together, in and as a communion; this corresponds to the principle of solidarity, which is concerned with the mutual dependence of people in society.

The principle of solidarity is generally linked to the principle of subsidiarity, the notion that higher levels should support (provide help-in-reserve or subsidium) the lower levels, and not supplant or suppress them. This corresponds with the ecclesial note of Apostolicity; an apostolate is a received mission of service, and the service-mission of the Church, received through and in imitation of the Apostles, is the subsidiary working of grace, not supplanting but supporting the work of society, and providing it the assistance it needs to overcome impediment and extend itself to new good.

COP gives only a brief sketch of these correspondences, but in many ways I think it is the best way to organize Catholic Social Teaching, namely, to take CST as the Church drawing from its own character as a society of divine vocation (One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic) to work for a civil society of justice (based on common good, civic friendship, solidarity, and subsidiarity).

[Christ Our Pascha: Catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Synod of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (Edmonton: 2016) pp. 287-289.]


Various Links of Interest

* Geoff Boeing, Comparing US City Street Orientations and City Street Orientations Around the World

* Shawn Floyd, Dissecting Hospitality

* Jon D. Schaff, My Antonia at One Hundred

* Jeff Maysh, How an Ex-Cop Rigged MacDonald's Monopoly Game and Stole Millions

* Carlo Rovelli, Physics Needs Philosophy / Philosophy Needs Physics

* Tommie Shelby and Julian Lucas, The Philosopher King: Tommie Shelby on MLK

* John P Joy, Disputed Questions on Papal Infallibility

* Kashmir Hill, When a Stranger Decides to Destroy Your Life

* Colin Hunter, Emmy Noether’s revolutionary theorem explained, from kindergarten to PhD

Currently Reading

Frances Mossiker, Napoleon and Josephine
Edith Stein, Potency and Act
Jean-Luc Marion, The Visible and the Revealed
Thomas Petri, Aquinas and the Theology of the Body
Jules Verne, An Antarctic Mystery

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