The Church & The World

The revival of … withdrawal options in these last few years is, on the one hand, a reaction against Pope Francis and against Francis’s renewed interpretation of Vatican II. On the other hand, the proclamation of withdrawal uncovers the temptation to reduce Catholicism to a cultural option. The key issue is, once again, the relationship between the church and the world – the modern world, the secular world, and the global world –  and Vatican II is at the center of this dispute around the viable future of the church in the world. In the teaching of the council the “world” is not to be understood only geographically (the new awareness of the globality and interconnectedness of the humankind) or metaphysically ( the world as the earthly dimension), but also, and in a new way, in the sense of the level of human institutions that govern the economic and political dimensions of our lives in a way that is autonomous and independent from the church but not completely separated from it. In turn, the church is independent from these institutions but not completely and artificially separated. As the incipit of Lumen Gentium says: “Since the Church is in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race, it desires now to unfold more fully to the faithful of the Church and to the whole world its own inner nature and universal mission” (LG 1).

Massimo Faggioli, Catholicism & Citizenship: Political Cultures of the Church in the Twenty-First Century (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2017), p. 47. ISBN: 978-0-8146-8426-8.