The False Certainty of Closure
The Roman Catholic Church continues today to work out its ever-new relationship with the world. The aim of the New Evangelization, a formal initiative spurred by Pope Benedict XVI, is to define that relationship more clearly for a twenty-first-century context. While the term New Evangelization was coined by Paul VI in the 1970s and used by John Paul II with reference to making the gospel meaningful once more to countries in the West,1 today the New Evangelization program, which is set as the topic of the 2012 XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, is as much about clarifying how Western Roman Catholics understand themselves and their church in today’s secular context as it is about reconverting or recruiting European and American Catholics. Ecumenism, the project of coming into the right relationship with people adhering to various Christian traditions, is highly determined by how we, the “self” in dialogue, see ourselves as subjects in the world. How we understand ourselves determines what it means to recognize and be in relationship with another, and the Roman church is working out how it understands this self in today’s secular, postmodern context.
KeywordsImmanent Frame Immanent Order Transcendent Reality Secular Culture Catholic Identity
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- 2.“Conciliar references to the church were largely epideictic orations devoted to the praise of this instrumental sign-sacrament-of the possibility of human unity.” Stephen Schloesser, “Against Forgetting: Memory, History, Vatican II,” Theological Studies 67, no. 2 (June 2006): 275–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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- See also José Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994).Google Scholar
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