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Gaudium et Spes


Gaudium et Spes. The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World ... 3. Ecclesiology. the nature and mission of the church ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Gaudium et Spes

Gaudium et Spes
  • The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the
    Modern World

Outline of Presentation
  1. Background Context of the document
  2. Story of the docs drafting
  3. Structure of final draft
  4. Significant Shifts and Innovations
  5. Compromises and Weaknesses
  6. Remaining Issues for the Church
  7. The Enduring Symbolic Value of GS

General Remarks
  • not among the preparatory documents for the
  • emerged from the floor of the council
  • by far the longest of the sixteen documents
  • the only document published with subtitles

  • promulgated the very last working day of the
  • addressed to all humanity (not just to Catholics,
    or Christians)
  • came to be symbolic of the Councils style
  • dialogic
  • collaborative
  • participative

Previous Social Teaching Encyclicals
  • from Rerum Novarum (1891) to Pacem in Terris
  • using a deductive methodology, these documents
    attempted to ground social teaching on the prior
    foundation of a philosophical and theological
  • couched in the categories of Scholastic Theology
  • appealed to natural law
  • GS will come to use a more inductive method
    (but with elements of the old)

History of the Drafting
  • at the very end of the first session (4 Dec
    1962), a plan for the Councils program was
    proposed by Cardinal Josef Suenens
  • a focus not only on the church ad intra (the
    internal life of the church)
  • but also on the church ad extra (the church and
    its mission in the world)

History (contd)
  • the long list of topics for the councils
    discussion was then revised and reduced according
    to this plan
  • no. 17 on the list was Schema XVII
  • later became Schema XIII
  • then finally Gaudium et Spes

Ad intra / Ad extra Distinction
  • While this distinction was helpful for dividing
    up the workload of the Council,
  • it can be a misleading distinction
  • IF it is taken to mean that church and world
    are like oil and water
  • This issue of how to best name the relationship
    plagues the whole debate
  • and remains somewhat unresolved in GS
  • The world is not something apart from the church,
    nor the church from the world

The Drafting Commission
  • A Mixed Commission
  • drawn from members of the
  • Doctrinal Commission
  • Commission for the Lay Apostolate
  • but various sub-commissions were set up to deal
    with the many sections

  • the various drafts were prepared in French, and
    then translated into Latin
  • fourth session translations provided in the
    major European languages (first time)

Theological tensions
  • a significant influence of the French-speaking
  • Chenu, Congar
  • tension with the theological vision of the
    German-speaking theologians
  • Rahner, Ratzinger

Structure of the final version
  • Preface and Introduction (1-3 4-10)
  • Part 1 The Church and the Human Vocation
  • Introduction Responding to the Promptings of the
    Spirit (11)
  • Chapter 1 The Dignity of the Human Person
  • Chapter 2 The Human Community
  • Chapter 3 Humanitys Activity in the Universe
  • Chapter 4 Role of the Church in Todays World

Structure (contd)
  • Part 2 Some More Urgent Problems
  • Preface (46)
  • Chapter 1 The Dignity of Marriage and the Family
  • Chapter 2 Proper Development of Culture (53-62)
  • Chapter 3 Economic and Social Life (63-72)
  • Chapter 4 The Political Community (73-76)
  • Chapter 5 Fostering Peace and Establishment of a
    Community of Nations (77-90)
  • Conclusion Role of Individual Christians and of
    Local Churches (91-93)

A Pastoral Constitution
  • John XXIIIs original desire that the Council
    have a pastoral focus
  • Special footnote on the significance of title
  • The constitution is called pastoral because,
    while resting on doctrinal principles, it sets
    out the relation of the church to the world and
    to the people of today. In Part I, therefore, the
    pastoral emphasis is not overlooked, nor is the
    doctrinal emphasis overlooked in Part II.
  • The doctrinal principles (Part 1) and the
    pastoral applications (Part 2) are intertwined

Four Interrelated Levels of Doctrine
  • 1. Anthropology
  • the nature of the human person
  • GS, 3 It is the human person, therefore, which
    is the key to this discussion, each individual
    human person in here of his totality, body and
    soul, heart and conscience, mind and will.
  • 2. Christian Ethics in Contemporary Society
  • the nature of moral human action

  • 3. Ecclesiology
  • the nature and mission of the church
  • GS, 3 The church is not motivated by earthly
    ambition but is interested in one thing only to
    carry on the work of Christ under the guidance of
    the Holy Spirit.
  • Gaudium et Spes as complement to Lumen Gentium

  • 4. Christology
  • the human and divine natures of Christ
  • any teaching on the nature of the human person is
    to be grounded in teaching about Christ as the
    model for human personhood
  • GS, 10 The church believes that the key, the
    centre and the purpose of the whole of human
    history is to be found in its Lord and Master.

Interrelated Leitmotifs
  • solidarity
  • dialogue
  • reading the signs of the times

  • GS, 1 The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish
    of the people of our time, especially of those
    who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and
    hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of
    Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human
    fails to find an echo in their hearts. For theirs
    is a community of people united in Christ and
    guided by the Holy Spirit in their pilgrimage
    towards the Fathers kingdom, bearers of a
    message of salvation for all humanity. That is
    why they cherish a feeling of deep solidarity
    with the human race and its history.

  • the motif of the divine-human dialogue
  • the motif of churchs dialogue with the world
  • a church open to learning (GS 44)

Paul VI and the Dialogue motif
  • Encyclical Ecclesiam Suam
  • 6 August 1964 (during the third session)
  • the influence of personalist philosophies
  • Gabriel Marcel
  • Martin Buber

GS, 3
  • And so the council can find no more eloquent
    expression of this peoples solidarity, respect
    and love for the whole human family, of which it
    forms a part, than to enter into dialogue with it
    about all these various problems, throwing the
    light of the Gospel on them and supplying
    humanity with the saving resources which the
    church has received from its founder under the
    promptings of the Holy Spirit.

GS 92
  • Four concentric circles of dialogue
  • dialogue within the church itself
  • dialogue with other Christians
  • dialogue with other religious believers
  • dialogue with non-believers

Reading the signs of the times
  • starting with contemporary context (inductive
  • attentiveness to the God of history
  • GS 4
  • GS 11
  • GS 44

GS 4
  • To discharge this function with the guidance of
    the Paraclete Spirit, to continue the work of
    Christ (GS, 3), the church has the duty in every
    age of examining the signs of the times and
    interpreting them in the light of the gospel, so
    that it can offer in a manner appropriate to each
    generation replies to the continual human
    questionings on the meaning of this life and the
    life to come and on how they are related. There
    is a need, then, to be aware of, and to
    understand, the world in which we live, together
    with its expectations, its desires and its
    frequently dramatic character.

GS 11
  • Impelled by its belief that it is being led by
    the Spirit of the Lord who fills the whole earth,
    Gods people works to discern the true signs of
    Gods presence and purpose in the events, needs
    and desires which it shares with the rest of
    modern humanity. It is faith which shows
    everything in a new light and clarifies Gods
    purpose in his complete calling of the human
    race, thus pointing the mind towards solutions
    which are fully human

GS 11 (contd)
  • The councils first aim is to subject the
    values most highly regarded today to this light
    and to relate them to their divine source, since
    these values are very good insofar as they
    proceed from the God-given character of the human
    person, but are in need of purification from the
    distortion they often receive from the corruption
    of the human heart

GS 11 (contd)
  • What is the churchs view of woman and man?
    What does it consider is to be commended in
    constructing todays society? What is the
    ultimate significance of human activity in the
    world as a whole? These questions require answers
    which will show more clearly that the people of
    God and the human race of which it is a part are
    of service to each other, and that the churchs
    mission is seen to be a religious one and by that
    very fact an outstandingly human one.

GS 44
  • It is for Gods people as a whole, with the help
    of the Holy Spirit, and especially for pastors
    and theologians, to listen to the various voices
    of our day, discerning them and interpreting
    them, and to evaluate them in the light of the
    divine word, so that the revealed truth can be
    increasingly appropriated, better understood and
    more suitably expressed.

GS 62
  • meaning/expression of doctrine
  • evaluating and interpreting everything with an
    authentically Christian sense of values
  • it is hoped that more of the laity will receive
    adequate theological formation and that some of
    them will dedicate themselves professionally to
    these studies and contribute to their
    advancement. But for the proper exercise of this
    role, the faithful, both clerical and lay, should
    be accorded a lawful freedom of inquiry, of
    thought, and of expression, tempered by humility
    and courage in whatever branch of study they have

Three Major Innovations
  1. primarily a Biblical vision
  2. an increased historical awareness
  3. a relating of the Churchs mission and its social

1. A Biblical Vision
  • a biblical vision more than natural law
  • an appeal to revelation
  • and secondarily an appeal to the order that God
    has inscribed in human nature

2. Historical Awareness
  • Deductive methodology
  • from general unchanging principles to their
  • from abstract natural law to concrete new
  • the rise of historical consciousness (19-20th
  • an appreciation of the changing historical
    conditions of social, cultural and political
  • all elements of the human situation are
    conditioned by history

Inductive methodology
  • from an examination of the concrete situation to
    the application of the Gospel in that situation
  • What are the features problems of the
    contemporary world that require solutions?
  • GS 5 The human race is moving from a more
    static view of things to one which is more
    dynamic and evolutionary, giving rise to new
    combinations of problems which call for new
    analyses and syntheses.
  • an emerging methodology of the council

3. Relating the Churchs mission and its social
  • Lumen Gentium the church ad intra
  • looking to within
  • what is the nature of the church?
  • Gaudium et Spes the church ad extra
  • looking to outside
  • given the nature of the church, what is the
    mission of the church?

The Mission of the Church
  • the religious mission of the church
  • to proclaim and to realize the Reign of God
  • The Reign of God is to permeate all aspects of
    human life and society
  • Shift from church as an end in itself
  • to church as a servant of the Reign of God

GS, 40-42
  • Part One, Chapter IV
  • summary of the basis of the churchs social

Four Specific Tasksof the Churchs Proper Mission
  • to defend human dignity
  • to promote human rights
  • to cultivate the unity of the human family
  • to make clear the meaning of human life

Relation of the Church to the Reign of God
  • the church is not equivalent to the Reign of God
  • related, however, in two ways
  • the Reign of God transcends every political
  • therefore, the religious mission is to critique
    political ideology
  • the Reign of God relates to diverse dimensions of
    social and economic reality
  • therefore, the religious mission is related to
    the right ordering of the social and economic

Summary of Shifts in Church Teaching
  • Methodology
  • from deductive to inductive
  • Historical Consciousness
  • from ahistorical to an historical approach

  • Evolutionary not static view of reality
  • GS, 5 The human race is moving from a more
    static view of things to one which is more
    dynamic and evolutionary, giving rise to new
    combinations of problems which call for new
    analyses and syntheses.
  • Modernity
  • From rejection of modernity to engagement with
    its strengths

Shifts (contd)
  • The world
  • from the world as Godless to the world as the
    place of Gods redeeming activity
  • Natural Law
  • parallel to the inductive/more historical
  • Notion of the human person
  • a move away from an eternal nature of the human
    person, to one historically situated

  • Church and State
  • from achieving Christendom to the Church as
    leaven, as prophetic witness
  • Conscience
  • War

  • Marriage from contract to covenant
  • previous legalistic framework
  • contract
  • shift to a personalist framework
  • intimate partnership and covenant
  • the ends of marriage
  • not only reproduction and the rearing of children
  • also conjugal love

Other Docs the social mission
  • (1) Decree on Laity
  • Laity have a twofold role
  • to work for evangelization
  • to renew the temporal order
  • Presupposition
  • Christs work of redemption is primarily related
    to the salvation of the human being
  • but involves the renewal of the whole temporal
    order (AA, 5-7)
  • a shift in the theology of grace from extrinsic
    to intrinsic

  • (2) Decree on the Churchs Missionary Activity
  • to work for Christs redemption includes the
    right ordering of social and economic affairs
  • the churchs missionary activity involves
    collaborating with all peoples
  • for eliminating hunger, disease, ignorance
  • for establishing peace and justice and human
    working conditions for workers (AG, 12)

Some Weaknesses and Open Questions
  • overly optimistic about progress
  • too 60s
  • not enough emphasis on evil and the effects of
    original sin
  • ecological crisis not mentioned
  • in fact, a perpetuation of some of the mentality
    causing it

  • Little attention is given in the document to
    environmental pollution, the depletion of
    non-renewable resources, and general
    environmental exploitation. The council fathers
    language concerning nature and the relation of
    humankind to nature is rather disturbing.
    Humanity should consolidate its control over
    creation (9), subject to himself the earth and
    all that it contains (34), subdue the earth
    (57), and hold increasing domination over
    nature (63) The council fathers seem oblivious
    both to the environmental problems already
    evident in the world and the impact of framing
    the human/nature relationship in terms of
    domination. (Lois Ann Lorentzen)

Issues taken off the agenda by Paul VI
  • divorce
  • mixed marriages
  • birth control